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.