Agents, pay to play, free cars, free houses, memorabilia for tattoos…the list can go and on in this seemingly unending stream of recent scandals in college sports. There is no doubt that there is a severe lack of institutional control all over college sports, and I’m not talking about the universities found guilty of violations, I’m talking about the NCAA itself.
The NCAA is only able to handle these issues after the fact, and seemingly arbitrarily at that. Look, as a ND fan, I enjoy the USC sanctions as much as anyone, but as of right now, the majority of the people suffering are the kids that did nothing wrong. Reggie Bush still has his high-dollar NFL contract, and even though his Heisman was stripped, he still has his Super Bowl ring. Pete Carroll skipped town to sneak the below-.500 Seahawks into the NFL playoffs. Hell, if we even go back to the Pony Express scandal, it sure looks like Craig James is doing quite well, he’s still (somehow) employed by ESPN (and helped destroy another coach’s career as well).
More recently, Ohio State is bracing themselves for their own fate at the hands of the NCAA. The same thing will happen there. Tressel may or may not ever get a coaching job again, but, even if his name is forever mud, he can easily retire very comfortably. And Pryor? He can rid off into the supplemental draft and grab himself an NFL contract and avoid all retribution at the hands of the NCAA. Again, the teammates left behind will suffer.
There is no doubt the NCAA has major issues: the system itself is broken. However, the “solution” that seems to continue to be tossed around to fix the problem might be the worst idea possible and that’s paying the players. I even saw on Twitter today that the ‘Ol Ball Coach thinks it is a good idea as well.
That is what prompted this series of posts. Personally, I am completely against the idea, and this series will examine the issue and upon conclusion, attempt to examine possible solutions for this major issue. In my mind, the only real way to make some serious progress will be to get past the idea of paying the players and try to get to the real root of the issue.
I have no real schedule for how often these posts will happen or how many I will make. I tried to do one initial post on this and my research has already lead to ideas for a handful of shorter posts instead of a long novel. Keep an eye out for them, it should be a rather interesting discussion.