With the recent sanctions of Southern Cal, the current investigation of North Carolina, and the possible investigation of Florida, I think it’s safe to say that the current rules regarding players taking money from agents, boosters, or anyone else aren't working.
I don't agree with the rules regarding players taking money because I feel that the NCAA fosters an environment that makes players want to take money.
How is it fair that the NCAA, universities, university presidents, athletic directors, and coaches can make money but the people who are the most responsible for generating that money, the players, can't take a cent?
The NCAA would argue that college football is an amateur sport. But let's be serious. College football is big business and that's how the NCAA runs it. The NCAA cares about making the most money possible. That's why we have the BCS. The NCAA is more worried about making money than crowning a true national champion.
I have a problem with everyone except the players getting paid. So when a player gets offered some money and sees everyone around them getting paid, why should he turn it down?
Maybe if the NCAA paid players it wouldn't be such a problem.
One also has to look at how punishment is handed out when these matters occur.
Often the NCAA can't punish the player who took money because, most of the time, the player that took money has moved on and doesn't attend the school anymore.
The NCAA just hit USC with sanctions stemming from the Reggie Bush scandal. The sanctions included a bowl ban of two years. There's one big problem with that. Bush left USC for the NFL years ago. Bush's coach, Pete Carroll, left last season to become coach of the Seattle Seahawks. The NCAA can't touch both of them. Instead, the NCAA punishes a bunch of players that had nothing to do with Bush taking money.
Since a lot of these scandals are discovered after a player leaves, there is no incentive for the player to not take money.
What about the coaches? As I said earlier, Pete Carroll is in the NFL, so the NCAA can't touch him. But say Carroll flames out with the Seahawks and comes back to coach college football; he won't even have any kind of restriction placed upon him.
Maybe the NCAA should look into fining coaches for this kind of violation. If the coaches are expected to be responsible for making sure players comply with NCAA rules, then they should get some kind of direct punishments when their players step out of line.
I find it hard to believe that college football coaches can police all of their players all the time, but I do believe there have been situations where coaches have known something and looked the other way.
The NCAA needs to stop punishing players for things that former players did years ago. How fair is it that current USC quarterback Matt Barkley can't go to a bowl game for the next two years because of what Bush did?
Barkley and the rest of his teammates had nothing to do with the Bush scandal. The NCAA is supposed to look out for the well-being of its athletes. Is keeping the current USC team from bowl games the best thing for Barkley and his teammates?
The NCAA should allow USC to go to bowl games but not allow them to collect any money or gifts from the bowl they go to. That way, they are hitting the school in their athletic pocket, but are still allowing the players to play football and showcase their skills.
There is no perfect way to police football players taking money that they aren't allowed to. But, it's time for the NCAA to do something different. The current system isn't working and it needs to change.
Start paying the players. It isn't a perfect solution, but I do believe it's the right thing to do.
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