College amateurism—this novel idea has been an oxymoron since its inception and it has never been more apparent than in today’s fast-paced, got-to-get it now world.
Case in point: O.J. Mayo. A kid who admittedly didn’t have a cell phone before starting college now comes to school with a plasma television. A kid from a poor background now has the flash that you normally expect from an L.A. professional athlete.
And USC and the NCAA expect us to believe in college amateurism.
But, I don’t blame O.J. Mayo in this case. The current college basketball system is terrible. The one and done athletes give a bad name to their institution, academic integrity, and school pride. Their college choices are not chosen based on academic standards, but by a future pay check.
Mayo and his associates have allegedly been paid since Mayo was in the ninth grade. If pimping prostitutes on the street is illegal, then pimping ninth graders for their basketball skill should be child abuse.
Kentucky recently got a commitment from an eighth grader; do you think he hasn’t been contacted by an agent at this point?
I don’t believe college athletes should be paid. That’s what scholarships are for, but something has to be done so that college athletes do not become hired assassins while still in school.
The one and done rule must go. If a man wants to, and can, provide a living for himself and his family, let him; we don’t need professional athletes playing amateur ball.
The NCAA also needs to limit giving out scholarships until an appropriate age—like maybe the 11th grade. Kids have enough pressure on them without being singled out early and being subjected to the stress that may come of it.
Again, I don’t blame O.J. for this. I blame the slick agents that are promising dreams and the NCAA for allowing it while setting their own agenda.
Keep the cash out of college and keep my favorite pastime clean before it’s too late.