Earlier this week, HBO Real Sports aired a piece about four former Auburn football players who spoke about receiving cash handshakes during their recruitment and throughout their football careers. The unlawful conduct spoken about from these former athletes paints a very clear picture of what NCAA sports are all about–Money.
I get it. Then again, I've always gotten it. The NCAA is about money. It's a business that capitalizes on the success of NCAA athletes and in turn puts a hefty profit into many old men's' tailored suit pockets.
It's a system that is far from perfect in one sense, but profitability-wise, it's an unbelievable business model.
Since this HBO special, we've had numerous people in an uproar about the NCAA. Myron Rolle, a Rhodes Scholar, interviewed with ESPN Insider on why he thinks college athletes should get paid.
Jason Whitlock, a Fox Sports Columnist, has written a column and performed a podcast ranting about having a revolution for the upheaval of the NCAA, due to their greedy exploit of NCAA athletes.
I respect both of their opinions, but their both wrong. Utterly wrong.
I guess during this unprecedented news about how athletes are receiving improper benefits we forgot one thing–the athletes are the guilty parties.
Twist and turn the story all you want. Claim the NCAA is profiting off these kids, say that you would do the same thing if you were in their shoes, talk about how they lived a rough life going up and they need the money. Hell, tell me their grandma is dying from cancer. Do I care about their story? No and you shouldn't either.
Instead of accepting blame, learning from the mistake and trying to move on from it, we continuously try to justify the guilty side. There's no more onus for doing anything wrong, there's getting caught and apologizing. That's it.
Lets have a little rationale here.
If you're driving 80 mph in a 55mph zone and get caught speeding, is it the city's fault for not making the speed limit faster?
What if you get caught cheating on a test and score a zero...is it the teacher's fault because the test was too hard?
Should neglecting to pay your taxes because you think Uncle Sam takes enough of your money be a legitimate excuse?
If you do something illegal and know its illegal, then the case should be closed. Go and fight your revolution against the NCAA, but for the time being, while it's still standing, accepting handouts is against the law.
I'm not going to deny that there isn't any problems with the NCAA, but opening it up to pay athletes would be like ending the drug war.
Have you ever asked yourself why there's a drug war?
Most people think that it's because illegal drugs are trying to be smuggled into our country. In actuality, there's a drug war because millions of people in this country want those illegal drugs.
The drug policy isn't the problem. The people are.
People think that allowing free reign of drugs in our country would end our drug problem. No longer would kids be enticed by the thought of doing something illegal. Prisons wouldn't be filled with convicts who are serving time due to drug dealing or using. The government could tax the drugs and make millions or billions of dollars off of it.
Now remember what I just told you. The policy isn't the problem. The people are.
Drug use wouldn't diminish because it's legal, it would increase due to the availability. Kids would be even more curious about these drugs because they'd be much more accessible in a free market.
Prisons may reduce occupancy, but it would probably just fill right back up due to crimes people commit while on the drugs.
So if letting all drugs to be legal isn't the correct solution, then what is? How about legalizing marijuana?
Here's a typical example of cleaning up one problem by creating another. You legalize marijuana and now pot dealers are out of a job. The only thing they can do now is start selling harder drugs. Larger quantities and more potent harder drugs would invade the country and we'd have a worse problem than we had before.
You can try and fix the policy, but the best way to fix a problem is going after the root of the source–the people.
Lets take the drug war and now look at the NCAA.
Have you ever asked yourself why college athletes don't get paid?
Most people think that it's because the NCAA is greedy and wants to keep all the money. In actuality, college athletes don't get paid because it creates a system that is even more filled corruption than it is now.
The NCAA policy isn't the problem. The athletes are.
What would paying NCAA athletes do? Is a star football player going to be happy when he's receiving the same stipend as a scholarship field hockey player? Do you think everyone is just going to jump for joy and praise the NCAA for giving athletes $1,000 a month?
All paying athletes would do is open up more loopholes for larger handouts to be given to the best athletes in hopes of recruiting them to your school. Nothing will change. People will still complain about the NCAA receiving too much revenue and athletes will still complain that the NCAA is using them to make money.
There is not a single viable solution that involves paying athletes because again, I reiterate, the NCAA policy isn't the problem, the athletes are.
If an athlete wants $200k to attend a school and schools think he's worth it, then the payouts are still going to go down. The student-athlete knows what they're doing is wrong, the people giving them the money secretively knows they are doing something wrong, but for some reason we as sports fans either don't care or make it seem justified.
There's a difference between greed and success and most people get them confused.
Greed are the athletes, parents of the athletes, boosters, coaches, representatives or anyone else that knowingly involves them self in a wrongdoing to benefit the NCAA athlete.
Success is the NCAA who has built an incredible system that is extremely profitable and popular across the country. Success are the athletes that do it the proper, legal way and get their money once they get to the professional league in their sport.
There's a big difference between the two.
People think the NCAA wouldn't exist without the athletes. Wrong. The athletes wouldn't exist without the NCAA.
The NCAA has created a product, with the help of the athletes, coaches, media, fans and schools that is one of a kind. If you don't like the NCAA policies when you're an athlete and enter school, then go someplace else.
Where's another league that you will get the same notoriety, television exposure, scouting exposure. coach experience or training staff and facilities like the NCAA offers, while getting paid at the same time?
There isn't one.
Hate the NCAA all you want. Dissect them for being greedy or corrupt in their own ways, but stop trying to make guilty people innocent by doing so.
Wrong is wrong and the players who accept improper benefits are wrong and you're wrong if you think they're right for doing so.