Feigned outrage and needless overreaction have become commonplace in college athletics, and it is long past time to stop the madness.
Major universities (and smaller ones who fly under the radar because they aren’t the darlings of Nike or the subject of ESPN documentaries) that turn a blind eye to player benefits and recruiting perks are about as worthy of “Breaking News” status as the sun rising.
Both have occurred like clockwork for as long as anyone can remember, and neither are likely to stop anytime soon.
Cash payments, bounties and prostitutes at Miami are nothing more than the flavor of the week, and tattoos for autographs and memorabilia at Ohio State serve as a microcosm for what it has always taken to win in big time college sports: top-tier recruits.
If ESPN’s “The U,” “The Best That Never Was,” and “Pony Excess,” taught us anything, it is that the practice of paying high school athletes for their talents is as old as the games they are brought to school to play.
Is it any wonder a multi-billion-dollar industry that serves as a breeding ground for the ultra-flashy, win-now, get-rich-quick world of professional sports pays its players too?
Of course it isn’t, and most people don’t care. Thousands and thousands of fans pay top dollar for NCAA tickets each and every season, and they want to see the best possible product on the field, court or rink.
It is only the NCAA bureaucracy who cries wolf with every alleged infraction, and they are the ones to blame for creating the dollar-rich industry responsible for the cheating.
There is no doubt that, if the allegations are true, the University of Miami needs to be punished for their latest in a long line of athletics-related transgressions.
The rules are the rules, and The U broke them (again).
However, until the NCAA takes a good, hard look in the mirror and admits that they exist solely for the purpose of sports entertainment and not educating children, stories like the Nevin Shapiro saga at Miami will continue, just like the tales of Uncle Luke before him.
Whether or not the NCAA decides at some point to pay the athletes who make their schools millions, NCAA president Mark Emmert and his bureaucrats in Indianapolis need to realize they are just that: athletes.
Not all of them are going to make the pro’s and “legally” be showered with millions, and changing the rules to allow for compensation isn’t going to change the attitudes of those who are using their scholarships to get an education and not vice versa.
College sports exist to entertain and produce revenue, and the NCAA would be wise to admit what the rest of us already know.
Go ahead, Mr. Emmert. Punish Miami. They deserve it.
But when you’re done, follow the suit of so many other states and abolish the “Death Penalty.”
Never, ever use it again, and both the culprits and the fans will be better off.
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