The Fiddler of Birmingham

The Southeastern Conference is the lead story on every major network this week for all of the wrong reasons. The sanctity of the college game is at risk, but for some reason Mike Slive, commissioner of the SEC, remains on the sidelines while the reputation of the league burns. Rather than showing some leadership, Slive appears to be content to let unnamed sources speak for the SEC.

For Auburn fans it is the best of times and now the worst of times.

The Tigers are proud to see their quarterback as the front runner for the Heisman and to see their school's name near the top of the BCS rankings.

All of the heat Auburn fans had to eat last season when Alabama won it all and Mark Ingram took home the Heisman, seemed to pale in comparison to the joy fans on the Plains were having this year.

This looked to be Auburn's year.

Instead of gobbling up BCS game tickets and printing "Cam for Heisman" bumper stickers, the family Auburn is dealing with a potential scandal of epic proportions.

Mississippi State on the other hand is enjoying a resurgence under Coach Dan Mullen. The Bulldogs are 7-2 and headed to a nice bowl game this year.

In Starkville, euphoria is high.

The Bulldog family had barely dried their eyes after Nick Bell's memorial service when news broke that a former MSU player was quoted in a national story about the services of one Cameron Newton being up for sale during the recruiting process.

Since news of the allegations broke, Auburn has been branded cheaters and Mississippi State labeled snitches.

Despite that fact that Auburn nor their coaching staff have been accused of wrong doing, the insinuations certainly exist within the college football family that something must be going on.

Mississippi State did what all SEC member schools are asked to do when things of a shady nature occur. They relayed their concerns to Birmingham.

Which makes me wonder just where is Mike Slive?

An SEC school is in position to win the BCS national championship again this year and bring home another Heisman for the league, but they are left twisting in the wind by Slive's office.

And what can be said about the confidentiality of the SEC office when a member school reports a possible indiscretion only to have to defend their decision to do so at every turn.

I wonder why people elect not to get involved when there is evidence of wrong doing. Mike?.

Mike Slive, I am not certain he is worthy of the title of commissioner at this point, has sat idly by and let Auburn and Mississippi State fend for themselves.

How difficult would it have been for Slive to step forward and make a brief statement earlier this week to say his office looked into the matter and felt that:

a) "There was enough concern we wanted to forward it to the NCAA to be sure we didn't have a serious violation."

or b) "We investigated the matter and are confident that the NCAA will find nothing improper in the recruitment of Cameron Newton."?

Either statement would have been fine and helped calm the tensions that may be at an all time high within the SEC.

Make no mistake this is not just about the SEC. This is not about two in state schools squabbling about an in state recruit who got an extra roll in the dinner line on an official visit.

This is the sanctity of the college game we are talking about.

I know what many of the talking heads are saying on television, but I cannot see a Heisman voter from the Pac-10 or Big-12 (10,8,6?) voting for Cam Newton with all of this unsettled.

With Reggie Bush as the back drop, I cannot see the Heisman trust presenting an award they may have to take back at a later date.

Imagine being Boise State or TCU and not making the BCS title game only to be told six months from now, "Sorry, we were wrong. You should have been able to play for a national title.

"We're going to have to vacate the championship now, but we offer you our sincerest apologies."

Folks, I can promise you it won't go down that way. Pollsters will began jockeying for position and they will pull one of the biggest swerves in the history of sports to protect the game.

With the national ramifications of the Newton situation, Slive has to step up and lead.

Mike you put the license to cheat rule in to effect when you voted, err mandated, errrr decreed that no SEC school could go directly to the NCAA with possible violations.

Everything had to go through you and then you would decide what needed to go to the NCAA.

That may have cut down on some of the pettiness like a hundred dollar hand shake, but in the end you took on the responsibility for the SEC as a whole.

You wanted the big boy pants, so wear them Mike. Step out here and show some leadership. Your, I mean OUR, conference is in crisis and you are missing in action.

You have proven you can collect your bonuses, play golf with dignitaries and take fancy vacations, but where are you when the SEC needs you?

You boast about ESPN media deals and surviving the Pac-16 super conference talk, but where are you when the league's reputation is at stake?

Cam Newton is under investigation at the very least you should step forward and say your office is aware of the matter and offer some guidance one way or the other.

Is he not worth your time?

Where are you when Jay Jacobs and Gene Chizik are having to make daily statements about their program and about how they looked into the matter months ago?

Mississippi State followed your kangaroo court proceedings, so where is your support of your own process?

It is reported that these issues were relayed to your office as many as ten months ago, but the Auburn folks say they began looking into the matter in July.

Did your office sit on the information until then?

Where are you on all of this Mike?

I am trying to believe here, but you are not giving me a lot to trust in.

Where are you now that everyday new information comes out in the national media without a word from you?

I guess if we can get someone to work in a complaint about a bogus pass interference call we might get a response from you.

We see you at media days and sitting in the luxury suites at events, but where are you when the chips are down?

Where are you when the perception of the league is just as it was before you took office?

Where are you when the fabric of our beloved conference, the greatest sports conference in the county, is being trampled under foot?

Where are you when it's time to do your job?

Where are you when this league needs leadership?

To put it bluntly, where the hell are you Mike Slive?

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