NCAA Needs A Change
By Ryan Lazo
Sep 13, 2013, 08:23
Another week, another episode of bad publicity for the big business of college football. First it was Johnny Manziel and his apparent selling of his own signatures to memorabilia shops, but that pales in comparison to the reports out of Oklahoma State.
The Cowboysí program is being accused of paying student-athletes through the use of boosters, including for performances in games, having athletes get their work done through other students, in addition to drug and hostess programs to entice future recruits.
Then, one day following the five-part Sports Illustrated report, Yahoo Sports filed a story about SEC players receiving monetary benefits from their play on the field, including accusations against Alabama University which could see its back-to-back titles stripped.
However, does this type of news even surprise anyone anymore?
Following the sanctions on the University of Southern California, Miami University and Ohio State University, this news is taken as lightly as news about the seasons changing.
Itís taken as a mere fact because even though these are the programs in the news, there are surely others crossing their fingers they, too, donít have the whistle blown on their own misgivings.
But what does it say about the state of the NCAA when the general public is no longer disgusted or surprised about the dirty underside of the college game?
It says this big business needs a change ó not because itís not successful ó but because it is so successful.
While the NCAA deems itself as an institution which prepares student-athletes for the future by giving them a means to an education, the college game is quickly becoming a professional league ó regardless of what the bigs sitting in the NCAA offices have to say. The truth is out on the field for all those to see.
If it truly was an amateur event, the widespread transfers, coaching defections and all-out recruiting wars would not happen. Those signing-day specials where high school athletes sit at a table and put on a hat of the college they are committing to in front of live cameras? Yea, that wouldnít happen either.
Itís time to call college football what it is ó an extension of the National Football League.
Itís hard to control the laughter when players are walking into the press room and referred to as student athletes because they arenít. These players are actually working over 40 hours a week when practice, travel and games are involved.
Thatís not even including class work, oh you know, the reason they are supposed to at an institution of higher learning.
But instead that is put on the back-burner while the more important stuff ó like prime-time games ó take the priority.
Now make no mistake about it, I love college sports. There is nothing quite like the atmosphere a college football and basketball game can bring. Take a look at the Siegal Center when Virginia Commonwealth University hosts its first game this season.
Watch Notre Dame Stadium erupt in a sea of pride in a few short weeks when the Fighting Irish host their rivals, the USC Trojans. Itís a scene that cannot be replicated in the professional ranks. The passion is not the same.
Itís why we need to protect the integrity of the college game before itís too late.
And how can we do this?
Go back to the most controversial and debated aspect of college athletics ó pay the athletes.
Yes, they are already paid in tuition, room and board, but that isnít enough.
Itís not enough compensation for the time they are putting. Unlike other students who have enough time to work part-time jobs on or off-campus, athletes barely have enough time to do their own work ó just ask Oklahoma State.
Do they need an exorbitant amount of cash? Definitely not. College athletic
programs lose too much money when it comes to fielding different programs.
But they should receive a stipend thatís enough for them to get food, go to the movies, in other words, be a college student.
Then, and only then, will these constant reports of athletic programs committing violations start to trend downward and the public can then focus on the incredible games which take place year-in and year-out.