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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fox Sports report: Newton left Florida amidst cheating allegations, says unnamed source

Cam Newton's name is in the headlines again and not for the right reasons.

Fox Sports' Thayer Evans reported late Monday night that Newton faced possible expulsion from the University of Florida for three instances of academic cheating before transferring to Blinn Junior College for the spring semester of 2009.

The report, citing a single unnamed source, said Newton violated Florida's honor code by cheating in class his freshman year. It alleged a second violation in 2008 when he put his name on another student's paper and turned it in. Newton then turned in a second paper that had been purchased off the Internet.

According to the source in the report, Newton was set to appear in front of Florida's Student Conduct Committee during the spring semester of 2009. He transferred to Blinn in January of that year.

Newton, who is considered by many to be the Heisman Trophy frontrunner, has been in the middle of a media firestorm after recent allegations that a man claiming to represent his family's interests asked for $180,000 from Mississippi State during the recruiting process last year.

Newton and his family have denied any wrongdoing. Auburn has stood by the quarterback's eligibility throughout the matter, with school sources saying it was investigated thoroughly this summer. An NCAA investigation is ongoing.

Newton, who signed with Auburn last December, has said many times that he chose to leave Florida on his own accord, needing a fresh start following his arrest for theft of a laptop in November 2008. Newton maintains he purchased the stolen item unwittingly. The charges were later dropped after he completed a pre-trial intervention program for first-time offenders.

He also said future playing time was a factor, with Tim Tebow choosing to return for his senior season and John Brantley as a future competitor at quarterback. (Although Tebow announced he was returning for his senior season Jan. 11, 2009, while reports of Newton's decision to transfer began as early as Jan. 5 of that year.)

The Fox Sports report said Newton was not enrolled at Florida for the spring semester when he decided to transfer.


AUsome04 said...

Good gosh man. You journalists are performing a witch hunt on this kid. WTF does this have to do with the now. Just because Florida has a culture of tolerance for athletes has no bearing on his career at Auburn. Newton's story is right after the news of Wade Phillip's being fired. 3 times and they never did anything but when Auburn is 10-0 and Newton is the potential Heisman trophy winner, Florida drops this information. Unbelievable! AB what does this have to do with Auburn? I guess now we not only paid him we fix his grades too? Wait, that's two other schools...

War Eagle AC-47 said...

This guy is definitely gonna dog Newton now. And let's face it, you dig long enough on any college kid, you're gonna find a variety of less than stellar activities.

Roman said...

I don't see how this story is supposed to be relevant. It does not impact on Newton's eligibility at AU. And the dots I can't connect boil down to this: Dan Mullen still wanted Newton at MSU. Urban Meyer wishes he had him still. If Newton is so awful, why did Mullen go after him so hard? Why does Urban Meyer wish he still had him? And most of all, what does any of this have to do with Newton or Auburn in the here and now?

The bottom line is that this story by Thayer Evans seems to be no more than an effort at character assassination. Someone seems to have an agenda. The question is why, especially when the player is someone who does things like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzPQWL1J8wg

Anonymous said...

An unnamed source just told me Thayer Evans has been arrested for child pornography and is wanted in Thailand for drug trafficking.

Shit, this journalism this is EASY!

Anonymous said...

Wow, wonder if he just recycled this story?


Anonymous said...

And gee, don't guess he's got an agenda. http://www.obnug.com/2010/10/25/1774146/from-fox-sports-thayer-evans

So, let's just leave aside the truth of this matter (it is irrelevant to his eligibility at AU anyway). What you have is a guy with a clear agenda/ax to grind - he needs AU, at least, to drop in the polls - and to do that he starts throwing crap against the wall and hoping it sticks.

He completely ignores the fact that TCU will jump BSU anyway, no matter what happens. Maybe he should start writing crap about Darron Thomas or Chip Kelly? what a clown. shaggybevo apparently has more on the guy, they claim he's an Okla homer.

Anonymous said...

a single unnamed source... It's amazing how THIS one guy finds this stuff. Kinda like how he wrote that the homecoming down showed how down the Auburn nation and players are as there wasn't the enthusiasm before and after the game...it was UTC!!! And as I hear it, it was pretty loud for one Mr. Cam. And knocked on the "friendly Auburn media," which included a journalist from the AJC that rarely makes the visit. This ass-clown should seriously be removed from his occupation. I would also note, this is the same jackwagon that wrote the story on the socialogy classes, which WERE investigated and WERE cleared. He has an Auburn complex.

Tiger62 said...

Good Grief, Andy! Why do you feel compelled to regurgitate all of this unfounded crap? You're as bad as these other so-called journalists!

John Stubbs said...

Character Assassination. That should be the story. Two million dollar football coaches that can't act mature. They are trying to ruin the reputation of a college kid. This is one of the worst things I've seen in years.

Anonymous said...



Subpart D_May an Educational Agency or Institution Disclose Personally
Identifiable Information From Education Records?

Sec. 99.31 Under what conditions is prior consent not required to disclose information?

(a) An educational agency or institution may disclose personally
identifiable information from an education record of a student without
the consent required by Sec. 99.30 if the disclosure meets one or more
of the following conditions:
(1) The disclosure is to other school officials, including teachers,
within the agency or institution whom the agency or institution has
determined to have legitimate educational interests.
(2) The disclosure is, subject to the requirements of Sec. 99.34, to
officials of another school, school system, or institution of
postsecondary education where the student seeks or intends to enroll.
(3) The disclosure is, subject to the requirements of Sec. 99.35, to
authorized representatives of--
(i) The Comptroller General of the United States;
(ii) The Attorney General of the United States;
(iii) The Secretary; or
(iv) State and local educational authorities.
(4)(i) The disclosure is in connection with financial aid for which
the student has applied or which the student has received, if the
information is necessary for such purposes as to:
(A) Determine eligibility for the aid;
(B) Determine the amount of the aid;
(C) Determine the conditions for the aid; or
(D) Enforce the terms and conditions of the aid.
(ii) As used in paragraph (a)(4)(i) of this section, financial aid
means a payment of funds provided to an individual (or a payment in kind
of tangible or intangible property to the individual) that is
conditioned on the individual's attendance at an educational agency or

It seems journalists are not required to comply with any standards. Thayer should reveal his source or be reprimanded for what is clearly a violation of this title.

Nancy said...

All the bloggers must be thankful to Fox Sports....now they can keep the Newton story alive with a clear conscience since all they are doing is reporting on someone else's column. Don't question an "unidentified source" with no verification.....just jump on the bandwagon.

Moose said...

Andy, please enlighten me on this: This is both unethical and illegal right? Regardless if its true (which it probably is).

Marmot said...

Calm down everyone. All Cam needs to do is play the "I was a D-bag at Florida but I grew up at Blinn" card and he's right back to being a feel-good story. And as someone pointed out, Mullen knew everything about Cam from Florida and still wanted him real bad... that either tells us that Mullen doesn't care about character/academics or he does care about them and was convinced they weren't an issue with Cam.

And I clicked over to Andy's blog specifically to get details on this story, so of course Andy should be reporting on it. The fact that most Auburn fans are mad and most of our rivals are happy gives this kind of story legs. However I think its time for journalists to drag Urban Meyer and his agenda into the story. Its just as legitimate as talking about stuff in Cam's past that has no effect on his current eligibility.

It would be classic if the NCAA suddenly decided to investigate Florida's athletic department for academic improprieties.

K dog said...

Andy, I have respected both you're blog and reporting up until now. If you are not going to include in your article or in any future articles, that Thayer and the "un-named source" from the University of FL have violated Cam Newton's academic privacy rights, then you are as bad as Thayer.

michael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
michael said...

Thanks for reporting on this and not pretending it isn't happening, Andy.

-Ryan said...

everyone needs to quit speaking that "writer's" name. this is nothing more than his attempt to get famous off of Cam's exceptional athletic talents and we need to stop supporting that by posting his name and story all around the internet. ESPN is now covering this story as well which is how fast it has spread.

The bottom line is that I bet, just like almost any of us, if we spend a week and have a huge budget to sift through every event of the previous 3 years of that "writer's" life, we would end up with some equally shocking dirt. Everyone makes mistakes. Cam is no exception. He has paid his price and moved along, and so should the rest of the world.

Besides, had he been "convincted" of cheating, what the result have likely been? Expulsion. Follow by a year at a JuCo, followed by his return. I see no difference with him removing himself or them removing him. He knew he needed a new start and took the steps necessary to get one. I don't think it is our place to start taking that new start away from him.

Jim said...

So, will investigative sports reporters start digging into the backgrounds of all potential Heisman candidates? Because background checks are sooo important to the integrity of the trophy now. \sarc

Andy Bitter said...

I appreciate the folks who understand that I wrote this blog post because, like it or not, this is a news story right now. If I ignored it, I wouldn't be doing my job.

To answer a few of the questions on here:

* Yes, the timing of this report is interesting. Especially since it really doesn't have anything to do with the the recruiting allegations that were made public last week. Also, would I feel more comfortable about the veracity of this report if it weren't written by Thayer Evans? Yes.

* I'm always wary of single, unnamed source stories, but the people at Fox Sports obviously felt strong enough with the sourcing for the story to go up. News organizations usually tread carefully when material can be considered libelous.

* You can question the source for talking about Newton's academic background, but not Evans. As a reporter, if people want to talk to you about stuff, there's nothing wrong with that.

* Even if true, Roman is right, it probably won't affect Newton's eligibility. He's still been accepted to two schools (Blinn, Auburn) since the alleged cheating. Students are allowed to rehabilitate themselves in that regard and, from all accounts, Newton has been a model citizen at Auburn.

Moose said...

Lest we all forget (I am looking at you Fox Sports) about LaMichael James' arrest earlier this year?

MikeP said...

If, as Evan's source claims, Newton was facing academic charges when he left Florida he wouldn't have been able to transfer anywhere.
Under that circumstance, an institution won't provide a transcript until the matter is brought to conclusion. Thayer Evans is on a hate campaign for reasons yet to be determined.

Also, ahem!, Dan Mullen was there at Florida during all this time and he saw no reason not to recruit Cam Newton to Mississippi State. Think about that for a minute.

Anonymous said...


Now you're backtracking. Defending your news buddies. Take a stand.

Simmons B. Buntin said...

I'm not a religious man, but I'm beginning to take faith in Cam's line: "When God be blessin', the devil be messin'."

All this really does, in my opinion, is guarantee that 1) the team will join ranks even more fully and 2) Cam will skip his senior season and enter the NFL, where "news" like this won't affect eligibility or much of anything else.

And of course we're seeing just how bitter the SEC can be off the field. Pretty pathetic, really. By the way, my verification word is "unlied." Symbolism, anyone?

Simmons B. Buntin said...

By the way, this is worth a read: http://collegefootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2010/11/09/report-accuses-cam-newton-of-academic-cheating-while-at-florida/.

At least some in the media recognize there's more at work here than just reporting the "facts."

Anonymous said...


Why don't you do a real story on evans and his shady journalism. band of brothers. Right

Greg said...

The report, citing a single unnamed source...

Is that what they teach in journalism school now?

Well, my best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who's going with the girl who saw Cam pass out at 31 Flavors last night.

I guess it's pretty serious.

tptoomers said...

Andy, I really like the blog. Having followed it for a few months now, I feel compelled to apologize for those fans among us who would berrate you for giving me the information that I seek.

To everyone else: Take it easy already. Dont act like your on a crusade against journalist, when we all know that if this was happening to a kid at Northwestern you would not even care. We are all fans. We dont like others talking about our team, but this IS news, like it or not. We got robbed in 2004, but were are in the middle of a NC run here. Have a little perspective, sit back, and enjoy the games.

BTW, its not libelous if it is TRUE.

Anonymous said...


There has been a lot of news about bullying lately. This is journalists bullying a kid at AU. Andy had a choice.

jet777 said...

"Let he who is without sin cast the first stone!!"

SteveFC said...

I am deeply disappointed that you would spread this unsubstantiated information and no longer care to be associated with your blog.

JJ said...

Funny how all of a sudeen when people realize Auburn is controlling its destination for the BSC game everyone tries to hunt and prod for a reason they shouldnt be there. here is and idea, shut your face and stop trying to get attention to yourself. That is ALL this is. end of story.

Anonymous said...

"* You can question the source for talking about Newton's academic background, but not Evans. As a reporter, if people want to talk to you about stuff, there's nothing wrong with that."

You lost me right there Andy. As a journalist you have a responsibility to report the truth or qualify it as an opinion. Unnamed sources and speculation are far from that.
If Thayer can't substantiate this article with a confirmed source, it is speculation. Trying to destroy a young man's career does not qualify for " just talking about stuff."

Andy Bitter said...

I thought it was understood in my comment that "stuff" should be based in fact, but I guess I have to explicitly write that out.

Unnamed sources can be factual. They are dangerous to use because there is no accountability, but that doesn't mean they are inherently incorrect.

Anonymous said...

"I thought it was understood in my comment that "stuff" should be based in fact, but I guess I have to explicitly write that out."

I thought it to be understood that someone is innocent until proven guilty, but that isn't necessarily true in this case is it? If you don't believe that then simply look at some of the comments being made by some of your sports journalistic brethren. A few already claiming they won't vote for a candidate based on speculation.
And I thought ambulance chasing lawyers were the bottom of the barrel.