The NCAA has now taken the approach that only one thing will dictate the actions that they take. The actual rules will have no impact. The penalties broken will have no impact. The rulings by the NCAA are dictated by one thing, and it’s the root of all evil, Money. But it’s not like they care about credibility or integrity to begin with.
The NCAA has stated that the Ohio State football players who sold their own property for thousands of dollars will be forced to repay what they got, and be suspended for the first five weeks of next season. But they will be able to play in the Sugar Bowl on January 4th.
Are. You. Kidding. Me?
If you are a Georgia, Alabama, Southern California, North Carolina, or a fan of the integrity and credibility of college football, you should be embarrassed of what the NCAA has done in its recent ruling.
In their own words: “NCAA policy allows [lifting] penalties for a championship or bowl game if it was reasonable at the time the student-athletes were not aware they were committing violations.”
Wait, what? We can now do what Cam Newton has done, say that we weren’t aware that violations were committed, and we will be in the clear. If the infractions or violations take place after the season, they are treated differently than if they happened before the season started.
A.J. Green sold a game-used jersey to a jersey collector, not an agent, for $1,000. This jersey was his own property, and he sold it to have money during spring break. I am not going to argue about the validity of the rule, but the fact is he broke it.
The NCAA came down on Green and forced him to sit out four games immediately, even though Green didn’t know what he did was wrong. He is a college student, in desperate need of cash, and made a snap decision. Who knows what would Georgia’s season have looked like if they had A.J. Green for 12 games instead of 8, we will never know.
The NCAA didn’t allow Southern Cal’s approach that they didn’t know anything was going on. They still say the rules were violated and they were punished for their actions. You know, how it’s supposed to be done. They would be forced to vacate wins, lose scholarships, vacate a Heisman Trophy, and lose the opportunity to play in bowl games.
Reggie Bush was ruled retroactively ineligible for competition the moment that he received improper benefits, forcing Southern Cal to vacate 14 of their wins.
Alabama DE Marcel Dareus was suspended for the first two games, immediately following the investigation involving illegal benefits. He made a mistake, broke rules, and was suspended immediately following the investigation.
North Carolina was forced to sit out 13 players during their season opening loss to LSU. This came out after the NCAA’s investigation that rules were violated. The players were forced to sit immediately following the NCAA’s ruling.
Do you get where I am going? The NCAA came down with their penalties and enforced penalties immediately following their investigation.
Then there is the whole Cam Newton case. The NCAA found out that Cecil Newton solicited payment from Mississippi State, a direct NCAA violation, yet the NCAA rules him ineligible for less than a day. The only punishment handed down to Auburn was that Cecil Newton would have limited access to the program.
The media and NCAA will say that the “loophole” is something that needs to be fixed, but the truth of the matter is the NCAA created the loophole. The NCAA created it to allow Cam Newton to play in the SEC championship game and subsequent national title game. A player “not knowing” isn’t in the rulebook.
Now, let's look at the Ohio State football program. Five of their football players received thousands of dollars for Big Ten championship rings, awards, and trophies. This actually happened over a year ago, before A.J. Green sold his jersey, and the NCAA will not punish them until September 3.
They will still count all 11 of the Buckeye wins during the 2010 season, when A.J. Green was punished immediately for his infractions and missed four Bulldog games. But wait, it is okay to wait because the NCAA has stated “the student-athletes were not aware they were committing violations.”
That’s exactly what A.J. Green said. What a joke. What about Marcel Dareus? What about the 13 players on the North Carolina football squad? What about Southern Cal?
That’s right, it didn’t matter that they knew or didn’t know, they committed violations and they were punished. The investigations happened at the beginning of the year. Before any teams had any wins. The NCAA was able to come down on these teams and punish them, without losing any money.
Ohio State AD Gene Smith said that they didn’t educate their players well enough. They didn’t do a good job of teaching them that they can’t sell what is theirs. They didn’t teach them that you cannot make money as a college football player.
Message to college football programs: Don’t teach your players what they can and cannot do. If the NCAA finds out they did something wrong, they will get a slap on a wrist, still be able to play in bowl games and championship games, and they will only get suspended when said players are playing on Sundays.
The NCAA stated that bowl games and championships are to be treated differently than regular season games in regards to suspending players. Last time I checked, if you violate a rule, you should be punished, regardless of what situation you are in. It should be based on the violations and the punishments.
If the violation and investigation comes out during or right at the end of the season, it shouldn’t be treated differently. But it isn’t all dependent on that. If Auburn and Ohio State weren’t Auburn and Ohio State and were two 6-6 teams, Cam Newton, Terrelle Pryor and company would all have been suspended, there is no denying that.
What. A. Joke.
The NCAA is making up rules as they go along. They simply want to cash in on all the TV revenue, ticket sales, merchandise, and exposure right now, and will hand out the punishments afterwards.
Most of these Ohio State players won’t suffer at all from their suspensions because they will most likely enter into the 2011 NFL Draft. They won't have to suffer by having to pay back the money either, because they will be making millions at the next level.
The NCAA has shown that if you're a part of a good team in a position to do great things, like win a championship or play in a BCS bowl, then you will be treated differently.
It doesn’t matter where you are ranked in the top 25 at the beginning of the year. If an investigation comes out before the season, you will be punished immediately. The potential of your team will not be given the chance to shine.
But if you are in a place where everyone strives to be at the conclusion of the season, regardless of whether you accomplished it the right way, you will be treated differently. The NCAA will put your deserved punishments on the back burner. They will slap you on the wrist, and will come out with a ruling that is favorable to you.
If this doesn’t bother you as a college football fan, even if you are an Ohio State or Auburn fan, than nothing else will. Just imagine a playoff with Ohio State and Auburn playing in the national championship game. If that doesn’t give you goosebumps for all the wrong reasons, nothing will.