Auburn's AD: No "Gray Area" With Rules

Jay Jacobs, Auburn's athletic director, comments on the Cameron Newton situation.

Auburn, Ala.--Jay Jacobs, Auburn's athletic director, said on Friday that the university would not have allowed Cameron Newton to play football this season if there was any doubt by Auburn officials that would lead to NCAA problems for the football program.

Media reports on Thursday concerning possible irregularities on Newton's recruitment to Mississippi State surfaced on Thursday. Auburn coach Gene Chizik issued a brief statement on the subject Thursday night saying, "Unfortunately, I can't comment on it. Here is what I can say and I will say this very loud and very clear. Cameron Newton is eligible at Auburn University. Period. End of story."

On a regularly scheduled appearance on WANI Radio in Auburn on Friday with Andy Burcham on the Auburn-Opelika This Morning show, Jacobs said, "The people that are athletic savvy people, what Gene said last night is that Cam is eligible so I think that people that know athletics know what that means. Unfortunately, we can't talk about it, but I can just tell you this. What went on yesterday, what came out yesterday, was no surprise to us. We have known about that for quite some time."

Sources at Auburn said that the university looked into rumors about Newton's recruiting and made the decision in the summer that there was no issue for the university in playing the quarterback, who transferred to Auburn in January after leading Blinn Junior College to a national championship last season. Newton chose Auburn after taking official visits to Mississippi State, Oklahoma and Auburn.

Jacobs noted that he was surprised that articles written on the subject. "We didn't learn anything new yesterday (Thursday)," he said.

"We are just looking forward to playing the game tomorrow (Saturday), Cam being the quarterback and there we go," Jacobs added.

"One thing I do want to say is just like we have always done, we will continue to protect Auburn," Jacobs said. "We will do what is in the best interests of Auburn. We are not going to get into the gray area with any rules. We are going to have coaches and staff who are people of character and integrity."

Asked about Auburn's decision to allow Newton to be part of the team, Jacobs said, "I can't specifically talk about this case, but any time you have any question about the eligibility of any student-athlete, regardless of what sport it is, you do not allow them to play. He will be playing tomorrow (Saturday)."

Auburn's associate athletic director, Rich McGlynn, is in charge of AU's compliance with NCAA rules. McGlynn has a reputation as being a by the book administrator on rules interpretation and is known as an official who demands Auburn's coaches follow the rules.

Cameron Newton, who leads the SEC in rushing, is shown in action vs. LSU.

"What is going to be interesting to watch is how his teammates begin to rally around him in this particular case," Jacobs added. "There will be some resilience. When you are put in the spotlight like we are now, particularly with the guy who is the No. 1 football player in the nation, attacks are going to come. As we often say in church, ‘higher levels, more devils.'

"It will be interesting to see, but I know this--this team and this staff are going to stay focused on going out there and competing every day and doing it the right way. It is going to be fun to watch. We have got three ball games for sure left, and probably four, before the bowl game. All of these guys will come together and it will be a fun thing to watch, just like it has been, just like the previous nine have been."

The Tigers, who are 9-0 and ranked No. 2 in this week's BCS ratings, will play their Homecoming game at noon CDT on Saturday vs. Chattanooga.

Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories