Thursday, December 23, 2010

Let Me Get This Straight

These Ohio State players broke the rules. They sold personal items (which they quite literally earned with their blood and sweat) for money. They made money off their status as a NCAA athlete. Therefore, they will be punished.

Suspended for five games.

Starting next year.

The next game, the nationally televised BCS Sugar Bowl sponsored by All-State... they can play in that game.

Why?

Well, because they didn't know the rules. The same rules that they broke (which were so bad, it warrants a five game suspension). They didn't know about those rules.

And since they weren't aware of those rules, they're allowed play in the bowl game.

But they still get suspended for five games for breaking the rules that they weren't aware of.

Starting next year.

So now Ohio State players are aware that they aren't supposed to take free services or sell items related to their status as NCAA athletes and they'll still be able to participate in the Sugar Bowl and all that comes with it:
Michigan State had hoped to earn an at-large bid to the Sugar Bowl, but was beat out by Ohio State. What gifts are the Buckeyes receiving? Custom earphones, a watch and a cap. Participants also will attend a gift suite were they can order gifts up to a value predetermined by the Sugar Bowl, not to exceed the $500 limit.
Got it? No more than $500.

Ugh.

The whole business of big time college athletics just feels so skeevy to me.

What a system we have. This is a system where (mostly white) men in their 50s and 60s make millions of dollars off of the work that the (mostly poor, minority) kids put in. These kids literally sacrifice their bodies to play in these games in front of 100,000 people. Apparently the best of these players (Terrell Pryor, Boom Herron and DeVier Posey are all major contributors on Ohio State) feel the need to sell items that should be regarded as family heirlooms to get some quick cash.

Some players made as much as $2,500! Almost three-grand! How dare they taint this pure, innocent game.

Again we come to the whole "Should players be paid?" argument. I don't know how that would even work. A work-study program? A stipend for every athlete? Would football players get more than cross country runners? Hourly pay? There's not a lot of easy answers.

I know these kids receive scholarships worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. They earn a free education and that's not nothing. (Nevermind how many pro athletes end up broke, but that's another story).


Scholarships are all well and good, but getting free math classes doesn't buy you a dinner. Or allow you to purchase clothes.  Or provide money for family emergencies. (Or buy booze or pot or whatever).  It's not like these kids can really go out and get 9-5 jobs for some extra cash. (Lord knows how often their pestered by boosters, alumni or fans asking for favors as well. The opportunity is certainly there).

A lot of OSU folks are mad that they sold Big Ten Championship rings and the Gold Pants pins. For shame! Don't they know how special and memorable these items are? Well... no. These are 18, 19, 20 year old kids who need money (and have won the Big Ten and beaten Michigan every year), let alone the fact that it's their personal property.

I just can't get that upset with these guys, especially since they're all still eligble for the Sugar Bowl. I might feel like they actually did something, you know, wrong if they were actually forced to miss a BCS bowl.

But that can't happen, Ohio State has to be at full strength, right? If Terrell Pryor and company sat out that game, who would want to watch? Who would buy commercial air time? Who would place bets on the outcome? Who would tune in? Would Ohio State fans still travel to game? We need Pryor vs Ryan Mallet. Ohio State vs Arkansas! Big Ten vs SEC!

All-State paid good money to sponsor this game, we can't blow it by sitting out the star players.

But they still need to be punished. They broke a rule so egregious that they need to miss five whole games.

Just not the next one. That game is worth money. A lot of money.

Just not to the players.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Can't agree with the 'poor broke athlete' campaign here Ben. The truth is, they used this money to buy excessive tattoos and other personal items. TP drives a corvette has fancy clothes and wears expensive diamond watches. He's not a college student trying to scrounge up change to buy a pizza, hes not sending a check back home to mom. Hes selling off things (he knows he isnt allowed to sell) that are prestigious honors from the university and the NCAA for personal gain.

Don't break the rules, and you stay out of trouble. Its as simple as that.

If you want to make the point the the NCAA rules and policies suck and their are major problems and hypocricies within the NCAA, great - I would love to read that article. But as the system currently stands, just because the rules suck doesn't mean the athletes are victims when they don't follow them.

The victims of this systems are the ones who follow the rules. Don't cast sympathy on the ones who don't, because they're still just guys who did something they knew they shouldn't have.

Ben said...

The thing is, I don't get what's wrong with him selling his things for personal gain. He made 2,500 dollars selling his stuff. Thousands of people watch him play football every week, bars are packed, beers are sold, jerseys are bought, food is consumed, journalists and media outlets covers the things he says and, oh yea, his coach makes millions of dollars. He's one of the most recognizable and scrutinized players in college football. His record something like 30-4.

So he drives a nice car. So he made some money off of his stuff. Meh.

(and of course he knew he was breaking the rules. There's no good reason why he shouldn't be suspended for the Sugar Bowl. Only it's too big of a game.)

Anonymous said...

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