It seems that early in this college football season, you can't go more than five minutes without hearing that a student-athlete has been suspended for NCAA infractions.
The most notable case so far has been the 14 players that were suspended on the No. 18 North Carolina Tar Heels football team for their opener last Saturday vs. LSU.
Not too far south of North Carolina, Georgia was without its top wide receiver A.J. Green for its 55-7 win over Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday.
Green has been suspended for four games total for selling his Independence Bowl jersey to an agent at a party in Miami. Green has donated the money he received to a charity, and Georgia is hoping to get his suspension decreased.
No doubt Green should be penalized for breaking the rules, but there are certain aspects of the rules that seem unfair to student-athletes.
First, although the jersey was given to him by the school, why shouldn't he be able to sell it? Student-athletes dedicate themselves to football and help to make millions of dollars for the schools and NCAA. Since they dedicate all this time, they are unable to work and make money.
The NCAA should allow them to make some minimal amount of money by signing autographs or selling memorabilia since they make so many millions of dollars off the athlete.
The most important aspect of this situation that the NCAA must deal with is rules regarding student-athlete agent relationships.
A college athlete should be suspended when he or she goes and seeks out an agent to communicate with, but in many of the situations lately it hasn't occurred like that.
In many cases the agent is the one preying on the college player. The problem with this is that there is no penalty for an agent who communicates with an amateur college athlete. The NCAA must do a better job protecting the athletes since they are the only ones who have something to lose.
The only way to stop instances like that of A.J. Green is to suspend the license of any agent that tampers with college athletes because that gives the agents a reason to stay away from the student-athletes before they become professionals.
There is no doubt there will be more A.J. Greens in the future. If the NCAA wants to break this cycle, they must institute rules that hold agents responsible as well as the student-athlete. Until then, agents have nothing to lose and will continue to prey on these vulnerable young athletes.
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