Today is national signing day in America, for a small percentage of athletes this will be another step towards NFL stardom, for others they will be going pro in something else!
But rather than waste my time and your time trying to project who will have the best signing day (it’s Bama.) Let us take a trip down memory lane and remember why we also love college football.
The scandals, the wonderful, wonderful scandals. Now this list will be the fun scandals, not the Penn State, Declan Sullivan kind, or points at Mike Gundy.
So lets look back at five of the best.
5. Cam Newton Gets Paid
Ah, Auburn the ugly ginger stepsister to Alabama’s Jennifer Lawrence. The last time Auburn were truly relevant was when Bo Jackson was tearing it up. But a stolen Macbook would soon catapult Auburn back into the national title scene.
Cam Newton arrived at Auburn after a year at Blinn College after he transferred from Florida because of the above Macbook drama. After an amazing year at Blinn, Newton was anointed as the No. 1 recruit by Rivals for that year and the only 5-star recruit. It came down to three schools for Newton, Oklahoma, Mississippi State and the Auburn Tigers.
That year Newton was incredible, this can not be overstated. If ever anyone says a single player can’t lift a team in college football I point to this season. If you look at the guys that Newton had with him on the offence he was basically playing with scrubs the entire year. The defence had some players, but Newton carried that offence.
He won the 2010 Heisman, beating out Andrew Luck and LaMichael James. He had over 1,000 yards rushing and he accounted for 50 total TDs in his one year! 30 passing TDs and 20 rushing TDs. He led the Tigers to a BCS title and would eventually go No. 1 overall to the Panthers.
The issue was, he might not have been eligible. Around the midway point of the season, it emerged that Newton’s father Cecil had requested substantial sums of money in order to gain Newton’s signing.
Newton was initially suspended after the NCAA deemed that Cecil Newton had requested between $100,000 and $180,000 for his son to go to Mississippi State. The NCAA conducted this trial at warp speed and decided that Cam did not know about his father asking for money from Mississippi State. They also decided that there was no evidence to show that Cecil had ever asked Auburn for money for Cam to sign there. So Cam got to keep his Heisman and Auburn got to keep the BCS title. But it made the 2010 season one of the most fascinating as waited to find out Cam Newton’s fate.
Notre Dame Hire George O’Leary
This one will send a shiver down the spine of anyone who has ever embellished there Microsoft excel proficiency in an interview.
Notre Dame hired George O’Leary in 2001, taking him away from Georgia Tech where he had achieved a 52-33 record and appeared in five bowl games.
However, when Notre Dame announced his hire, they published his biography which was lifted from his CV. Turns out George had maybe embellished a bit. He claimed that he had lettered at the University of New Hampshire in football when he hadn’t actually played at all. He also claimed he had a masters from NYU-Stonybrook, a university that did not exist. For his dishonesty, he was asked to resign before he even coached a game for the fighting Irish.
Bobby Petrino Falls Off a Motorbike
Bobby Petrino and integrity go together like oil and water. The man who ditched the Falcons at a moments notice and who could have his own top-5 scandals list. But let’s go for this one purely because it gave us this wonderful picture.
Petrino was coaching at Arkansas when, in April of 2012, he was involved in a motorbike accident. He initially claimed that he was on the bike himself however when the police report was about to be made public Petrino admitted that he was in fact riding with someone else at the time.
Old Bobby had been having an affair with Jessica Dorrell and assistant on the football team that Petrino had hired and even given $20,000 to as a Christmas present!
On April 10th Arkansas fired Petrino for essentially bringing the program into disrepute. Poor Bobby lost out on the remainder of his $2.85 million a year contract.
Ohio State Players Get Tattoos
The Ohio State players were getting free tattoo’s from a local shop in exchange for football memorabilia such as championship rings and football awards. The man they were trading these items with was under investigation from the FBI for drug trafficking, but that is neither here nor there, he was probably just offering them a nice refreshing glass of OJ as he tattooed them.
The scandal resulted in the NCAA suspending five players for part of the season. Jim Tressel, the coach at the time, was allegedly informed of these potential violations, however, he did not notify compliance of this. The NCAA view this as a major infraction from Tressel and because of this he resigned from Ohio State.
Manti Te’o And His totally Real Girlfriend
I could try to recap this, but Wikipedia really has this nailed down. It was way too crazy, complete with an emotional ESPN piece in her honour
Anyway I hand you over to Wikipedia:
“Te’o told many media outlets that both his grandmother and his girlfriend had died on September 11, 2012. Te’o said that his girlfriend, Stanford University student Lennay Kekua, had been injured in a car accident, and was discovered during her treatment to have leukemia. Te’o did not miss any football games for Notre Dame, saying that he had promised Kekua he would play even if something had happened to her. Many sports media outlets reported on these tragedies during Te’o’s strong 2012 season and emergence as a Heisman Trophy candidate.
After receiving an anonymous email tip in January 2013, reporters Timothy Burke and Jack Dickey of the sports blog Deadspin conducted an investigation into Kekua’s identity. On January 16, they published an article alleging Kekua did not exist and pointed to a man named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo as involved in the hoax of a relationship with Te’o. Tuiasosopo has been described as a family friend or acquaintance of Te’o. Pictures of Kekua that had been published in the media were actually of Diane O’Meara, a former high school classmate of Tuiasosopo.
On the same day the Deadspin article was published, Notre Dame issued a statement that “Manti had been the victim of what appears to be a hoax in which someone using the fictitious name Lennay Kekua apparently ingratiated herself with Manti and then conspired with others to lead him to believe she had tragically died of leukemia. In a press conference, Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick confirmed the university had hired private investigators to uncover the source of the hoax, and he clarified Te’o’s relationship with Kekua was “exclusively an online relationship”. This conflicted with previous accounts from Te’o and his family that the couple had first met after a football game and she visited him in Hawaii. Swarbrick said Te’o informed Notre Dame of the hoax on December 26 after receiving a phone call on December 6 from the woman he knew as Kekua, claiming she was still alive. Te’o mentioned Kekua’s death in at least four separate interviews in the days following the phone call.
In response to the growing suspicions he was involved in the hoax, Te’o agreed to a January 18 interview with sports journalist Jeremy Schaap in which he maintained his innocence. Te’o explained he had lied to his father and others about meeting her in person because he thought he would be seen as “crazy” for having a serious relationship with a woman he had never met. Te’o said he was angered and confused by the December 6 phone call and had continued to speak of Kekua because the situation was unclear to him. He explained Tuiasosopo represented himself as the cousin of Lennay Kekua and the two men had communicated online over the last several years and met once in person at the 2012 Notre Dame/USC game. Te’o said Tuiasosopo confessed to him on January 16 he was behind the hoax.”
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