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NCAA clears Auburn in Newton recruitment

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The NCAA said it found no major violations committed by Auburn regarding Cam Newton or other pay-for-play allegations and has concluded its investigations of the football program.

The NCAA released a statement Wednesday saying it has closed its 13-month investigation into Auburn's recruitment of the quarterback, whose father shopped his services to another school for up to $180,000.

The investigation hovered over the program during the Tigers' national title run.

The NCAA also cleared Auburn in allegations by four former players that they received payments during their recruitment or careers.

The NCAA notified Auburn of the decision Tuesday in a letter from associate director of enforcement Jackie A. Thurnes.

"I've said many times that we haven't done anything wrong, so quite frankly I moved on a long time ago," coach Gene Chizik said.

Thurnes said NCAA enforcement staff and the university conducted more than 50 interviews into whether Newton was paid to sign with Auburn and examined documents including bank records, tax filings and phone and e-mail records.

The NCAA agreed with Auburn's self-report from Nov. 30, 2010, that Cecil Newton and the owner of a scouting service, Kenny Rogers, shopped Cam Newton's services to Mississippi State out of junior college, but that there was no evidence the player or Auburn knew about it.

FAU to eye Leavitt, Shannon

BOCA RATON — Florida Atlantic's athletic director says his list of possible candidates to succeed coach Howard Schnellenberger includes former USF coach Jim Leavitt, former Miami coach Randy Shannon and former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach.

Leavitt is now the linebackers coach for the San Francisco 49ers.

Schnellenberger, 77, plans to retire after this season, and AD Craig Angelos said he will make a hire near the end of the season.

Big East wanted high exit fee

While the proposal didn't get the required votes needed to pass, the Big East presidents sought to increase the withdrawal fee for a football member to the range of $12 million to $15 million, a considerable raise from the current $5 million.

According to an e-mail from commissioner John Marinatto to university presidents, the agenda for the Oct. 2 meeting asked schools to consider raising the exit fee to the greater of $5 million or "150 percent of gross revenues (from the conference) during the final fiscal year in which the withdrawing member is a member of the conference." The e-mail was released to the St. Petersburg Times as part of a public records request.

The proposal also would've required an exiting school to make an immediate payment of $3 million toward that exit fee "upon the first delivery of the withdrawal notice to the commissioner," with the remainder due by the effective date of the withdrawal.

Nebraska: Senior Jared Crick, a two-time first-team All-Big 12 defensive tackle, is out for the season with a torn chest muscle.

UF, Donovan near extension

GAINESVILLE — Florida is close to finalizing a contract extension for basketball coach Billy Donovan that would keep him through the 2015-16 season. Donovan, about to begin his 16th season, currently earns about $3.5 million annually. "It's in the best interest of our program to keep him here for a long time," AD Jeremy Foley said.

Coach K likes expansion: Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski supports the ACC's growth to 14 teams and beyond. "I don't know if I'm in the minority, majority," he said, " … but (it) seems to me that if you're going to go 14, then you should go 16."

Valparaiso: Former basketball coach Homer Drew, 67, and his wife, Janet, were recently diagnosed with cancer, the school confirmed. No other details were given.

Men's soccer: USF (8-2-2, 3-0-1 Big East), ranked No. 11 in the coaches' poll, got early goals from Wesley Charpie and Dom Dwyer to beat visiting DePaul 2-0.

Times staff writers Antonya English and Greg Auman contributed to this report.

NCAA clears Auburn in Newton recruitment 10/12/11 [Last modified: Thursday, October 13, 2011 12:57am]
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