College Football: NCAA Should Allow Players to Make Money If They're Good Enough

Neil TillmanContributor IIIJune 11, 2011

Reggie Bush wins award for most outstanding player in college football
Reggie Bush wins award for most outstanding player in college footballStephen Chernin/Getty Images

A big dilemma in college football is occurring, and it has nothing to do with a playoff system. USC just lost out on their BCS Championship from 2004, Ohio State is preparing for more penalization's.

If the NCAA demands one thing from their athletes, it’s not about going to class and certainly not to graduate, it’s not about preventing drug usage. The NCAA hates college athletes making money. Now, for the first time ever, there is talk to pay college athletes.

Steve Spurrier, head coach at South Carolina University, is offering to pay players out of his pocket. Why not? Spurrier makes millions of dollars turning South Carolina into a decent SEC team. Spurrier understands that he needs to start paying players to go to South Carolina, who wants to play in a state that still has a big confederate flag hanging in the capitol?

The topic of paying players was conversed at a Big 12 meeting recently. Texas can get away with paying players without cutting into the girls' field hockey team, but I’m not too sure about Baylor.

Of course, Title IX may come into question, and if football players get paid…the women’s softball should see some of the money? Sure they should, and they should also charge $50 a seat to watch their sport.

There’s too much rhetoric that “student”-athletes must be treated like every other student.  When was the last time a law student was barred because he or she got a paid internship?

The problem is not who they should pay-to-play, but how much can universities pay?

Most schools from non-BCS conferences don’t make as much money on football to go around and they have a hard time making budget as it is. Most BCS schools have a hard enough time balancing athletic budgets while tapping into student fees to cover other expenses.

To avoid college football players ditching class in lieu of a lockout, I have a proposal that might just help the little guys too. Two words, that when put together can make even the stingiest NCAA lawyer nod: student loans.

Any student can apply for a sizable amount of student loans. Why not allow athletes on a full-ride scholarship to apply and receive extra funding that can be paid back?

Of course, not everyone makes it to the NFL, which would make it easier to pay the loan quickly, but not everyone needs a sleeve tattoo either. Even some doctors need to repay student loans.

Every player is given a meager amount of scholarship money. Honestly, when Terrelle Pryor sells a Big Ten championship ring so he can get his arms tattooed, clearly the scholarship system and under-the-table booster money isn’t helping.

Reggie Bush’s parents needed a home without paying any money in rent, even though they both worked.  Bush also needed a nice car, glamorous wardrobe and jewelry, how else is he supposed to date a Kardashian?

How come college athletes aren’t allowed to make endorsement money? Almost every college athlete is over the age of 18, which classifies them as an adult to the judicial system. Endorsements can be limited, and supervised by the NCAA.

Sure, some schools have an opportunity to provide larger endorsement deals, which isn’t fair to smaller market schools. However, not every player can get endorsement deals at big schools, but maybe a smaller school can offer a good player a good deal.

If the NCAA alleges they were created to protect student-athletes, the BCS was created to protect big institutions.  The NCAA rules exist to create “fair play,” but the BCS has rules to make sure the big schools have big pay days.

Is it fair that the mediocre Big East gets an automatic bid to a major bowl, despite the level of competition being weaker than the Mountain West and WAC?

Money makes college athletics go around. Athletes in college athletics must remain amateurs. Reggie Bush was the highest paid player in college sports his junior year, but Bush did not receive any illegal benefits from the University. To be fair, the only way the NCAA can ever sniff out violations, is if there is a tattletale involved.

The NCAA doesn’t conduct any actual investigations. Bush appeared clean throughout his NCAA career, until he chose not to use San Diego local agents Michael Michaels and Lloyd Lake.

The distraught agents filed a lawsuit against Bush which opened the eyes to the NCAA. Bush received horrible advice from his new agents, had he just returned the money that was “borrowed,” the NCAA would have lacked any evidence or witnesses.

Mississippi State tried tattling on Cam Newton.  The problem with convicting is Miss. St. didn’t give Newton any money. Apparently, if Auburn did, no one near campus is blabbing abut it.

Too bad for Ohio State that tattoo artists like to brag about their handiwork.  Memo to A.J. Green, if you try to sell your jersey on eBay, it is really easy to trace. It’s too bad that North Carolina didn’t spend as much money on a coach as they did on their football players.

The NCAA has taken a year to deny USC an appeal. In light of the NCAA ruling that Reggie Bush was ineligible, the BCS vacated the championship trophy that Bush and the Trojans received after a 55-19 trouncing of Oklahoma in 2005. Six years ago? The NCAA moves slower than a 100-year-old lady trying to parallel park.

If they take away a championship from 2004-05, why take away an opportunity for a championship in 2011-12?

The short answer is because Bush doesn’t attend there anymore. Without Bush playing for USC in 2005-06, the most watched and most exciting BCS championship ever would not have played out that way. Of course the NCAA has already made enough money off of Bush that they can stand to punish the new Trojans.

Without Cam Newton, college football would have been a snooze-fest last season. Imagine how few people would have watched Oregon vs. TCU for the national championship. No thank you, I’m glad someone just gave Newton some money so we could watch some good college football.