January 24th, 2013 01:42 PM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt
Tags: Jay Bilas, Miami, NASCAR, NCAA
Yesterday the NCAA admitted that some overzealous sleuths withing its ranks overstepped their bounds while investigating the University of Miami’s athletic department. That admission has predictably led to a wave of new “Fix the NCAA!” stories from one coast to the other.
One problem: There is no simple cure-all for what ails college athletics.
There’s no bottle of Witch Hazel to drink. Or to pour on stains. Or to wash one’s hair with.
There’s no magic elixir. Not even the paying of players would act as a silver bullet, yet that was the first solution kicked around firstest by the mostest.
The problem with schools paying players is that not all schools can actually afford to pay players. And which athletes would they pay if they could? Just the kids from revenue sports? Get ready for lawsuits if that’s the plan. Just men? Get ready for even more lawsuits.
Also, if all schools were allowed to pay players X amount, there would still need to be some type of policing agency to make sure one school wasn’t paying X + Y. If it’s legal to provide cake, someone’s gonna try to provide icing. On that you can bank.
Another possible plan involves instituting an Olympic style system to college sports. Andy Staples of SI.com and Jay Bilas of ESPN are proponents of that design. As sharp as those two men are, the Olympic model would only create new problems as it solved old ones. If boosters and businessmen were allowed to pay to players — so long as their favorite schools did not — you’d wind up with bidding wars for athletes. And even if you hold your nose and pretend that the idea of full-scale, above-ground bidding wars doesn’t stink, you would still have to deal with problems that would be imported from the ranks of professional sports.
What happens the first time a lowly-paid athlete surprises everyone with a thousand rushing yards in a season? Here’s guessing he’d ask for more money. If he didn’t get that money, might he hold out just like his heroes in the pros do? Someone eventually would.
And if you’re A-OK with hold-outs as part of the college game, what about transfers? Let’s say it’s up to the boosters and business-owners backing a school to decide whether or not to give the hotshot tailback a raise. And let’s say they decide not to pony up the cash he desires. Can the player simply leave to play elsewhere? Is there a contract between the player, the booster, and the school preventing the player from cutting a better deal with another program? Would there be a governing body to prevent such free agency? Or are the NCAA’s transfer rules just as outdated as its views on amateurism are said to be?
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