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Why Is the FBI Interested in Recruitment of College Football Star?

By       Message Roger Shuler     Permalink
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Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer

President Barack Obama has taken a "look forward, not backwards" approach to possible crimes of the George W. Bush administration. But the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) is involved in an investigation surrounding the nation's premier college football player.

Yes, the same DOJ that has ignored the activities of Karl Rove, Dick Cheney and Co. is examining the recruitment of Cam Newton, Auburn University's star quarterback and the front runner for this year's Heisman Trophy.

If that sounds nuts to you, it means you have a functioning brain and conscience. If the Obama administration does not realize that it seems nuts . . . well, that might largely explain why the president's party took a thrashing in the midterm elections.

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Thanks to his absurd "look forward, not backwards" statement, Obama has signaled that he is not serious about justice issues from day one. With word that the FBI is involved in the Cam Newton investigation, the Obama DOJ is in danger of moving into joke territory.

Who is Cam Newton? If you have to ask that question, you don't follow college football--and you clearly do not live in Alabama, my home base. The National Football League is littered with outstanding players who came from Alabama universities. But Newton might be the most dynamic player to come through the Heart of Dixie since Bo Jackson.

With dazzling running and throwing skills packed into a 6-6, 250-pound frame, Newton has led Auburn to an undefeated season and No. 2 national ranking. But stories started popping up last week about money being involved in Newton's recruitment. And now, we learn that the FBI has interviewed at least one key player in the Newton story, according to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger.

How did Cam Newton go from football hero to major character in a story that might have criminal implications? It started when a couple of individuals with ties to Mississippi State University said Cecil Newton, Cam's father, was shopping his son's services. Some reports have indicated that Cecil Newton wanted "more than a scholarship" in exchange for Cam's wondrous quarterbacking skills. Figures in the range of $150,000 to $200,000 have been cited.

Newton did not sign with Mississippi State, so the question lingers: What did Auburn, MSU's rival in the Southeastern Conference, do to satisfy Cecil Newton? So far, reports indicate that neither Auburn nor Cam Newton have done anything wrong--and the quarterback continues to shine. But if it is determined that Cecil Newton's actions made Cam ineligible, a shining Auburn season could go up in flames.

All of this is compelling, especially here in football-mad Alabama. But why is the FBI involved? These are matters normally left to the NCAA, which governs college athletics.

The Cam Newton story provides more evidence that the Obama DOJ is rudderless. Consider some of the issues from the George W. Bush years that the DOJ has deemed not worthy of attention:

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* Torture

* Warrantless wiretapping

* Political prosecutions

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I live in Birmingham, Alabama, and work in higher education. I became interested in justice-related issues after experiencing gross judicial corruption in Alabama state courts. This corruption has a strong political component. The corrupt judges are (more...)

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