Cam Newton, as expected, won the Heisman Trophy in a landslide. First of all, congrats to him, for it is well-deserved.
However, a few writers did not include him on their ballots, as a result of the alleged pay-for-play requests made by Cecil Newton, Cam’s father. The key word in that statement is allegedly. There are no substantial evidence, aside from testimony from people at Mississippi State, who were spurned by Cam Newton in the first place. Ultimately, the NCAA has stated that there is no evidence that Cam Newton was aware of his father’s actions; they pinned it all on Cecil Newton.
The sports writers who did not put Newton on their ballots, who were few and far between, have one overt reason: they believe him to be ineligible, despite the NCAA reaffirming his eligibility a few weeks ago, after the University of Auburn forced the NCAA to rule on it. However, the underlying factor is the recent decision by Reggie Bush to return his Heisman, following the NCAA’s determination that he was ineligible in 2004, due to “improper benefits.” Those writers who refused to vote for Cam Newton felt that if such an occasion happened again, the prestige of the Heisman itself would be diminished.
Now, can it happen? Yes. Should it play a factor? In my opinion, no, but then again, I do not have a vote.
This, though, goes beyond a “knee-jerk” reaction to circumstances, in a sense, it is almost thinking too much about it. Now, I recognize the Heisman code has the word “integrity” in it, but let’s stop and think about things, logically. In a court of law, if this went to trial on the allegations, Cam Newton would either be acquitted, or get a mistrial from a hung jury. There is no evidence, from any unbiased source, that he did anything wrong.
Amongst those who vote for the Heisman, a few wanted to pass judgment, but is that their place? When put in those terms, no. However, if you tell the writers to vote for the award, they have a paragraph describing what should be considered, and it is left open to interpretation, then perhaps it is their place. It is all a matter of semantics, which is why one person’s opinion on this particular matter, let alone the right to vote.
Ultimately, however, the issue is moot, at least for now. Cam Newton won the Heisman, as he should have. His legacy, his eligibility, and all those other things that are still in play, though, will be left to settled on a later day. at which point those precious few writers may admit they wasted their votes, or be able to say, “I told you so.”