Clearly there is blood in the water.
Before you watch tonight's broadcast, I highly recommend watching this 60 Minutes Special from 1991 regarding Eric Ramsey's tapes. Those tapes lead to Auburn being banned from TV and Bowls in 1993 as they proved Ramsey was paid to play football at Auburn. The entire pay for performance program described in this video sounds fairly similar to the upcoming HBO story.
Remember -- none of this has anything to do with Cam Newton. Except that a lot of people who hate Auburn are looking for a reason to kick the hell out of the Tigers. If they can't bust them for CamGate, they'll bust them for something else.
Here is what I believe to be true:
- 1. Auburn was alleged to have paid kids up to $1,000 per month during the 1989 season and prior. They were also put on probation for violations of that exact nature. Many of the same boosters referenced in that 60 Minutes video are still around the AU program.
2. $1k/month is obviously $12k a year. If you would give a kid $12k a year for up to 4 years in '89, then giving a kid $50k up front in 2010 isn't tough to put your head around. It's actually a good deal by comparison.
3. It's not the easiest thing in the world to give someone $50k in cash. To move that sort of money around...as was alleged by Mississippi State in regards to Newton ...takes a proven infrastructure. People don't just that kind of cash to kids without knowing for damn sure that it'll land in the right spot AND that their risk of being implicated (barring a confession) is minimal.
4. You can't logically expect that an alumni group powerful and successful enough to invest $150k or more in a single player wouldn't protect that investment with additional investments of $25k-50k in ultra high quality players to surround him.
5. If Newton's dad thought he could get $180k from AU, there's no way he stopped asking after the first bidder said no.
6. If Newton's dad had asked for only $50k, Mississippi State would've been the 2010 SEC Champs and Gene Chizik's tenure in Auburn would be on life support.
But it's becoming more and more clear that the money movement infrastructure that Auburn created and leveraged to turn around their program in the late 80s is back in business today as alleged by the 4 former players and the HBO special. And it's even more clear that certain other members of the SEC have passed the tipping point in their tolerance for Auburn's shenanigans.
So the question is simple. Will the NCAA finally attempt to cripple that infrastructure? Because it's not about Cam Newton now. It's way past that.