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AUBURN, AL - OCTOBER 23: Cam Newton #2 of the Auburn Tigers looks to pass against the LSU Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on October 23, 2010 in Auburn, Alabama. Auburn defeated LSU 24-17. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Auburn's star quarterback Cam Newton just had a huge weight removed from his shoulders on the eve of the team's biggest game of the season.
The NCAA ruled that the Heisman Trophy candidate would be eligible to play in the SEC title game this Saturday, one day after the sport's governing body found that a violation of his amateur status had occurred due to actions taken by his father, reports ESPN.
On November 30, Newton was ruled ineligible, but Auburn appealed the decision and he was cleared to resume play without conditions.
"Based on the information available to the reinstatement staff at this time, we do not have sufficient evidence that Cam Newton or anyone from Auburn was aware of this activity, which led to his reinstatement," said NCAA vice president for academic and membership affairs, Kevin Lennon, in a statement. "From a student-athlete reinstatement perspective, Auburn University met its obligation...under this threshold, the student-athlete has not participated while ineligible."
Auburn coach Gene Chizik said he's just getting his team ready to play No. 18 South Carolina this weekend. Should the Tigers win, they'll play in the BCS National Title game in January.
"I'm glad to get all that behind us because we're focusing on one thing and that's winning the game in Atlanta," Chizik said.
However it's not all good news for the Tigers and their star player. Cecil Newton was found to have engaged in a pay to play scheme in which he requested money in return for his son to play at a given school. He reportedly asked for between $100,000 and $180,000 for his son to go to Mississippi State, which was Cam's first choice of school.
Auburn has taken steps to limit Cecil Newton's access to their football program and Kenny Rogers, the scouting service owner who had connections to Mississippi State and was implicated in the scandal, has been dissociated from the school.