The NCAA is punishing schools like USC, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and investigating numerous others for “improper benefits” received by athletes. There are rules that must be followed by student athletes and the schools that they attend. The NCAA has recently suspended players, put schools on probation, restricted scholarships, and banned teams from bowl games for violations regarding agents. Schools that are accused of wrong doing are cited for having “lack of institutional control”, but the NCAA’s definition of “lack of institutional control” baffles me. I think Bryant Gumbel said it best on Real Sports (full article):
“I’m no legal expert, not by a long shot, but I do believe that driving drunk, robbing a convenience store, and hitting your girlfriend are all worse offenses than dealing with an agent. Most people would agree with that I think, except, it seems, the folks in charge of college football.
How else to explain the fact that the USC Trojans are currently on NCAA probation while the Florida Gators are not, even though Florida’s program has seen 27 different players arrested during the short tenure of Coach Urban Meyer. That’s right, by NCAA standards, 27 arrests merit not so much as an official reprimand. But dealing with a prospective agent prematurely, as former Trojan Reggie Bush did, gets your program punished for four years.
“It’s not just about USC. NCAA investigations are ongoing at the Universities of Georgia, Alabama and North Carolina for the same kind of premature conversation with agents that Bush had. And it’s not just about Florida. Players at Pittsburgh, Missouri, Tennessee, Oklahoma State, Southern Mississippi, UCLA and elsewhere have also been arrested this year. But all of those programs are, by NCAA standards, in full compliance.”
I do not think that Universities should be allowed to run freely just because no players are being arrested. I do think it is a BIG problem when you are paying so much attention to a couple hundred dollars here and there when there are much bigger problems. How do u ignore so many players being arrested at one place? If anything is a “lack of institutional control” 27 players arrested is. College kids are not going to be perfect but the NCAA needs to step in and do something effective, not just putting a bandaid on a gash. Some of the fault does fall on the universities shoulders, but the schools have so much money at risk with their programs winning that they cannot always be trusted to do the right thing to insure “institutional control”. College athletes need to make better choices and not do anything they know to be against the rules, or will jeopardize their eligibility and embarrass the program. But the reality is, teenagers with little money and a lot of needs are not always going to and shouldn’t be expected to always make good decisions when tempted with money and gifts by agents. Sometimes adults don’t even make good decisions when faced with temptation to receive money or “extra benefits” so how can you expect college kids to? If you want players to stop taking gifts from agents, punish the agents. If agents are heavily punished by the NFLPA for giving student athletes “extra benefits” I guarantee you will see this problem virtually eliminated.
This is not a Florida Gators bash session. I’m just wagging my finger at the NCAA. They sometimes draw a hard line on things that don’t seem to be a big deal, but turn around and ignore glaring problems staring them right in the face.