NCAA finds no major violations committed by Auburn

 MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The NCAA said it found no major
violations committed by Auburn regarding Cam Newton or other
pay-for-play allegations and has concluded multiple investigations
of the program.

Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton (2) runs for a touchdown against South Carolina during an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The NCAA said it found no major
violations committed by Auburn regarding Cam Newton or other
pay-for-play allegations and has concluded multiple investigations
of the program.
The NCAA released a statement Wednesday saying it has closed its
13-month investigation into Auburn's recruitment of the Heisman
Trophy-winning quarterback, whose father shopped his services to
another school for nearly $200,000.
The dark cloud of the investigation hovered over the program
during the Tigers' national championship run.
The NCAA also cleared Auburn in allegations by four former
players that they received payments during their recruitment or
careers.
The NCAA notified Auburn of the decision on Tuesday in a letter
from associate director of enforcement Jackie A. Thurnes. Auburn
released it Wednesday.
Thurnes said NCAA enforcement staff and the university conducted
more than 50 interviews into whether Newton was paid to sign with
Auburn and examined documents including bank records, tax filings
and phone and email records.
"The NCAA enforcement staff is committed to a fair and thorough
investigative process," the NCAA said in a statement. "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.
"As with any case, should the enforcement staff become aware of
additional credible information, it will review the information to
determine whether further investigation is warranted."
The NCAA agreed with Auburn's self-report from Nov. 30, 2010,
that Cecil Newton and the owner of a scouting service, Kenny
Rogers, shopped Cam Newton's services to Mississippi State out of
junior college, but that there was no evidence the player or Auburn
knew about it.
Newton led the Tigers to a national title and was the No. 1 NFL
draft pick by the Carolina Panthers, who made him an instant
starter. The final months of his spectacular season were clouded by
the allegations, though.
More allegations surfaced in March when the four former Auburn
players raised more claims of wrongdoing in the program.
Raven Gray, Stanley McCover, Chaz Ramsey and Troy Reddick all
told HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" that they received
thousands of dollars while being recruited by or playing for the
Tigers.
They said the cash was delivered in book bags, envelopes and
even handshakes. Ramsey played at Auburn most recently, in the 2007
season.
Thurnes said the NCAA interviewed Gray and his family members
and friends and that his claims were not substantiated "and in
some instances were disputed by others."
The other three players interviewed by HBO declined to speak
with the NCAA, which said "their lack of cooperation and lack of
any other information" left insufficient reason to conclude that
any violations occurred.
Auburn coach Gene Chizik, who was defensive coordinator during
the careers of Reddick and McClover, dismissed the report as "pure
garbage." Auburn hired outside counsel to investigate the claims.
"We appreciate the NCAA and thank them for their
professionalism and thoroughness during this exhaustive
investigation," Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs said. "We are
pleased to put this matter behind us."

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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