Anything New in the Cam Newton Case?

This weekend features the SEC Championship Game between Auburn and South Carolina. The questions surrounding Cam Newton's eligibility have never been bigger. A berth in the title game and in-state pride aren't at stake here. The SEC championship itself is, and it hasn't been retroactively altered since Charley Pell's misdeeds got Florida's 1984 title stripped.

To answer the question in this post's title: no. There really hasn't been anything new in over a week in the Cam Newton saga. Despite reportedly getting a warning from the NCAA about Newton's eligibility potentially being in jeopardy, Auburn has kept playing him and kept winning.

To whatever extent playing Newton is a gamble, it has paid off. I can easily see Neil Caudle repeating the Tigers' disastrous first quarter in Tuscaloosa, but my imagination strains significantly in seeing him lead the comeback from 24 points down. I'm not even sure I can see him resurrecting the team after it gave up 21 straight points in the first quarter against Georgia.

That Auburn keeps playing Newton is the best sign for his continuing and future eligibility. It doesn't guarantee anything, however.

Auburn has plenty of reasons to run the risk, assuming it is indeed a risk. A lot of money, exposure, and prestige comes from playing in a BCS game and especially the championship game. It's also quite possible that many in the program will do whatever it takes to avenge the 2004 team's snub, including one Eugene Chizik who was the defensive coordinator of the team that year.

Ultimately, not even the message board hacks expect to get any kind of conclusion to the investigation this week. If you ever thought we'd get closure to the case before the game in Atlanta, you were either giving into wishful thinking or dread. The FBI has no deadlines because it doesn't care about football, and the NCAA is well known for moving slowly.

Newton's investigation shouldn't take as long as the Reggie Bush case did, because all of the principle characters in this one are talking to the NCAA. Even so, wrapping things up within five months of receiving the information (which the NCAA did in July) is a pretty aggressive time table for such a big bureaucracy.

Ultimately, we're going into this weekend's game the same way we have since word first broke: in a state of doubt. Sorry if you were hoping for anything different.

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