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November 9, 2010

UF Sources: Nothing reported to us

FoxSports.com writer Thayer Evans published a story today alleging Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton "had three different instances of academic cheating while attending the University of Florida."

According to Evans, "Newton was to appear for a hearing in front of Florida's Student Conduct Committee during the spring semester of 2009 but instead transferred to Blinn College. The committee could have levied sanctions against Newton that included suspension and expulsion from the university."

The story follows several days of editorial attacks on Newton by Evans, a former stringer for the New York Times.

Two independent sources with detailed knowledge of the UF academic discipline system during the period in question have disputed the Evans story. According to the sources, no allegations of academic impropriety regarding Cam Newton were sent to the Florida Student Conduct Committee at any time either during or after Newton's time at UF.

"Nothing was reported, officially or unofficially" says one source, who did not wish to be identified. "The formal process is for allegations to go through the Student Conduct Committee. If [any allegations against Newton] didn't follow that process, then they didn't follow the rules."

Newton enrolled at Florida in the spring of 2007 and transferred to Blinn College in January of 2009.

Per the source, no charges against Newton were ever brought to the Student Conduct Committee during that time.

The source also indicated that no Florida football players have ever been officially reported to the UF Student Conduct Committee for academic violations during Urban Meyer's tenure.

According to the source, student arrests are subject to additional discipline via the Student Conduct Committee, but it is not uncommon for students in such situations "to cut a deal with the Dean of Students' office before coming to the Committee."

At the time of Newton's enrollment at UF, if attempts to informally settle academic disputes failed, academic violations issues were referred from the Dean of Students office to the Student Conduct Committee, where a hearing chaired by a member of the UF Honor Board would be conducted.

No charges against Newton, to the first source's knowledge, were ever sent to the UF Student Conduct Committee.

A second, independently verified source, also with detailed knowledge of the Florida student disciplinary system, took issue with Evans' assertion that Newton, had he actually been charged with academic misconduct, would have been in danger of expulsion. "I worked ten or twelve cases," the second source says, "and I never saw anyone get expelled."

The second source, who also declined to be identified, also says no charges regarding Newton were ever brought to the Student Conduct Committee, noting, "If Cameron Newton would have come before the committee, we would have known about it."

The second source also expressed indignation over the possible leak of student information to the media.

"That is completely confidential. We're not allowed to say anything to anyone.

"The person that was in charge of [students'] academic records is a very ethical person. Someone like him would never have released anything."


Justin Hokanson contributed to this report.




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