This essay NCAA clears AU; investigation into former players, Newton turned up no has a total of 805 words and 4 pages.
AUBURN -- Not a shred of toilet pa?per adorned the oak trees at Toomer's Corner on Wednesday, but there were cheers throughout the Auburn University campus.
The NCAA has cleared the Tigers' football team of major violations.
A 13-month investigation into a bevy of allegations involving several former players -- most notably quarterback Cam Newton -- turned up no evidence of sig?nificant wrongdoing, the NCAA said in a statement.
"I feel very confident about the way we run this program and I've said many times that we haven't done anything wrong," Auburn coach Gene Chizik said. "I'm glad that it's out public. Anybody that had any questions, now you can put that to bed."
Chizik said he would like to see a fast?er process for schools facing an investi?gation.
"Obviously, for anybody who is under those same set of circumstances, the quicker the better," Chizik said. "I appre?ciate the NCAA coming out and making the statement that they have concluded the investigation.
"The time frame obviously for anybody the quicker the better, but they did their due diligence and this is where we ended up. Like I said, I moved on along time ago."
The NCAA began its in?vestigation last year after re?ceiving information suggest?ing Cecil Newton, the quarterback's father, had shopped his son's services to Mississippi State for a re?ported sum of $180,000.
Soliciting money is against NCAA bylaws and Auburn self-reported the violation on Nov. 30, 2010, which in?cluded an assertion that Cam Newton and Auburn repre?sentatives weren't aware of the solicitation.
The school immediately declared Newton ineligible and appealed for reinstate?ment. The NCAA reinstated Newton a day later.
Newton went on to win the Heisman Trophy as the na?tion's most outstanding play?er and led the Tigers to the 2010 national championship. He was the first overall pick in the NFL Draft earlier this year and became the Caroli?na Panthers' opening-day starter.
He maintained his inno?cence throughout the pro?cess and kept with that stance Wednesday when told of the NCAA's report, which clearly exonerated Newton.
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"I could have told you that," Newton told the Char?lotte Observer as he left the Panthers' practice facility.
When asked for an addi?tional comment, Newton said: "No, let's let old wounds heal."
Newton's agent Carlos Fleming told USA Today that Newton did not have any oth?er immediate comment but they are considering releas?ing a formal statement to?day.
Additional allegations against the Tigers surfaced in March when four former players told HBO's "Real Sports" that they had re?ceived money from boosters before and during their time on the Plains.
Raven Gray, Chaz Ram?sey, Troy Reddick and Stan?ley McClover made the claims.
The NCAA said Gray, a native of Enterprise, cooper?ated with the investigation. Still, NCAA officials found that Gray's "allegations could not be substantiated and in some instances were disputed by others."
Ramsey, Reddick and McClover declined to coop?erate with the NCAA, which can't legally compel witness?es to provide information.
"We've done all we can do. We've done all the inter?views, we've looked into ev?erything and there's nothing there," NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn said. "Unless something new comes to light that'scredible and we need to look at, it's con?cluded."
The NCAA's findings are likely to be felt throughout the recruiting world, where Auburn has flourished in re?cent years. Rival coaches haveattempted to use the specter of NCAA violations -- and the possibilityof pun?ishment -- to sway prospects away from Auburn.
Chizik and assistant coach Jay Boulware said Wednes?day that they haven't lost any recruits because of NCAA worries, but one recruiting expert believes Wednesday's developments will do nothing but help the Tigers.
"There definitely were some questions floating around about if Auburn might get in trouble or what?ever, but this clears all that up," said Keith Niebuhr, who covers Southeast recruiting for Rivals.com. "Auburn doesn't really need much help (on the recruiting trail) because they've been very good lately, but this won't be a bad thing. It's one less thing someone else can use against them."
Chizik didn't feel a need for he or the program to be exonerated.
"I don't really live my life that way," Chizik said. "As I've said many times I feel really, really good at night when I go to sleep about the way we run this program and we'll continue to run it the right way.
"I can't say it enough, and again, I feel good about the way we run the program and literally I've moved on from this just a long time ago.
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