There are a lot of things I love about college football.
I love the pageantry, I love the excitement, and I love the tradition. I love pretty much everything about the sport with very few exceptions. But if there’s one thing that I simply can’t stand, it's the double standards when it comes to shortchanging the players.
It seems that in recent years we have seen far too many cases of players being screwed by the system and being hurt by silly technicalities while schools and athletic departments sit back and load their pockets with cash.
The most recent case involves Georgia junior wide receiver A.J. Green, one of the most talented players in the nation.
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Green, a player who undoubtedly has an NFL future ahead of him, has been forced to sit out the first four games of the season after it was discovered he sold a game worn jersey from last year’s Independence Bowl to an agent for $1,000.
He was forced to repay the amount out of his own pocket to a charity of his choosing in order to become eligible.
Remember that Green, like the rest of the college football players in America, has no time for a job and has no source of income other than a small weekly stipend he receives from Georgia to cover living costs.
Green expressed remorse and apologized to teammates and fans for his bad judgment. But it doesn’t change the fact that his all important junior season has been affected by a rule that seems biased in every way imaginable.
Go to any Georgia Bulldogs apparel store and you’ll see Green’s No. 8 jersey with a hefty price tag upwards of $60, which the school directly profits from without Green receiving a dime.
Seems a bit unfair, right?
Now as the receiver prepares for his return to the field this weekend against Colorado comes news that sheds light on the evident hypocrisies in college football.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers will be auctioning game worn jerseys from their October 16th match up with Texas at a minimum bid of $250. The profits raised from the auction will directly benefit the Nebraska athletic department.
Let’s do the math - with about 100 or so players on the roster, that’s a minimum of $25,000 dollars the Cornhuskers will be making even though the profits are likely to be much higher.
Now that’s not to say Nebraska is wrong for auctioning off the jerseys to raise money for the athletic department. It’s definitely a wise business decision.
But on the heals of the Green case, it seems like the NCAA is further spitting in the faces of the kids they've sworn to help.
It just goes to show that on the totem pole of college athletics, the athletes we all love to watch sit firmly at the the bottom. It’s the schools who hold all the power when it comes to earning money even though they're the ones directly benefiting from the skills of the players.
If I were A.J. Green, I would say OK since you felt the need to suspend me well then you’re going to have to take my face off every $10 program, off of every billboard promoting the school and keep my jersey off of your shelves.
It’s true that college athletics gives a great stage for some of the country’s best young athletes to shine, but more often than not it seems they are the ones who come up short in the end.