College Football

NCAA Closes the 'Cam Newton' Loophole, but That Doesn't Address the Real Issue

WASHINGTON - MARCH 17:  NCAA President Mark Emmert address the media during a press conference before the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Verizon Center on March 17, 2011 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images
Johnathan CaceCorrespondent IJanuary 12, 2012

It only took the NCAA a year to finally close the loophole that allowed Cam Newton to play at Auburn and lead the Tigers to a national championship.

The organization endorsed a proposal on Wednesday which would expand the definition of an agent to third-party influences like family members who directly or indirectly market an athlete for profit as Newton's father tried to do.

If a person is found guilty of doing this, the athlete would then be considered ineligible.

While this is a step in the right direction, the NCAA continues to ignore the real issues surrounding college revenue sports, which are being proactive rather than reactive and fully paying for the cost of a college education.

Per its own website, “The NCAA's core purpose is to govern competition in a fair, safe, equitable and sportsmanlike manner, and to integrate intercollegiate athletics into higher education so that the educational experience of the student-athlete is paramount.”

You may or may not agree with the idea of a pay-for-play system, but taking hundreds of thousands of dollars to play ball at a certain school certainly goes against the fair, equitable and even the sportsmanlike portions of the NCAA’s purpose considering that no athletes should be getting extra benefits.

That said, if the “educational experience of the student-athlete” is truly supposed to be paramount, there is absolutely no logic behind not giving players a weekly stipend for things like groceries and laundry when coaches are making millions of dollars annually.

Perhaps the most important thing the NCAA needs to do is become a proactive entity which is involved in everything a student-athlete does from the start of the recruitment of players.

It’s no secret that kids are getting paid right out of high school to go to certain schools, the only question is which one will get caught next. The same thing can be said about players taking illicit benefits once getting to college.

The NCAA is certainly big enough and makes enough money—it brought in $433 million last year—to at least consider doing investigations into universities and big-time high school programs at random to ensure that people are actively preserving the integrity of the sport.

It could also at least attempt to rectify a bowl system, which is nothing more than a clever guise to get huge amounts of money for executives—as seen in the recent Fiesta Bowl scandal—while forcing schools to front any losses from ticket sales.

By taking money away from the schools, the bowls and consequently the NCAA are directly contributing to the problem rather than the solution.

Closing up one tiny loophole that got magnified in 2010 does next to nothing to solve the real issues at hand. Until the NCAA faces the reality of college sports, student-athletes everywhere will continue to pay the price.

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