Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Jason Douglas Lewis

Please do not argue with the Sports Editor, it's like thinking that college sports are pure. It's just a bad idea. Illustration by David G. Brown

"Lack of institutional control" could be said for the NCAA itself. Photo by Jeff Lewis

On the Soap Box: The NCAA from top to bottom is dirty

From NCAA officials, universities, coaches, to players, college sports stinks.

By Jason Lewis
Sentinel Sports Editor
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College sports are supposed to be pure, where athletes play for the love of the game while receiving an education. The excitement generated by undergrads and alumni creates an atmosphere that profession sports cannot duplicate.

But these great sports that Americans have loved for over 100 years, they are rotting all the way down to the core.

NCAA officials hand out unfair punishments, coaches turn a blind eye to violations, and players are on the take.

College football has been all over the news for various transgressions as of late, namely USC and Ohio St.

Both universities were in the wrong. USC was rightfully punished, and Ohio St. has something major coming their way when the NCAA finally rules on them.

But one thing does not sit right. The NCAA already dropped the hammer on USC by giving them a two-year bowl ban, taking away 30 scholarships, and now stripping them of their 2004 BCS national title. And Ohio St. will more than likely have a similar penalty. But neither team gained a single competitive advantage.

Reggie Bush was already at USC when he took money, a car, and his parents were put up in an expensive home and flown all over the country to watch USC play.

If Bush had been lured to USC with these gifts, then that's a competitive advantage, because he may have chosen another school without those gifts. But Bush was already a star player when the extra benefits came his way from outside of the program.

So why is USC being stripped of a title, and their program nearly receiving the death penalty, when the infractions did not help them win a single game?

USC had to be punished, because if they were not then any coach can allow a person outside of the program to pay his athletes and then act like he did not know what was going on. Coaches have to know what is going on in their program, and Pete Carroll was not paying close enough attention. So USC had to take a ding. But the penalty that they received was extremely excessive.

The same can be said for what ever penalty Ohio St. receives. Like USC, they did not receive a competitive advantage from players trading championship rings for tattoos. It seems pretty silly that a player cannot sell or trade his own property in the first place.

Should Ohio St. be punished? Yes, they should. Their players did more than just sell or trade their own merchandise. There have been reports that the players were getting special deals on cars from a local dealer, and quarterback Terrelle Pryor has been seen driving eight different cars.

Also, Jim Tressel, who recently resigned as the Ohio St. head coach, tried to cover up the violations and lied to NCAA investigators about having any knowledge of his players' actions.

The players in question and Tressel were all suspended for the first five games of this coming season, which seems like punishment enough. But that program is pretty much going to be shut down, just like USC has been, for committing violations that did not help them on the field.

The NCAA is impossible to understand. They let these same Ohio St. athletes play in the Sugar Bowl this past season, even though they knew about the violations. Losing marquee names would have been bad for one of their BCS games, so they let them all play. What kind of sense does that make?

The Cam Newton situation at Auburn last season was also hard to believe. It was well known that his father was asking for $180,000 for his son to sign with a program, but the NCAA still let him play.

Newton acted like he did not know what his father was doing, but that is extremely hard to believe, and the NCAA just turned a blind eye to it all. Most likely to protect their BCS National Championship Game.

Without Newton Auburn would not have made it that far, putting TCU in the title game. The NCAA clearly does not want any non-BCS conference team in their title game, so they were willing to allow a player who potentially was on the take play.

If Newton's father received funds for his son to play at Auburn, then Auburn clearly received a competitive advantage. Will they receive a similar punishment as USC, and as Ohio St. most likely will be getting? Seems Auburn should get a much stiffer penalty, but the NCAA might have already closed that case.

Lets not leave the players out of all of this. Many of them are on the take in some fashion. Some, like Bush, more than others.

Many people seem to believe that paying the athletes would solve all of these problems, but in reality it would just cause more problems. Players would still look for improper benefits. They would still find ways to get a little, or a lot, extra.

People who say that they enjoy watching college sports more because it is pure, you can miss me on that one. I'll watch the pros, where for the most part, every body is abiding by the rules.


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Category: On the Soap Box



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