Open Mic: What's Wrong With Amateur Sports?

Adam LindemerSenior Analyst IMay 14, 2008

Everybody else is writing about this whole problem with amateur sports, so I'm gonna throw my two cents in as well.

This isn't a new problem that's occurring; things like the OJ Mayo, Reggie Bush, Kelvin Sampson, even Michigan b-ball in the early '90's. These situations have been happening for a while. People were just smart enough not to get caught in the past.

For all those who think that movies don't relate to real life, take a look at these four.

Johnny Be Good: A hot young high school football player is recruited nationwide, some universities even send him gifts to get his commitment. But in the long run, he decides to to go to a home-state school and play.

He Got Game: The best HS basketball player in the land has to decide whether to go to college or the NBA. Agents were hounding him left and right trying to offer him free stuff in turn for Jesus Shuttlesworth to sign with them. He's also given the chance to free his father from prison by going to an in-state school. Bribery all over the place.

The Program: A university football program trying to get back on the winning track. Within the movie, we see that players are given money from boosters for good play. Also, the star LB has been getting free-rides in classes and can't even read as a 21-year old. There is also a steroid problem with one player because he feels he was too small (on SP 3-yrs) and bulked to a huge DE.

Blue Chips: The one that mostly relates to all of this. A college basketball program was good in years past as has been losing recently because they can't recruit the top players anymore because other schools are giving them money to play elsewhere. The school doesn't want to cheat but they have no choice because it's all about winning now. They give money, a tractor, a new house, and a car to the recruits. The coach immediately regrets it. If you haven't seen the movie, listen to Nick Nolte's speech at the end (truly one of my favorites) which sums it all up.

Since it's all about winning, all the schools care about is trying to get the best players by any means possible in order to win a championship.

If you think that college sports programs are 100% squeaky clean, then you need to wake up and just take a look around. This needs to stop...NOW.

You hear the argument of 'who's gonna turn down free money?' Well, the smart ones have to. They know that it could cause problems done the line if they're caught, and they will be caught.

In high school and college, if you play a sport, you are a STUDENT-athlete. Notice the first part of this, a student. I don't care how good you are, your #1 job at these levels are to study and go to classes and then focus on your game.

Some players don't realize that they were given a superb gift of being a great athlete, which many others can only dream about. You can't allow yourself to throw it away by getting mixed up with the wrong people who say that they are 'trying to help you.'

I understand that with these athletes playing well in turn brings money into the university's hands.  The athletes don't see any of it. There's a reason for that...THEY'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO.

What these kids need to do is just say 'No'. Sounds cliche I know, but that's really all they can do. I'm sure they know that they are going to be hounded simply because they play whatever sport so well. They may think that they are helping themselves or their family, but it's actually the opposite.

Once you're caught, you bring unwanted attention to all of those around you. And yes, there is such a thing as bad publicity.

So, the solution to this problem doesn't rest on the coaches or agents because they aren't going to stop pursuing top athletes. The students are the ones that have to put an end to this problem. If they are good as everyone says, then the money will be there; just wait until you get to the pros and EARN it legitimately.