Taylor Hawkins Sports EditorWith the expanded growth and success of collegiate sports like football and basketball, the NCAA has had to work overtime to make sure that athletes aren’t bribed with money or lavish gifts to attend certain schools.
The Cam Newton debacle was a recent scandal that comes to mind when thinking about NCAA investigations. Although Newton was never penalized in the proceedings, it was obvious that shady dealings were going on.
In the past, alumni have been known to buy off players to maintain a certain level of athletic excellence. A notable example of this was the SMU program pre-death penalty.
The NCAA has made it their quest to put an end to the old wild west style of paying off players. The problem is there is no consistency in what they do.
Another, more recent, incident occurred at the University of Portland. The mighty NCAA came down on a lady golfer for washing her car on campus with university water.
The golfer was forced to pay a $20 fee which was supposed to be the amount of money that the water was worth plus a usage fee for the hose.
I do not know her financial circumstances, but I do know how far $20 can go for a college student. For some students, that is the cost of the next meal or gas money to travel home. Besides, when has anyone ever had to pay $20 to wash their own car?
At times, the NCAA seems quite similar to the Sheriff of Nottingham. They steal from the poor, while leaving the rich to maintain their lifestyles.
They will exert their power over a lowly school like the University of Portland while programs like Auburn University are given special treatment because of the money their sports programs generate.
Students are caught in the cross-fire between right and wrong. If the school goes to the parents and discreetly sets up a deal, the kids are the ones who suffer.
When a young man, or woman, comes from a poor household and his family needs money for food to make it to the next day, how can he or she turn down these lucrative, discreet offers?
Even students who are in school must worry about finding “anonymous” envelopes full of cash in their lockers after big games. If they are caught,. they could lose their eligibility and, subsequently, their scholarship.
We as fans are so quick to judge a kid for receiving illegal benefits from alumni when we have no idea the social situations from which they come. They may not be able to call mom and dad to have some money put into their account.
For those who went to college, did you stay in your dorm/apartment every night and study because you were broke, or did you do what was necessary to scrape some money together and enjoy the college life?
People who say college life is only about getting an education in the classroom are sorely mistaken. College is where you face the beginnings of adulthood and, yes, even make mistakes in the hopes that you learn from them. The lessons learned outside of the classroom are often more important than the ones learned in them.
I’ve always been against paying NCAA players, but as I grow older, I’ve started to realize that maybe these kids need it. I’m not talking tens of thousands here, buy maybe a couple of hundred bucks here or there will fix the problem.
After expenses, the University of Texas made 77.9 million dollars in football only. Not a dollar went to the players who risked their health to perform at a level to try and create their future.
There are 85 scholarship players on a D-I football team. If every player got $100 a month, it would add up to roughly $102,000. That isn’t even a dent in the revenue.
Now I know that not every institute has the same funds as UT, but it’s asinine to believe they could not find the funding to help the students out.
So for once give the kids a break. Allow the human element to slip past these rigid, intense rules.
Stop finding reasons to bring down the student, and find a way to fix the flawed system.