<p>Earlier this month the NCAA reprimanded USC for various violations, placed them on probation, and banned them from postseason play for two years. The NCAA will also be stripping them of their records from 2004-2005, including their National Championship. Likewise, former Trojan running back Reggie Bush will have to relinquish his 2005 Heisman Trophy. So in case you missed it, the NCAA is pilling us in Doc Brown’s time machine, taking us back to 2005, and saying all those games didn’t happen because that’s how it works right? Those players and coaches didn’t prepare for that game because Bush took inappropriate gifts? Riiiight, like he was the only player on the 2005 Trojans driving a souped-up car and having his folks on the USC payroll.</p>
<p>The NCAA will continue to have these sorts of problems until they realize what the central issue is—they need to let these kids have jobs and earn some money while they’re in school. The universities are only partly to blame in this whole debacle; most of the blame can be laid squarely on the NCAA. On the hypocritical scale the NCAA is a 9, just behind ‘Gal Sharpton’ (Note: Jason Whitlock’s name for Sarah Palin not mine) parading her children around the campaign trail while telling the public that involving them in political banter was “off limits.” The NCAA makes millions of dollars off of athletes like Reggie Bush, Mark Ingram, and a slew of other big name players with marketable talent. Then they have the gall to tell them, “No, no boys; I know you’re going to sign large contracts one day, but until then forget about filet, it’s Mickey Ds and Taco Bell while you’re here. Oh, but we’ll be dining at Morton’s and the Capital Grille with the folks at CBS, ABC and Fox while they pay for our glass of Louis XIIII.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that the equivalent of prostitutes telling strippers to clean up their act?</p>
<p>Student-athletes are more like athlete-students. Case and point: In the movie Blue Chips, Neon Bodo (Shaq) is walking with head coach Pete Bell (Nick Nolte) and he asks Coach Bell, “If I wasn’t playing basketball would be trying to get me into college?” Bell replies, “Ah, no.” Which gets this response from Neon: “You know what? At least you’re honest.” This is exactly the mind state of real-life college coaches.</p>
<p>This is the reality of college sports. I highly doubt the NCAA had Reggie Bush’s best interest in mind when doling out the punishment to USC. The punishment was about something else—image. The NCAA needs its pristine image and lord help the individuals or groups who tarnish it. For the longest time the elephant in the room has been the notion that no one is on the take; what’s most surprising is that with almost every school on the take that more schools aren’t being caught.</p>
<p>I’m not advocating letting agents in, but they’re getting in anyway. The kids will always be tempted to take gifts from people they shouldn’t. It’s like drinking on campus; do school officials really think having a dry campus is going to stop kids from drinking? Only the naïve actually believe that. If college athletes like Bush and Ingram were allowed to have summer jobs or even jobs on campus like the rest of the student body, perhaps Bush would still have his Heisman and the NCAA sanctions and rules would be taken seriously.</p>
Fan Hub Action
Jeanne-Marie Jansen Lowell May 23rd
Greatest relief pitcher EVER! Someday we can all tell our grandchildren we got to see him pitch. A true legend!
Charlie Lobosco May 23rd
Ask Craig; I’ll say it again; not the best relief pitcher ever; the best MLB player ever. Yes, that includes everyone.
Jim Lowell May 23rd
Great tribute to a great player, a great Yankee, and a great man.Thank you!
Frank Lowell May 23rd
Great job, Ryan! As a life-long Yankee hater since the 1950’s in the closing days of the Brooklyn Dodgers, I can only sit back and…
Tiffany Riddle May 23rd
Love the article, and I completely agree!
Michael T Carr May 16th
Another good article, Craig Lowell.
Charlie Lobosco May 1st
This is a very compelling story because Mr. Collins is a very passionate, tough, intelligent, athelete taking on some additional responsibliity to help others as…
Scott Cohen May 1st
Charlie.. very well said.. he does have guts
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