Shut Down the NCAA

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There comes a time when you think a supposed professional organization is a joke and even borderline corrupt, but then they do that one last thing to remove all doubt. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) took that final step yesterday. The body that governs major collegiate athletics decided to suspend Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel for one-half of his team’s first game of the season. The reason was that he received approximately $10,000 for signing autographs. Maybe some would think there’s nothing wrong with a player getting paid for his autograph. I’d completely agree, I don’t see a problem with it either other than a possibly slippery slope, it is against the NCAA’s rules to do so. But, that isn’t the point. The problem for the NCAA is that Manziel is last year’s Heisman Award winner, which goes to college football’s best player and was the first player to ever win the award as a freshman. So the NCAA has quite a bit riding on this kid being on the field and playing football.

The real problem here is how the NCAA has meted out justice in the past. I’m not going to go as far as to say that this is a black/white issue, though I’m sure some would say that I’d be an idiot for not recognizing the tie. In the past, the NCAA suspended then-Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant for 10 games simply for lying to them. Bryant went out to dinner with former NFL player Deion Sanders. That in itself is not against NCAA rules if Bryant paid his own way, which reportedly he did. However when the NCAA investigated, Bryant lied about it and got a 10 game suspension.

In a case similar to Manziel’s, then-Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor exchanged football memorabilia for tattoos and got a 5 game suspension from the NCAA.

Why the difference? One player gets investigated, gets nervous and doesn’t tell the truth and that’s worth 10 games. Another player trades jerseys, footballs and rings for tattoos and that’s worth 5 games. Manziel takes cash for autographs and that’s worth one half of one game?

We see far too many times where the NCAA acts only in its best interests and not that of the student-athlete, as it purports, or is at a minimum highly hypocritical in its actions. Another example of this is where the players are allowed no cash compensation for their ability to play the game, or anything else that surrounds that, like jersey sales or autographs. Yet the NCAA and the players’ school has no problem making millions off things like televising March Madness and selling school jerseys with a specific player’s name and number on them.

When an organization like the NCAA has gone so far in its hypocrisy and unfair justice system, it has outlived its usefulness and no is no longer capable of acting is its stated mission of supporting student-athletes. Simply shut down the NCAA.



  • Patrick –

    You should be a bit more careful with your wording – "The reason was that he received approximately $10,000 for signing autographs."

    According to both the school and NCAA – "there is no evidence Manziel received monetary reward in exchange for autographs."

    So, Manziel is at best 'allegedly' thought to have been paid. The NCAA did reserve the right to punish Manziel if additional evidence is uncovered, despite what some reporters have said.

    He was punished for violating the rule that probhibits signing memorabilia probably intended for re-sale by the receiver (Manziel should have known that 4,000 items was probably a clue that some of the items were meant for sale). The school was punished for not "educating" players to know.

    In theory, the school and Manziel could have fought it and probably avoided any penalty. But this is no different than cities and towns face when trying to discipline union workers caught blatantly doing something wrong. The process would not be good for either so you settle, just like what happens with union workers.

    We'll see if more evidence comes to light, just like with Reggie Bush in the past. But before you throw the race card to far, I give you Cam Newton as another example of a high profile QB who avoided penalty.

    I'd would also say the "similarity" between Manziel and Pyror is not as simple as your statement. For one thing, OSU (Coach Tressel) was complicit in knowing about the violation and there was a pattern with those players. But the real hypocrisy with Pryor (along with the 4 others involved) was that the NCAA allowed them to play in their high profile Sugar Bowl/BCS game and then suspended them for the 5 games the next season.

    I do agree though that the explosion of money has made a big of a mockery of the "athletes are getting the value of a college education" line when it comes to a certain sports.

    My suggestion is allow the athletes to earn some money from the items directly tied to their name/image, but escrow the funds until the athlete graduates with a degree. That would not stop the big time athletes who are most likely to make a pro team might restore a little balance.

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