Cam Newton leads Auburn student section

There are louder crowds and better teams nationally, but only one college basketball program features an NFL quarterback in its student section.

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is back at Auburn taking classes this offseason and, apparently, partaking in activities like any other college student – the 2011 NFL Rookie of the Year soaked in Wednesday’s Auburn-Alabama basketball game not from a suite or courtside seats, but in the student section. He had a megaphone, too. And he used it.

Cameras caught Newton in one of his trademark sweaters and a Yankees hat supporting his Tigers through a megaphone and clowning with other supporters sitting in front of the student section.

“Was Cam here tonight?” Auburn head coach Tony Barbee asked. “I wish I knew he was here. I would have put him in the game. He still has some eligibility left.

Of course, like the visible star that he is, Newton eventually took his seat closer to the court and led the crowd in some cheers on-court. He remains one of the Tigers’ favorite sons after capturing the 2010 Heisman Trophy and leading the program to its first BCS National Championship.

Auburn won the rivalry game, 49-37, and improved its season record to 9-13.

Newton majored in sociology during his one season on The Plains. Auburn’s athletic department released a statement last month saying the quarterback is focused on his classwork and trying to be a normal college student.

Judging by the looks of it Wednesday night, he’s succeeding.