AUBURN, AL (WIS) - Auburn quarterback Cam Newton is eligible to play in the SEC title game against South Carolina, even though the NCAA says his father broke rules by shopping his son to another school.
Auburn declared Newton ineligible Monday after the NCAA concluded that a violation of amateurism rules occurred.
The NCAA released its finding in a statement on Wednesday. The college sports governing body had concluded on Monday that a violation of Newton's amateur status had occurred. Auburn declared Newton ineligible on Tuesday and requested his eligibility be reinstated.
The NCAA enforcement committee staff, Newton's father and an owner of a scouting service worked together to actively market Newton as a part of a pay-for-play scenario in return for Newton's commitment to attend college and play football. NCAA rules do not allow individuals or entities to represent a prospective student-athlete for compensation to a school for an athletic scholarship.
"Our members have established rules for a fair and equal recruitment of student-athletes, as well as to promote integrity in the recruiting process," said Kevin Lennon, NCAA 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."
Newton has now been cleared to compete without conditions.
In conjunction with the case, Auburn University has limited the access Newton's father has to the athletics program and Mississippi State has disassociated the involved individual.
"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."
"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," Auburn University Director of Athletics Jay Jacobs said. "We appreciate the diligence and professionalism of the NCAA and its handling of this matter. "
No. 2 Auburn plays South Carolina in the Southeastern Conference championship game on Saturday. With a victory, the Tigers will earn a spot in the BCS national title game.