AUBURN, AL (WBRC) – Auburn quarterback Cam Newton will be allowed to play in the SEC Championship game on Saturday, according to the NCAA.
On Monday, the NCAA concluded that Newton's father and the owner of a scouting service were in violation of amateurism rules after attempting to market the student-athlete as part of a pay-for-play deal. Auburn University declared Newton ineligible on Tuesday as a result of the violation.
After a violation, a school must declare an athlete ineligible, but it may request for the athlete to be reinstated. Reinstatement often comes with conditions like being unable to compete for a set time or repayment of benefits. The NCAA decided to reinstate Newton without any conditions.
Newton's father's access to the Auburn athletics program has been limited and Mississippi State has disassociated with the scouting agency owner.
"The conduct of Cam Newton's father and the involved individual is unacceptable and has no place in the SEC or in intercollegiate athletics," said Mike Slive, Southeastern Conference Commissioner. "The actions taken by Auburn University and Mississippi State University make it clear this behavior will not be tolerated in the SEC."
Kevin Lennon, the NCAA Vice President for Academic and Membership Affairs, noted that there has been no wrongdoing on the part of Cam Newton or Auburn University.
"Based on the information available to the reinstatement staff at this time, we do not have sufficient evidence that Cam Newton or anyone from Auburn was aware of this activity, which led to his reinstatement. From a student-athlete reinstatement perspective, Auburn University met its obligation under NCAA bylaw 14.11.1. Under this threshold, the student-athlete has not participated while ineligible," said Lennon.
Wednesday afternoon, Auburn University Athletic Director Jay Jacobs emailed the following letter to all Auburn football ticketholders:
Dear Auburn Family,
I wanted to use this forum to personally share a statement from me that was released to the media earlier today concerning Cam Newton's eligibility. I felt that it was important to send this statement directly to you in light of the many reports in recent weeks.
The following statement from me was included in a joint press release with the NCAA:
"We are pleased that the NCAA has agreed with our position that Cam Newton has been and continues to be eligible to play football at Auburn University. We appreciate the diligence and professionalism of the NCAA in its handling of this matter."
The joint press release also included the following statement from Kevin Lennon, the NCAA's vice president for academic and membership affairs:
"In determining how a violation impacts a student-athlete's eligibility, we must consider the young person's responsibility. Based on the information available to the reinstatement staff at this time, we do not have sufficient evidence that Cam Newton or anyone from Auburn was aware of this activity, which led to his reinstatement. From a student-athlete reinstatement perspective, Auburn University met its obligation under NCAA bylaw 14.11.1. Under this threshold, the student-athlete has not participated while ineligible."
Some of you have been frustrated by our inability to comment publicly on this matter in recent weeks and by the absence of factual information amidst the firestorm of reports. Your frustration is understandable. The Auburn Athletics Department declined to comment on these recent reports out of respect for the process. To do otherwise would not have been in Auburn's best interest or in the best interest of our student-athletes, and we hope you understand that.
Know that we will always act with character and integrity and that we will always do what is best for Auburn University. That has been and will continue to be the case.
The support of the Auburn Family throughout this remarkable season has been incredible. The gameday experience and atmosphere at Jordan-Hare Stadium was the best it has ever been. Your spirit and passion mean more to those young men who play for Auburn than you will ever know. I thank you for that.
I am proud of the character and class that Cam Newton, his teammates, Coach Chizik and his entire staff have shown in recent weeks and throughout the year. I know that you are equally proud of this very special team, and that we can count on the Auburn Family to rally around them as we prepare to go to Atlanta and play for the Southeastern Conference championship.
God Bless and War Eagle!
Director of Athletics