Yesterday while speaking to Brandon Marcello of the JACKSON (MS) CLARION-LEDGER, SEC Commissioner Mike Slive expressed concern about the prospect that Mississippi State-affiliated sources may have leaked information to the media about alleged impropriety involving the recruitment of Cam Newton.
(”Disappointed” SEC Commissioner Mike Slive Does)
One of those reports, which the SEC has now verified as false, was a Joe Schad-authored ESPN story this week that cited, “two sources who recruit for Mississippi State.” Lede of that report:
Two sources who recruit for Mississippi State said that Cecil Newton and his son, quarterback Cam Newton, said in separate phone conversations that his college choice would be part of a pay-for-play plan while Newton was being recruited late last year.
Mississippi State compliance officials relayed the alleged conversations to Southeastern Conference compliance officials in January, according to two other sources close to the football program.
From Schad’s story, the implication was that the SEC had been sitting on possible serious NCAA violations for 11 months. But after Schad’s report was released, the SEC confirmed that, to this day, it has never been informed of such phone conversations.
SEC spokesman Charles Bloom said Wednesday evening that there was also no mention of the reported conversations in either of the school’s reports to the league.
In the aftermath of Schad’s erroneous, Mississippi State-sourced report this week, Slive was asked by the Clarion-Ledger’s Marcello “if the SEC could punish MSU if coaches and/or staff members were found to have leaked information to the media?”
SEC Commissioner Slive:
“That’s something we will have to determine once we really know who did what, what the facts are and … once all the established facts are in. When I mean established facts, I don’t mean when somebody (alleges) something. Once (the facts are) in, they’re in and we’ll be able to determine what’s appropriate.”
In other words, yes.
Thursday Schad appeared on the David Pollack & Mike Bell show on WQXI-AM in Atlanta. When talking about the sourcing of his reporting, Schad said:
“I don’t really care who’s the source in any story. I don’t care and I don’t know why people are so worked up about it. … I always struggle to understand why there’s such a quest to figure out who exactly passed along what information to who.”
Count SEC Commissioner Slive, from his comments to the Clarion-Ledger Friday, as one of those “people so worked up” about Schad’s alleged MSU-affiliated sources. Especially considering Schad’s sources were wrong and caused undue embarrassment to the conference.
If MSU officials leaked information to the media, it becomes worrisome and an SEC issue, Slive said. Slive sent a reminder to SEC officials this week about its protocol of handling information and investigations that were lined out in a 2004 report by the SEC’s Task Force on Compliance and Enforcement.
“Any time our process is not followed, it’s a concern and a disappointment because we have an expectation based upon the rules passed by our presidents and athletic directors that the process will be followed,” Slive said.
The final piece to Schad’s erroneous story is whether his sources in actuality were officially affiliated with Mississippi State. If they were, they clearly violated SEC protocol and may soon have a carpet-calling in Birmingham to contend with.
But from Schad’s statement about not caring who his sources are, at this point it would surprise no one if he mischaracterized the connection of his sources to Mississippi State.
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