Auburn, the 2010-2011 BCS National Champions, will face no penalty after allegations that Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Cam Newton and four other players were paid to play football for the school.
On the HBO sports program, Real Sports, former players Raven Gray, Stanley McClover, Chaz Ramsey, and Tony Reddick admitted to accepting benefts while at Auburn.
Here is the statement that the NCAA released:
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 NCAA apparently have blurred the line between allegation and confession. Those four players went on television and admitted they took benefits. The NCAA appears to claim that the athletes collectively decided to go on television to make false accusations about their school and in the process disparage their own names.
As for Newton, the NCAA had declared the star quarterback ineligible on Dec. 1, after finding evidence that his father, Cecil, solicited Mississippi State for money to have his son play at the school.
However, the NCAA quickly reinstated Newton on grounds that there was not sufficient evidence that both Newton and Auburn had any knowledge of what Cecil was doing.
What the NCAA is suggesting in their ruling, is that a parent of an athlete can engage in shopping for benefits for the athlete, only if the player and the school do not have knowledge of the parent's actions.
The NCAA spent 13 months investigating Auburn for allegations surrounding five players, yet spent over four years investigating USC for the allegations of one player. The USC football program was hit with a two-year postseason ban, and the loss of 30 scholarships, for allegations that Reggie Bush's father, LaMar Griffin, accepted benefits.
High-profile players demand high-profile compliance, Paul Dee, the NCAA's Committee on Infractions chairman, said while announcing USC's sanctions.
Does this all seem fishy?