OJ Mayo and His Money: Cleaning up College Athletics

Matt TitmanCorrespondent IMay 12, 2008

So it comes out.

OJ Mayo has apparently been receiving money and gifts from his trusted mentor since his high school years.

Yet one question remains: Is anyone really that surprised?

Amateur sports are some of the most beautiful things in sports nowadays. In a world awash with sneaker deals, multi-year, multi-many-million dollar contracts, seeing amateur sports with athletes playing only for the love of the game is refreshing. The NBA playoffs may be nice, but I'll take March Madness anyday. Hell, I'd rather watch the play-in game than Game 2 of the Spurs-Hornets.

But yet, occasionally the game is ruined. Chris Webber may have been one of the best players in Michigan history—barring that silly timeout call—but he has no stats to prove it, as they were erased when it came out that he received money from boosters.

If OJ did receive gifts deemed illegal by the NCAA, it sheds yet another dark light on the pro/college debate in basketball. As Dicky V stated tonight in an interview, why not just let the kids who want the money go straight into the draft? Forcing one year of college on the kids really does nothing for their lives, as they know exactly what they're going to do after that year. 

David Stern needs to take a good, hard look at the system. If people legitimately want to come to college to experience life on their own while playing the sport they love, then let them. If not, and they want to go pro, let them do that. Don't force these silly rules upon athletes with the talent to be professionals. 

Side note: I don't support any other ACC team besides the Terpies and whoever's playing Duke in basketball, but congrats to Buster Posey of Florida State baseball for playing all nine positions AND cranking a grand slam. This is the kind of amateur sport I want to see, athletes playing for the glory of their schools and possibly a pro deal after school.