Six Heisman Trophy voters noted today that not only will they not be placing Cam Newton at the top of their ballots - the Auburn quarterback won’t be on their ballots at all. (Five non-votes and one abstention.)
Mike Bianchi of the ORLANDO SENTINEL and longtime college football writer Michael Bradley cited Newton’s off the field issues as it pertains to the “integrity” clause in the Heisman Trust’s mission statement.
Excerpt from Bianchi’s blog post detailing his decision:
That’s right, it says the pursuit of excellence with “INTEGRITY.” And, yet, here we have Cam Newton, a player who left the University of Florida amid allegations of academic fraud and after he was found with a stolen laptop computer and threw it out the window when police arrived; a player whose recruitment is being investigated by the NCAA and the FBI; a player whose father Cecil, according to the NCAA, tried to sell his son’s services to the highest bidder (but, um, Cam supposedly knew nothing about it.).
My vote this year is a vote for the trophy. It is designed to protect the Heisman and what it means. If doing that deprives Newton of a spot among the award’s list of luminaries, so be it. I just can’t allow the trophy, which has been sullied in the past year by revelations that 2005 winner Reggie Bush had received more than a half-million in cash and prizes from a prospective agent, absorb another body blow.
Bianchi and Bradley citing the “integrity” clause of the award is interesting considering it was verified in federal court in 1960 that 1959 Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon took $10,000 during his football career at LSU.
So if Bush was stripped of his Heisman and Newton is being shunned by Bradley for Bush’s past misdeeds, why does Cannon still have his Heisman?
The focus of the Heisman debate should not be if Newton is worthy of the award. Or whether he possesses enough integrity. Or how he compares to Bush.
But why he is eligible for the Heisman Trophy in the first place.
Whatever happens in the Heisman voting will be a sole reflection on the corruption and/or incompetence of the NCAA and the SEC, not a determination of Newton’s character.
UPDATE: Heisman voters Gene Frenette of the FLORIDA TIMES-UNION and Kyle Tucker of the VIRGINIAN-PILOT also did not include Newton on their ballots and Seth Emerson of the MACON TELEGRAPH told me today he is abstaining from the voting.
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