Now, before anyone automatically comes on here and says, "Hey Joe, you suck!" I'd like for you to hear me out on this concern.
In this article, I won't be discussing student athletes being paid like pros or anything, but rather, how they should see more money than they currently do to help stop violations. They should be treated fairly, keep this in mind. So enjoy the article.
If you look at the list of schools and people who have violated rules or ones who have been investigated, it's a who's who among popular schools/players.
This list includes: USC, Auburn, Ohio State, Miami and many, many more. Then add in people such as Cam Newton, Jim Tressel and the list goes on.
The biggest controversy today is focused on The U, a team known for violating rules more than once and sweeping them under the rug. I invite anyone who believes this to be untrue to watch the Miami 30 for 30 DVD. One of the best 30 for 30s as voted on by the fans.
Now, Miami is just one of the few schools being investigated and some are talking death penalty. Even though the NCAA is hesitant to pull such a trigger after what happened with SMU, it's widely seen to many as the biggest downfall in sports history.
Every single violation involving players seems to involve money. The schools seem to get looped in because of what the players do. And sometimes they even offer moola just to make sure they can bring in a certain athlete.
To be fair, most of these athletes are being paid somewhat to play. They get full rides to go to school and play for their team. Every school does this with certain players, but the top schools are always the ones that are investigated seemingly because, when a school has so much success for so long, it's not really seen as "great coaching."
The top universities in football, basketball, etc. always seem to have some sort of issue with recruiting. Or an issue with money going to athletes.
It seems that they realize guys or girls now seem to come from a life where they don't see much. They need money and they want to take care of their families. And any time they have an opportunity to make cash, they take it because it's just a common, human reaction.
Athletes always want to "get out" by their sport, so they'll take any form of a scholarship given to them. Any time they are offered any sort of way to make money, they take it.
Mom and Dad just want them to have a better life, and when they see their son/daughter is going to a top University to get a good education, they obviously let them go. The kids obviously want to do well so they can make money to get their family out of the circumstances they are in.
Then comes the kid that has little family, but is offered a scholarship for a sport. He/she takes it because they realize it comes with a better life. When money then comes into play, for those who have little, they know taking money is a good thing because money means something better than what they have.
Even the privileged athlete who grew up in the big house with the great parents and great environment, who gets a big-time scholarship, is also not stupid and likes the ability to have money in hand.
It seems impossible for athletes to get and hold a job (even in the offseason) due to commitments they have involving their team and school. So, you take the ability to make cash from them and then expect them to live off of a few hundred dollars?
Think about it, they can't make their own money with a job so they have to use the little bit of money they are given by the school. They can't have a life because most of the money goes into food.
Many university officials say that the low amount of money should be higher.
Athletes are subject to the university they are attending. And there is a never-ending rule book the NCAA has involving them and the school. I'm not sure anyone actually could name every rule. It always seems to grow with them, eh?
The issue in the long run is that athletes will always be given the right to a scholarship. This much should always be in place. But they don't realize the issues they get into. They want to play ball and many want to just get a good education. Ask most offensive lineman in the SEC.
But the university is making millions annually off you and your teammates, yet you see none of it?
How can anyone blame Pryor and the rest of the OSU players for selling memorabilia for money?
The university sells your jersey number and sometimes your name in their stores. They sell paintings with you in them, they even make money off of EA Sports using you in their video game. Yet you don't see one dime of that?
How can anyone take that lightly?
To me, there has to be set things that go down. I've made a list to show the many things universities can do to better help out the student athlete, and be fair to all of them:
- Have signings in which the player keeps the money made for what they sign.
- Push the amount of money for food and board to around $2,000 to $3,000 per month. O-Lineman will thank me for this one. You're welcome, guys!
- Any "likeness" of a player should be outlawed and anything having to do with the player such as video games, jerseys, etc. should be cleared by them. Once it has been, they should be paid for what it's being used for.
- Any player who doubles in a sport outside university lines should be able to remain a student athlete inside a university sanctioned sport. Such as the case with Olympic skier and Colorado wide-out Jeremy Bloom. (Bloom was seen as a "pro-skier" and the NCAA nixed his right to play for Colorado as an amateur student athlete, which forced him to leave.)
- Mandatory financial classes should be taken by athletes, so they know how to better handle money they are given.
- Only coaches should be involved in recruiting a student athlete. This nixes alumni and boosters for the program. If it's a set rule that NCAA enforces correctly, a law could be put in place to fine or jail those involved. If the university had no knowledge, they should not be punished, but the player will have to find another place to play.
Some may say, "If money is what comes about, it would simply be a bidding war for players instead of keeping the focus on the relationship between the players and the school/coach. However, this would not be much of an issue if all schools went about things the correct way.
If a school can offer $2,000 to $3,000 per month to scholarship athletes, which they can easily do seeing as they are making $100,000 at games alone, then most places have no worries.
This can also be taken back if a drug test failure or suspension comes about. Same as if they are seen as academically unable to compete.
Signings are easy to do. Have a set amount of them in the offseason per year with all players on the team. Everything they sign, they get revenue from instead of the university.
Every school has a business section to it, so obviously making kids take finance classes isn't a bad thing. It's not as if they are paying for it, right?
I can't tell you how many violations have been done because of a booster or alumnus. If this is nixed off from the beginning where they know these offenses are punishable to them, it may stop issues before the kid even arrives to school.
Also, I feel that anything an athlete does outside of the university sport-wise should have nothing to do with the NCAA or their school. If they want to be an Olympian, they should have the right. This is just something that should be allowed simply because if they have such a big opportunity, they should never turn it away simply to remain a member of a team that's not even the same sport.
When it's all said and done, the NCAA has a ton to think about.
This is the 21st Century and certain rules and regulations need to be looked at or added.
With economic issues also being something to think about, there is no way it's fair to punish players for simply doing what they can to gain a little cash. Why do you think some leave school early in the first place?
Whatever way you look at it, whether you agree athletes should be paid or not, everyone and their mother seems to agree things need to change. Therefore, why not do it, NCAA?
The old excuse that they are being paid with a free education is growing tired. What about when they are trying to get said education? Think about that one.
Some will call this a rant, some will call it an analysis. I simply will call it food for thought.
What do you think?
Is there anything you would put into place to help student athletes?
Or do you think they should be paid like the pros and be done with it?
In the long run, really, these are kids and they really need to be treated with some fairness and not treated as if they don't matter at all. How is it fair where the university sees a ton of profit, while a kid can barely buy a good dinner for less than $30?