In a June 1, 2011, article by Jon Solomon in The Birmingham News, Southeastern Conference (SEC) commissioner Mike Slive said “’minor changes’ will be made in how the conference reports accusations of NCAA violations to the national office”. According to Solomon, in response to the ongoing investigation of alleged rules-violations involving former Auburn University football student-athlete Cam Newton, the “NCAA has talked with the SEC and other major conferences about creating a more uniform process of informing college sports’ governing body of possible violations”. The article noted “months passed in the Newton situation last year without action”. Specifically, the article reported Mississippi State University “informed the SEC of concerns about Newton’s recruitment in January 2010” and the conference “claimed it asked for more information, but it didn’t arrive until July because of a heavy workload in Mississippi State’s compliance department”. The NCAA student-athlete reinstatement staff subsequently “ruled that Newton’s father and an owner of a scouting service collaborated on a pay-for-play scenario to get Newton to Mississippi State” but “didn’t have sufficient evidence that Auburn or Cam Newton knew of the plan”. Thus, Newton’s eligibility was reinstated for the SEC Championship Game.
The Michael L. Buckner Law Firm recommends institutions implement internal investigation policies and procedures that ensure alleged rules-violations are investigated and self-reported to the conference and NCAA on a timely basis.