It has become glaringly apparent that college football has lost its innocence. While this is in no way a new phenomenon, the high profile nature of NCAA probes and other investigations of misappropriations by coaches, teams, and individual players serve as hard evidence that the purity of this pastime has been irreparably marred. There is probably no more spectacular example of this than the Reggie Bush Heisman Trophy debacle.
In the wake of the allegations surrounding Heisman Trophy hopeful Cam Newton it appears another player is now thrust into the media spotlight and tried in the court of public opinion, bringing a potentially negative legacy to himself and college football alike.
Just a few years ago Cam Newton made headlines for his arrest for burglary, larceny, and obstruction of justice. This led to his departure from Florida to Blinn College, where he continued to play football before joining perennial SEC powerhouse Auburn. Now, however, new accusations are surfacing claiming that Newton may have fled Florida to avoid an expulsion for academic infractions, specifically cheating.
While this no doubt causes problems for Cam Newton and Auburn, it also reopens issues for the Heisman Trophy voters. Those involved with the Heisman Trophy award probably felt they had turned the page on much of the drama that surrounded them lately with the closing of the Reggie Bush chapter. It appears, however, things won’t be that easy for them.
Which brings us to today’s debate: Should the uncertainty surrounding Cam Newton’s eligibility impact Heisman Trophy voters and Auburn’s perception as a clean program?
The focus of today’s debate will not be on whether Newton is innocent or guilty, but rather whether Newton’s alleged actions should (should being the operative word) negatively impact the perception of Newton as a Heisman Trophy candidate, and of Auburn as a clean football program.
In this one the Bleacher Fan believes in the continued perception of Newton and Auburn as being clean, reputable competitors. Sports Geek, on the other hand, will play defense, explaining why a player and program accused of such unethical actions should be above reproach.
May the court of TSD opinion convene.