On April 3 Selena Roberts dropped a bomb on the college football world with allegations of mass cheating involving pay-for-play schemes and grade changes occurring at her alma mater (via Roopstigo.com), Auburn University.
With this problem now cropping up for the Tigers, one has to wonder how the past pay-for-play accusations involving Cam Newton will affect this new story and the expected follow-up NCAA investigation.
The short answer is that they won’t.
These allegations come just in time to rekindle the dumpster fire that was left with Auburn fans after Cam Newton and the Tigers program were placed under the microscope during the 2010 national title run.
In case you forgot already, Newton was recruited heavily by Auburn and Mississippi State. A Bulldogs booster stated that Newton’s father was shopping his son, and that Mississippi State boosters had been contacted by Cecil Newton looking for money (via USA Today).
When Newton signed with Auburn, the assumption was that he was paid by someone at the school. But a lengthy NCAA investigation cleared the school and Newton of any wrongdoing in the matter (via ESPN).
The Roberts report quotes former players—some of which have discredited the quotes in an al.com report—as whistle-blowers stating that Auburn offered cash incentives through coaches, and that there were rampant grade changes.
The scope of the allegations from the Roberts report puts at least two different coaching staffs in the spotlight. The story mentions wrongdoing during the Chizik and Tuberville years.
Florida head coach Will Muschamp is even involved in the story as a former Auburn assistant. According to Mike McNeil, Muschamp was handing out cash during the Tommy Tuberville years way before Newton hit campus.
The Newton case was a mystery investigation that never involved actual accusations against Auburn, while this is a blatant attack on the Tigers program. Neither story ties to the other, but both will have drummed up NCAA investigations before the story ends.
The one similarity that this new story has to Newton is the “here we go again” effect. Right now the NCAA will begin to look into the Tigers program for what seems like the hundredth time in three years.
It may as well set up a satellite office in town, as it seems like new accusations are drummed up constantly.
Is there more to come out of this story?
Surely, but having been cleared already of any wrongdoing in the Cam Newton recruitment completely closes off ties to this new investigation.
Auburn has a lot of questions it has to answer thanks to the new report, but nothing involving Cam Newton will affect how this story plays out.