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Auburn Tigers Under Investigation by the NCAA

-by Braden Gall (@AthlonBraden)

The NCAA has inadvertently announced that it is still very much investigating the Auburn Tigers concerning the Cam Newton pay-for-play saga.

In an AP story late Wednesday, it was reported that NCAA vice president for enforcement Julie Roe Lach was asked several questions by Auburn head coach Gene Chizik at the SEC meetings in Destin last month, one of which was why had the NCAA not announced that the Newton investigation was put to bed.

And Roe Lach’s response was “You’ll know when we’re finished. And we’re not finished.”

Definitive, authoritative and especially bone-chilling words if you are an Auburn Tigers fan.

The giant pillar of smoke billowing above Auburn University began late in 2010 when a report surfaced that Auburn quarterback Cam Newton had been “shopped” by his father, Cecil, to a variety of universities. The $180,000 pay-for-play report (to Mississippi State) made it very difficult to believe that Auburn was not involved in some sort of infraction.

First of all, let’s be clear. No matter what happens, the 2010 college football National Champion was the Auburn Tigers. The 2010 Heisman Trophy winner was Cam Newton. Just like the 2004 National Champion is still USC and the 2005 Heisman winner is still Reggie Bush. We all saw what happened on the field, and no one, not even the NCAA, can go back and change history.

That said, I would be very nervous if I was an Auburn Tigers fan. The NCAA is terrible at many things – transparency, expediting processes, clearing student-athletes academically, monitoring its programs effectively – but what it has done with ruthless authority over the last 18-24 months is hammer those who have violated the rules.

Just ask Tennessee, Ohio State, USC, Oklahoma State, North Carolina, Georgia, most recently Georgia Tech and soon enough the Oregon Ducks. And what Auburn allegedly did to “acquire” Cam Newton is, if true, a dramatically more offensive violation than agent wannabes paying parents, selling memorabilia, using street agents to influence recruiting or lying about dinner, emails or barbeques.

It appears Auburn and Chizik went “All In” to win a title – and it might cost them dearly.

-by Braden Gall (@AthlonBraden)