The late hour of the Cam Newton investigation story's surfacing Thursday night didn't stop the discussion, keeping about half the SEC awake and the message boards humming. Here's a roundup of Mississippi State, Auburn, Alabama, and other SEC fan reactions in the wake of this potential blockbuster story.
SB Nation's Mississippi State community, For Whom The Cowbell Tolls, sifts through the various rumors and facts surrounding the Newton family and wonders why we're just now hearing about all this:
Why did the SEC sit on this story for a year? John Bond reported all of this in September 2009 but the SEC didn't notify Auburn until July 2010. Why the long wait?
SB Nation's Roll Bama Roll plays it cool in anticipation of a storyline that could make or break this year's Iron Bowl:
Now, stating the obvious, this could be a huge story of Albert Means / Reggie Bush proportions. In all fairness, though, it could be all a bunch of hot air and half-baked allegations. We'll see in due time, so no use rushing to anything now. If this story is legitimate and if there indeed was a pay-for-play scheme, then I'm sure all of it will come to light in due time. If not, it'll rightly become a moot point.
SB Nation's Team Speed Kills makes the rare plea for caution and impartiality in the SEC community:
Finally -- no, the ESPN story was not a hit piece. Yes, Mark Schlabach went to Georgia. [...] Not that it should matter where Schlabach or anyone else went to school, because the vast majority of journalists I've known honestly do try to keep their personal biases out of the reporting they do. Whether you believe that is up to you, of course, and there is a deeply-ingrained "kill the messenger" response whenever a story like this is reported. But the best way to undermine a story is to prove that someone got the facts wrong regardless of their college; no one has done so in this case, so until they do we're going to assume that ESPN got what they reported right. That means that the allegations and the investigation are out there.
And SB Nation's Track 'Em Tigers has a discussion going for fans of the team most affected by all this, comforting itself with the simple starkness of Auburn officials' statements:
Auburn assistant athletic director and media relations Kirk Sampson said "We have been made aware of the allegation. Unfortunately, we cannot comment at this time." "However, Cam Newton is eligible to play football at Auburn."