MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Auburn football coach Gene Chizik wants fans to remember quarterback Cam Newton for more than the on-the-field exploits that culminated with the Tigers winning a national championship and Newton running away with the Heisman Trophy last season.
And he means that in a good way. Chizik defends this year's No. 1 overall NFL draft pick in his book All In: What It Takes to Be the Best, out July 5. He calls the book "really a story about football, family and faith."
"I think me going to bat for Cameron Newton is something that just in my spirit and my heart, I feel very strongly about," Chizik, a Clearwater native, said Wednesday. "He's a very gifted person and not just as an athlete. He's an amazing kid. He needs to be remembered at Auburn as a great individual as well as a great player."
Newton, drafted by Carolina, was a lightning rod for controversy late in the season as the NCAA investigated a pay-for-play scheme that involved his father, Cecil, during his recruitment at Mississippi State. The NCAA ruled in December that Cam was unaware of his father's dealings.
Chizik declined to discuss the recent recruitment of former North Carolina State quarterback and pro baseball player Russell Wilson. Wilson ended up choosing to spend his final season at Wisconsin.
More Auburn via UF: The Tigers are trying to get freshman running back Mike Blakely, who transferred from Florida this year, eligible for this season rather than having him sit out the usual year. Blakely signed with the Gators in December but never practiced with or played for them, Auburn said. "We have filed a waiver in an attempt to see if we can have Mike be immediately eligible," compliance director Rich McGlynn said.
notre dame: Suspended receiver Michael Floyd pleaded guilty to misdemeanor drunken driving and was sentenced to a year of probation as part of a plea agreement in a March arrest. Floyd, 21, who had two previous incidents involving alcohol, left court in South Bend, Ind., quickly and declined to comment. Coach Brian Kelly suspended Floyd, the team's top receiver last season, after the arrest. Director of football media relations Brian Hardin said Kelly had no comment on the deal. Floyd's attorney, William Stanley, said he didn't know Floyd's status with the team.
BCS: Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said he has begun selecting a legal team to investigate and possibly sue the Bowl Championship Series over what he calls "serious antitrust violations" in the system.
UF track athlete arrested: Junior distance runner Dumisane Hlaselo was dismissed from the Florida team after he was arrested Tuesday on sexual battery charges. Hlaselo of South Africa is accused of raping his roommate's friend this month, a Gainesville Police Department report says. He was being held in the Alachua County Jail on $100,000 bond. The woman said she fell asleep at a house shared by Hlaselo and her friend, and when she awoke, she was being assaulted, the report says. Hlaselo, 22, told police the woman was semiconscious when he had sex with her without her consent, the report says. Athletic officials said in a statement they were aware of the "deeply disturbing" charges."
Times staff writer Antonya English contributed to this report.