NCAA Hypocrisy Responsible for Many Athlete Problems Like Ohio State

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NCAA Hypocrisy Responsible for Many Athlete Problems Like Ohio State
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images
Ohio State Quarterback Terrelle Pryor suspend after Sugar Bowl for selling personal items

The NCAA hypocrisy and corruption becomes clearer every day. 

It continues to make up rules and new precedents as it goes along, but ignores them when it suits their goal of maximizing revenues, often at the expense of college athletes.

The latest fiasco is the Ohio State ruling that five ineligible athletes including stars Terrelle Pryor, Dan Herron and DeVier Posey can play in the Jan. 4 Sugar Bowl against Arkansas, but sit out the first five games in 2011 when they will probably leave for the NFL. 

These players violated NCAA rules by selling various rings, awards and apparel and receiving discounted tattoos from 2007-09 because they were OSU athletes. 

This really gets the NCAA mad because these sales cost them potential revenue from college athlete memorabilia sales that they don’t allow the athletes to participate in.

Of course, the only reason for the NCAA decision is money; not for the athletes, but for the NCAA and its member institutions. 

The NCAA didn’t want the Sugar Bowl to deteriorate so that the advertisers who sponsor it suffer due to lower viewings because they may be less likely to invest in future games.

But, you have to really love the rationalization of this ruling. 

The NCAA claimed that they could lift penalties for a bowl game if the student-athletes were not aware they were committing violations and Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith claims this was the case.

Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
OSU Thaddeus Gibbson in 2009 bowl game against Texas

The OSU football players used the same “I didn’t know” answer as Cam Newton used in his scandal, but this is disputed by former teammate Thaddeus Gibson, now a San Francisco 49er. 

Gibson was the most tattooed player in 2007-09 and he told the Ohio State Lantern on Dec. 23, “Oh yeah, they (OSU athletic director Gene Smith and the coaches) talked about it a lot” when asked if OSU football players were told about selling personal items.

The NCAA also came down harder on Ohio State than Heisman winner Cam Newton, whose father shopped him for $180,000.

None of this will change the NCAA ruling because they don’t appear to care about consistency or the truth.

Julie Posey is the mother of DeVier Posey and she blames the NCAA for the players’ money problems. 

She is a widow with four children and has no money to pay for everything that an athletic scholarship does not cover. 

Ithaca College recently published a report showing that the average “full scholarship” Division I athlete has to pay $2,941 annually in school related expenses.

Due to the huge time commitment to participate in Division I sports and academics, it is impractical for student-athletes to have a part-time job during the school year like other academic scholarship students.

Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
Auburn's Cam Newton won Heisman Trophy after NCAA allowed him to be ineligible for only one day

Is it any wonder that athletes taking money are from low income families?

The NCAA is a non-profit organization who has skimmed about $400M from the college TV revenues in net assets and this is growing at about $40M plus annually.

There are sufficient funds to give low income student-athletes a stipend of $3,000 per year to fill this scholarship gap. 

Some may argue that it is unfair to give this to only low income athletes, but this is no different than giving more academic scholarship money to low income students.

This is one of the eight solutions to fix the NCAA and improve college football.

So, instead of helping student-athletes, the NCAA finds ways to make their life impossible in order to maximize its growing net assets and those of the member institutions.

The NCAA also allows colleges to sign more recruits than they have scholarships and then taking away scholarships from existing football players or new recruits

No conference abuses this like the SEC, who has averaged 103 scholarship signees over the past four years with a NCAA limit of 85. Football programs like the University of Southern California (USC) have never done this.

Here is an interesting video: OTL: Over the Limit.

The NCAA adds insult to injury because it requires an athlete who has had their scholarship revoked to sit out a year when transferring to another Division I college to regain their scholarship.

For those that believe money is not an issue for the NCAA when deciding cases, then explain why the NCAA has not given a TV ban to Division I violators since 1996.  The NCAA receives 90% of its $710M budget this year from television and almost all the rest from championship revenue.

Congress gave the NCAA non-profit status.  Certainly they didn't expect the conflict of interest inherit with controlling the huge television revenues for college football and basketball.

Contrast the recent NCAA rulings with the USC case. On June 10, the NCAA’s Paul Dee dropped the harshest sanctions on the Trojans since the 1987 death penalty on the infamous SMU program. These sanctions were worse than those given to the outlaw Miami program Dee presided over that funneled more than $600,000 to Miami athletes.

No school has every been penalized so harshly for primarily extending benefits to lure a player (Reggie Bush) to leave school with no recruiting or academic violations.  This was done solely by parties with no connection to the Trojans. 

There was no credible evidence anyone at USC knew of the scheme to advance Heisman Trophy winner Bush and his family illegal benefits from a pair of prospective agents. All this was done 150 miles from the USC campus.

Jamie Squire/Getty Images
USC Coach Pete Carroll and Reggie Bush during 2005 Orange Bowl victory over undefeated Oklahoma by a score of 55-19

It required four years of investigation to produce the NCAA mistakes and new precedents (since ignored) to rationalize unprecedented sanctions against USC.

The USC punishments primarily affect the current athletes who were mostly in junior high school at the time any violations occurred.

Every day that the NCAA makes up new rules and precedents that are ignored in other cases it becomes clearer that USC was treated unfairly.

USC wasn’t the first school to be treated so badly and your school may be next.

In the meantime, it is pathetic to watch the NCAA rationalize each new case to maximize college football revenues while pretending to care about the athletes.

The NCAA's mission statement core purpose is: "Our purpose is to govern competition in a fair, safe, equitable and sportsmanlike manner, and to integrate intercollegiate athletics into higher education so that the educational experience of the student-athlete is paramount."

It appears that the NCAA needs revise their purpose or change their behavior to comply with it.

 

P.S. Here is a Jan. 2 story about what may happen to the NCAA soon:  Going after the NCAA's 'underbelly' and Yahoo Sports story Pryor's acts expose charade of college athletics.  On Jan. 11 uwire published Column: Trojans hope NCAA appeal is not fruitless.  On Mar. 10 Yahoo Sports published this article about the double standards in the Ohio State case.  On Mar. 25 CBS Sports made it clear that Ohio State's complicity was far more than USC.  On Apr. 4 CBS Sports identified actions needed with college football's integrity on the line due to the NCAA.

 

This is an opinion article based on discussions with media representatives and review of reports and related articles.

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