A Note on Cam Newton and Student-Athlete Reinstatement

Not to keep beating a dead horse, but I did want to follow up last Friday's post on the Cam Newton tapes and all that. Towards the end, I speculated that one reason why Newton could have been reinstated if these tapes exist as described is if the NCAA reinstatement decision was based solely on information furnished by Auburn. I also said I didn't know if that's actually how things work.

I actually looked up the NCAA's procedure on student-athlete reinstatement, and it appears that is exactly how things work. The money quote is here:

How is the information gathered to determine reinstatement decisions?
Student-athlete reinstatement decisions are based on an evaluation of the information provided to the staff by the involved school, given the NCAA reinstatement staff's role is not investigatory in nature. While the student-athlete reinstatement staff may ask additional questions related to the reinstatement request, it is the school's responsibility to provide all necessary information for the staff to consider.

The reinstatement decision comes from the reinstatement staff, not the enforcement staff. The enforcement staff is the group that does the investigating and would have been the group to receive any tapes that John Bond and Bill Bell submitted. The reinstatement staff does no investigation or fact finding, and it makes decisions based on information provided by the school.

So, there's your answer as to how Newton could have been declared eligible if he was on one of these tapes. Auburn never had them, so it couldn't have submitted them to the reinstatement staff. It doesn't meant that Auburn is in trouble; it's entirely possible that the Newtons lied to the school and administrators didn't know otherwise.

But it is possible that Scott Moore's reports about the tapes are true and that someone the NCAA had heard those tapes. The reason is, as is often the lesson with the confusing NCAA matters, that the NCAA is not a monlithic organization. It has separate committees for reinstatement and investigation, and they make their decisions independent of each other.

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