MIAMI (CBS4) — Cam Newton and Reggie Bush have plenty of parallels. Both have held the Heisman Trophy. Both have celebrated national championships. Both have endured scrutiny, scandal and NCAA investigations.
And now both are wishing the Miami Hurricanes well as they face a mess that could tear the program down.
Newton and Bush spoke out Friday night about the Miami situation, brought on after convicted Ponzi scheme architect Nevin Shapiro detailed to Yahoo Sports allegations that he provided 72 players with cars, money, gifts and even prostitutes at times between 2002 and 2010. The NCAA is investigating the Hurricanes and serious sanctions are possible.
“Obviously a lot of things going on right now are terrible, more so for the college players,” Bush, the Miami running back, said after the Dolphins beat the Panthers and Newton 20-10 in a preseason match up. “It’s tough when you can take a college player’s career and dream away from him at the snap of a finger. Something needs to be done.”
Bush is no longer recognized as a Heisman winner, losing that privilege after it was determined he and his family accepted improper benefits from would-be sports agents while he played for Southern California. That situation also cost the Trojans their 2004 Bowl Championship Series title.
Newton’s 2010 season at Auburn ended with the school winning its first national title since 1957.
The NCAA ruled his father, Cecil, had sought money from Mississippi State when Newton was being recruited out of junior college. The quarterback signed with Auburn and was deemed eligible after a one-day suspension when the NCAA’s reinstatement staff found he didn’t know about the pay-for-play scheme. He was cleared to play in the SEC and national championship games.
Asked Friday night what Newton would tell Miami quarterback Jacory Harris — one of a dozen current Hurricanes implicated by Shapiro — the No. 1 pick in this year’s NFL draft offered his advice.
“Sky’s the limit for him,” Newton said. “He has made big plays and hopefully he makes some big plays this year.”
The current Hurricanes also include safeties Vaughn Telemaque and Ray Ray Armstrong, receivers Travis Benjamin and Aldarius Johnson, defensive linemen Marcus Forston, Olivier Vernon, Marcus Robinson and Adewale Ojomo, tight end Dyron Dye, defensive back JoJo Nicholas and linebacker Sean Spence — many of whom are expected to play key roles for the team in 2011.
Miami joined a growing list of schools with major football programs to be investigated by the NCAA for rule-breaking in the past 18 months. Others include Ohio State, Oregon, Michigan, North Carolina, Georgia Tech and LSU, and this week, NCAA President Mark Emmert said the Hurricanes’ situation may prove that major changes to the system are needed.
“I don’t have the perfect answer or the right answer for it. But something needs to change,” Bush said. “I don’t know what it is, but hopefully it changes soon, and hopefully it changes for the better.”
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