The NCAA has concluded its investigation into Auburn in its recruitment of Heisman winner Cam Newton and found no major violations, according to a report.
The NCAA investigated into allegations that Auburn paid more than $200,000 to Newton's father, Cecil, in order for Newton to play for Auburn. The NCAA interviewed more than 50 individuals about the subject -- as well as about allegations that Auburn paid other players based on a HBO Real Sports investigation -- and found no major rules violations.
We appreciate the NCAA and thank them for their professionalism and thoroughness during this exhaustive investigation. We are pleased to put this matter behind us, Auburn athletics director Jay Jacobs said in a statement.
Newton, in his one season with Auburn, led the Tigers to a storybook 13-0 record and national championship victory over Oregon in 2010. The incredible amount of success led many to question Newton's recruitment and call upon the NCAA to impose penalties on the program and make Newton give back his Heisman Trophy -- similar to USC's Reggie Bush.
But the NCAA was unable to find any facts beyond rampant Internet rumors and public speculation, according to a statement by the NCAA.
The NCAA enforcement staff is committed to a fair and thorough investigative process. As such, any allegations of major rules violations must meet a burden of proof, which is a higher standard than rampant public speculation online and in the media. The allegations must be based on credible and persuasive information and includes a good-faith belief that the Committee on Infractions could make a finding.
The decision should hopefully end speculation about payment to Newton -- including by USA Today's Danny Sheridan about the alleged bagman -- but some fans could still dispute the NCAA's findings.