Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The curious case of academic fraud and felony burglary

 You’ll want to scroll down for an update.

ScamLapTop We know one thing is true—the Never to Yield Foundation takes himself seriously. It’s too bad he doesn’t take the facts very seriously.

In a dismissive diatribe yesterday, our friend attempts to exonerate Cam Newton of both the allegations that he committed multiple instances of academic fraud while enrolled at the University of Florida and later burglarized a fellow student’s dorm room, stealing a $1,700 laptop and attempting to deceive investigators by tossing the stolen property out of his window after police officers had already discovered him in possession of it.

Let’s reexamine the allegations and the facts of the two cases. Note well that this wouldn’t even be a topic of discussion today had the self-aggrandizing NTYF resisted the urge to sugarcoat Newton’s misdeeds as a story of “inspiration to other youngsters.” Good Lord, if this is how we’re raising our kids, the future of our society is a bleak one.

ACADEMIC FRAUD

On November 9, 2010, Fox Sports’ Senior College Football writer Thayer Evans reported that the former Florida Quarterback had three different instances of academic fraud while at Gainesville and faced disciplinary action that could have included suspension or expulsion. Evans reported that Newton cheated in a class during his Freshman year, his very first academic year on campus. Evans reported that Newton violated the university’s honor code a second time by putting his name on another student’s paper and turning it in as his own.The deed was allegedly discovered when the course instructor asked the other student why he had not yet turned in his own work

When the other student replied that he had turned in a paper, he and the course instructor examined all of the class’ submissions and found that Newton had put his name on the other student’s paper. When confronted with this, Newton turned in a different paper to the instructor. The second paper was found to have been purchased on the internet, according to Evans’ report.

NTYF cites a CBSSports.com blog entry from Adam Jacobi in a weak attempt to discredit Evans’ story. But what NTYF doesn’t tell you is that Jacobi cites a report from AuburnSports.com, in which the writer cites unnamed sources challenging whether Newton’s case came before the Student Conduct Committee at Florida. This is the only aspect of Evans’ reporting called into question by the AuburnSports story.  None of the fundamental allegations—that Newton cheated in a Freshman class and attempted to pawn off someone else’s work as his own—were ever addressed by either CBSSports or AuburnSports.

By the way, that is the same Rivals site that pulled the Brent Calloway recruitment story out of its arse last April, alleging improper benefits and again citing its own unnamed sources. AuburnSports.com must have one helluva crack investigative team if it has “sources close to” both the University of Florida’s academic affairs and the University of Alabama’s recruiting activities. I’m not going to tell you who to believe in this dispute, but if a third party were to weigh the credentials of these two media organizations, which do you think they’d find to be the most objective and therefore most credible? Again, you believe who you want to believe.

FELONY BURGLARY, LARCENY AND OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE

imageThere was a computer and I took it… threw it out the window.  Huh? Cuz they about to search my room!”

On Friday, November 28, 2008, the Gainesville Sun reported that Florida Quarterback Cam Newton had been arrested and charged with felony counts of burglary, larceny and obstruction of justice.

According to the 16 page police report, a University of Florida student called authorities to report that his laptop had been stolen from his unlocked dorm room as he visited with friends next door. Acting on a tip from that student, investigators on the morning of November 21 asked Cam Newton for permission to enter his dorm room, which he granted. The officers entered and observed a laptop similar in make and model to the one reported stolen, but which had none of the markings described by the owner and which had a serial number with one digit different from the stolen one.

Investigators determined later that day that the reported serial number was in error and that the serial numbers were indeed the same. Detectives returned to Newton’s dorm room later on the same date and again asked for permission to search. Newton complied again, only this time the detectives could not locate the stolen computer.

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The NTYF tirade doesn’t go into such pesky things like the facts of the case as alleged by the team of police officers who investigated the theft, observed the evidence and arrested the perp.  Nope. This was all merely “an error of youth and arrogance.” The smoking gun is the incriminating evidence described in this section of the police report:

image Cam Newton was charged with felony burglary because police officers overheard him copping to taking the computer. They charged him with felony larceny because he was observed in possession of the property reported stolen by a fellow student, and they charged him with obstruction of justice because when he realized that he was about to be nabbed, he tried to get rid of the evidence. Kind of like a drug dealer tossing bags of white powder out of the car window while being pursued by authorities.

Urban Meyer, then the Florida Gators Head Coach, suspended Newton immediately following his arrest. In Spring 2009, Newton pled guilty to a lesser charge and avoided jail. He decided to transfer to a community college in Blinn Texas, but in Evans’ story from November 9, Newton may not even have been enrolled at Florida for the Spring Semester when he decided to transfer. You don’t get that little nugget from the NTYF diatribe, either.

Once again, none of this old news would even be a topic for discussion today if the grassroots organization of one hadn’t attempted to whitewash these events and somehow paint their recounting as part of some evil conspiracy against teh fambly. Evans’ story reports specific and credible allegations of academic cheating, and the only account to the contrary challenges only part of Evans’ report. The official police report on the laptop heist records specific details and describes a thief who was caught red-handed and charged with three felonies.

Facts are such pesky little Energy Vampires, aren’t they? They suck the credibility right out of even the most carefully crafted line of bullshit.

UPDATE: Several folks have emailed and messaged me asking where the picture of the laptop came from.  Here’s the link to the Deadspin story that first published the source pic. I farked the $ onto the original and added “I Bleed Crimson Red” to the image to protect my farktastic photoshop skills.

Deadspin:


We were sent these photos, including the computer and the Florida PD's property label, claiming that we could verify them by the serial number. Sure enough, it matches what's listed in the police report. But we went to Paul Loschak, the former UF student that Newton stole it from, to make sure.

It's "100 percent definitely the laptop," Loschak told us. But we were curious about Newton's name, painted in large white block letters.

When I first bought my laptop, I painted a picture of a forest and a river on the back. I did it partly because I was bored, and partly because I wanted my laptop to have some major identifying features in case it ever got stolen. After my laptop was stolen in October 2008 Cam (or somebody) painted it black to cover my painting and painted his name on it in big white letters, just like you see in the pictures. That's exactly how the laptop looked when I got it back from the police evidence department.

That's just excellent. It's one thing to cover up identifying features on property you've stolen. It's another to put your own damn name on it, as if the international law of Finders Keepers would be in play.

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