Cam Newton

Was at the gym this morning watching Robert Smith, the one-time Viking halfback, give his expert (we’re all experts these days) opinion on Cam Newton. Smith is a bright guy, and I was sort of intrigued by what he’d contribute to the dialogue.

His take: I was gonna vote for Newton for the Heisman, but now I’m not so sure.


This is so not about the Heisman Trophy, and people keep bringing up this stupid award as if it’s the barometer of this whole fiasco. Well, it’s not. Award, no award—who gives a crap? This is 100 percent about the ludicrousness of big-time collegiate athletics (men’s football and basketball), and how the NCAA, greedy parents, greedy athletes, greedy adminsitrators, asshole boosters, media jackoffs and fans have turned something that, I’m guessing, was once decent and well-intentioned into a sham.

Not sure how many people here watched the Marcus Dupree film on ESPN the other night, but, well, it’s a must-see. When Oklahoma and Texas were recruiting Dupree out of Philadelphia, Mississippi, both schools sent recruiters to live in the town until a decision was made. Seriously, two universities spent their money on securing the services of an 18-year-old kid whose long obvious virtue was running the football.

Now, 30 years later, it’s gotten 100,000,000 times worse. My friend Mike Lewis was telling me recently about the time Billy Donovan, Florida hoops coach, drove 400 miles to North Carolina to wave to a recruit from a parking lot. NCAA rules prohibited him from making contact, so he made the drive merely to wave. I mean, what’s there to say? You’re Billy-friggin’-Donovan. Great player at Providence, former Knick, coach of one of the country’s top programs … and you’re waving to an 18-year-old? Is that what you genuinely want from life? This is your calling?

Not all that long ago, I looked at Newton-esque situations and blamed solely the athlete/parents. No longer. Why shouldn’t Cam Newton make as much dough as he can? Hell, I can guarantee you Auburn’s milking Newton’s presence for every penny they can. Do they sell No. 2 football jerseys in their bookstores? I can guarantee it. Does that UnderArmour merchandising deal have more value when a school bosts the best quarterback in the nation? Do game programs feature Newton’s likeness? Yes. Does the stadium fill with fans when he plays? Yes. Do more people attend Auburn because of Newton’s presence? Yes.

Will the university willingly share any of that money with the athletes who make it? No. Never. No way.

That said, Auburn and the other schools shelling out big bucks aren’t alone. What sort of father pimps out his son like a Queens hooker? What sort of son allows himself to be used like such? Where was the media when Newton came to Auburn, armed with a record of theft and cheating? How can the Auburn AD defend Newton as a worthy student?

The whole thing is so gross … so rotten … so pathetic.

14 thoughts on “Cam Newton”

  1. I graduated from Auburn and at this point I am incredibly embarrassed because of this whole situation. Maybe I was naive, but I was hoping that AU had not part in this.

    And as I was semi-enjoying this season because of Auburn’s record and chances at the national championship, I just don’t care anymore.

  2. Jeff, I always appreciate your perspective on the hypocrisy and banality of what you call “big-time college sports.” It’s a shame that more of the journalists who have a stage as big as yours aren’t willing to be so honest. Keep it up.

  3. I totally agree that its a big mess… but, what gets left in the dust is that the kid is getting a free education to a major institution.

    If he or she chooses to ignore the fact that gaining a degree and being educated is of no worth… then we have a bigger issue.

    The percentage of people that go from college sports to professional sports is so minimal, they have taken their eye off the real prize… becoming a working professional and out earning your potential as a PE coach.

    Question I have and I don’t know off the tip of my tounge… if a student who is on scholarship has to go 5 years (or +… which was my case) to finish his degree, does the school only pay for four years or till execution of a degree?

    I worked up to 3 jobs a semester to make ends meet.. they get to play a game.

  4. Philip, that is a very naive take. Do you know how much time these athletes spend on their sport? Especially when it comes to elite level college football programs, attending classes and having real majors are strongly discouraged by coaches, athletic directors, and others highly involved with the programs. Occasionally, someone graduates with a Physics or Engineering degree, but these are usually players who were not expected to be elite players. At many of the football factories, deciding to be a student will cost a player his scholarship. If you doubt me, look up the story of how and why Ray Ray McElrathbey lost his scholarship.

  5. I’m not sure how many people out there understand that scholarships are not guaranteed. A kid with poor academic performance may not be able to play, but he’ll keep his scholarship. If you don’t turn out to be as good a player as expected, you can lose your scholarship. Playing well on the field will do more to help an athlete keep his scholarship than performing well in the classroom will.

  6. and seriously, who can blame these kids for taking money? the ncaa and college programs make boatloads of money from them. if i was a college athlete, i would want a piece of the pie, too.

  7. Michael has a good point. Obviously these guys want that money (wouldn’t anyone??), but it’s the non-existent system of paying athletes at least a percentage of revenue that gives birth to the crooked system of ncaa schools putting up “monetary incentives”. Why are basketball and football coaches making 100% more than their players? I have never heard of a coach selling out an arena… Clearly something isn’t adding up.

  8. I only care about baseball. so I have no clue what everyone is talking about here. What happened? Who can provide a link to a good article that will get me “in the know”?

  9. The Cam Newton’s are a very tiny part of college athletics.
    Unfortunately it is the only part journalists care to report on.
    No interest with the public.
    There is no money in reporting about the vast majority of good guys.
    Does that make sports reporters whores too?

  10. Still not seeing much talk about the value of an education, for someone who might not have this opportunity otherwise.

    Where is the story about the kid who is actually benefitting from an education, as a result of his athletics. That 2.75 student, who had a poor preparation for college in his hs environment, putting in all the hours… is hustling to try to make grades because he knows sports arent forever. That’s inspiring. Not someone’s parent whoring them out for 100-180k. But, when you have 10 children you may have a different opinion.

    I get that the schools profit from free labor.

  11. Some parents feel that they need to make money off of their children, but what they fail to understand is that they are actually teaching their children the wrong way of life and that meaning, what if football ends by an injury. That child has so many long hard wrongs to travel down with a lot of heartbreak on the what if’s.

  12. I’d like to see college athletes have the ability to receive endorsements with the proviso that they must kick in say 25% to a scholarship fund.

    I understand not paying them a salary, their salary is their scholarship. But these Universities make a killing on endorsements (which they should share with the athletes). Monopolizing all of that money is quite bovine and its sullying the integrity and quality of student athletics.

  13. What truly surprises me is not that the Newtons wanted money, but that they couldn’t wait a year to get it in the NFL draft. If they were worried about injuries they could have followed the path of many NFL prospects and taken out a massive insurance policy. The kid was a five star recruit and highly sought out of Blinn JUCO. There was no reason for them to be so greedy so soon. Venal.

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