Better Plug Your Nose For This One

Natural gas leak? Dead raccoon in the attic? Roomate hasn’t showered in a month? No, that stench that’s making your eyes water is the NCAA’s decision regarding Cam Newton’s eligibility. Let us count the ways in which it stinks:

— By determining that Newton’s father pursued a pay-for-play situation for his son but that Cam knew nothing about it, the NCAA stretches the limits of credibility. Really? Cam knew nothing about it? Really?

—Whether or not Newton was aware of the ploy, the NCAA has ignored its own regulations. Like the one that prohibits, “any special arrangement by an institutional employee or a representative of the institution’s athletics interests to provide a student-athlete or the student-athlete’s relative or friend a benefit not expressly authorized by NCAA legislation.”

— How could Newton be deemed eligible when Reggie Bush was rendered persona non grata for basically the same thing? That’s what USC athletic director Pat Haden would like to know.

— And finally, the most important piece of the fallout: The NCAA has carved a huge loophole in its bylaws. Now, every parent, uncle and friend can shop an athlete around without repercussion. You can read more about that here.

From the football fan’s perspective, the NCAA’s decision is ideal. We want Auburn and Oregon to win Saturday, setting up a national-title game between two unbeaten teams from major conferences. We want a title game that might feature the top two finishers in the Heisman balloting. We want a title game featuring two explosive and entertaining offenses.

But Wednesday’s decision stinks to high heaven.

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