Heisman Trophy favorite Cam Newton said he was disappointed that his father will not attend the ceremony tonight in New York, amid allegations that he tried to arrange a play-for-pay scheme to get his son to play at Mississippi State.
"It hurts, but that's a decision that he made," the star quartervack from Auburn said.
Newton has stayed an overwhelming favorite to win the Heisman, even though he played much of the season's final month with a scandal developing around him.
The week before the Southeastern Conference championship, the NCAA made the announcement about Cecil Newton's alleged plan, but said there was no evidence his son or Auburn knew about it. The NCAA decided Cam Newton would be allowed to play, but his father's access to Auburn athletics would be limited. The sports governing body left open the possibility that Cam Newton's status could change if new evidence came to light.
Cam Newton said his mother, Jackie, and two brothers will be at the ceremony and he plans to speak with his father by phone soon after it is over.
"It hurts, but that's a decision that he made," Cam Newton said.
The 6-6, 250-pound junior has been the most dominant player in college football this year. He leads the Southeastern Conference in rushing, leads the nation in passer rating and has accounted for 50 touchdowns while guiding the top-ranked Tigers (13-0) to a spot in the BCS national title game. Auburn will play No. 2 Oregon in Glendale, Ariz., on Jan. 10.
The other candidates are Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, Oregon running back LaMichael James and Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore.
James has said he'd vote for Newton to win the award and Moore said the same.
"I don't expect to win, no," he said. "Certainly, Cam is deserving of this."
If Luck, the Stanford quarterback, finishes second, it'll mark the first time two different players from the same team were runners-up in consecutive seasons since Purdue in 1968-69. Former Cardinal running back Toby Gerhart finished second to Alabama's Mark Ingram last year.
O.J. Simpson of Southern California beat out Purdue's Leroy Keyes in 1968 and Oklahoma's Steve Owens topped Purdue's Mike Phipps in 1969.
* The University of Hawaii will joining the Mountain West Conference for football in 2012 and the Big West in other sports, abandoning the Western Athletic Conference after 32 years.
* Kentucky quarterback Mike Hartline pleaded not guilty to charges of disorderly conduct and alcohol intoxication charges after being arrested early yesterday morning after a disturbance.
* Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said he is not getting ready to interview for the University of Miami's head-coaching job. The Hurricanes fired Randy Shannon on Nov. 28.
In a game last night:
* At Delaware, Pat Devlin completed 27 of his 38 passes for 261 yards and two scores and the Blue Hens defeated the University of New Hampshire, 16-3, to advance to the Football Championship Series semifinals.
The teams traded field goals in the first half.
Devlin connected on a 24-yard scoring pass to Nihja White midway through the third quarter for his first score, then hit Mark Schenauer with a 9-yarder early in the fourth quarter.
Delaware (11-2) will host the winner of today's Georgia Southern-Wofford game next Friday night. *