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Cam Newton Investigation: Auburn Kind of Cleared-ish

The chance that we would ever know exactly what happened in the Cam Newton saga, regardless of the outcome of the NCAA investigation into the pay-to-play allegations against Auburn, vanished long ago. But when you interview 80 sources and come up able to prove nothing, there's at least a solid reason to believe that nothing will ever be proven. In any case, the NCAA says the book is closed on the long-running affair.

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.

You could read any number of things between the lines there -- a veiled shot at Danny Sheridan appears to be there, and the cryptic reference to "a good-faith belief that the Committee on Infractions could make a finding" suggests that investigators turned up some smoke but nothing approaching a fire. Auburn fans will see this as a vindication, while opponents will call it a cover-up. In other words, it's back to the message boards and conspiracy theories for those who still have the energy to talk about this after nearly a year.

There are always going to be questions surrounding Newton's recruitment, but those questions now have to acknowledge that the NCAA did a pretty thorough investigation and found nothing that it could prove. The controversy about Cam Newton is dead; long live the controversy about Cam Newton.

Addendum from Year2

I feel like I've lost a year of my life following this story, so let's all reminisce together!

The news that the NCAA was investigating Cam Newton's recruitment first broke on November 4 of last year. There were supposedly tapes incriminating the Newtons, but nothing came of them. There was an HBO special where four former players accused the school of violations, but I believe three of them refused to talk to the NCAA. Supposedly the investigation stretched all the way to South Florida back in June. Danny Sheridan told stories of a bag man. Finally, we learned about Gene Chizik getting told by an NCAA official.

I'm just glad we have a conclusion at last. Unless someone finds empty canvas sacks with dollar signs on them at Cecil Newton's church, John Bond's tapes or Danny Sheridan's bag man, this thing is over. Well, officially anyway. I'm sure it will live on in message boards and on the Finebaum show forever.