By suspending the Ohio State Football players for five games next season but allowing them to play in the Sugar Bowl, the NCAA has officially lost my respect. It's one thing if you truly want to live by the rules and guidelines when it comes to players accepting gifts. However, the punishment shows what the NCAA really cares about: money.
Any attempt at explanation by the NCAA isn't worth the paper it's written on. The NCAA has got to stop excusing its decisions because the student-athletes "didn't know what was going on." They did this with Cam Newton and now with Ohio State.
If you want to get the message across to players, make them sit out the bowl game rather than the first five games of next season. Taking Terrelle Pryor out of the Sugar Bowl would be taking money out of NCAA's pocket.
In 2004, Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith had to sit out the Alamo Bowl for accepting $500. Perhaps the rules are different for the BCS bowl games.
Speaking of 2004, the USC Trojans should protest the loss of their 2004 National Championship. If these players who violated rules are considered to be eligible for the Sugar Bowl, why wouldn't Reggie Bush receive the same treatment.
Former Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant was ruled ineligible for an entire season for lying about a lunch with Deion Sanders that turned out to be legal.
The NCAA is becoming more and more of a joke with its inconsistent penalties for players and member institutions.
Here's a suggestion for the NCAA: Make a provision that allows for players to receive gifts. Limit the amount in gifts and services the players receive. Require the players to document the gifts received and as long as it is within limits, let it go. Still make it illegal to receive gifts and cash in the recruitment process.
Until schools start marketing their academically talented students the way they market the athletically talented students, there is an unfair system. The NCAA and its members are making millions off of the talents of its athletes that aren't allowed to receive a ride across campus.
I'm not saying student athletes should be paid in any way. What I am saying though, is that if a student is on a math scholarship, there is no penalty for someone buying them a dinner. Why are the athletes treated differently?
This isn't limited to Ohio State; these things are happening at almost every major program in the country. As more and more athletes are on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, the sanctions will continue to grow.
The ball is in the NCAA's hands. I hope they don't continue to drop it.