The sports world turns hourly, at times by the minute. The urgent needs of the fan for wanting up to the minute NFL training camp updates, pics of Dwight Howard with Hakeem Olajuwon, or how fit Wayne Rooney is, has turned us into “meat peepers” (word to Bomani Jones) of the highest order. For an aspiring "journalist" such as myself, the delicate balance of what to tweet or write about has been most challenging to date. I’m not a writer per say; no formal training, school or special skill. I mainly sit down, think, and write. It just flows. Most of my writing has been my thoughts, my opinions, how I feel and shit. Reading my "colleagues" blurbs for the most part, reads like a regurgitation of facts I see on any given (Insert sports channel here) crawl screen. I’m not a predictor; I’m an analyst (word to Bob Ryan). I know what happened; now tell me WHY you think it happened.
The ongoing saga of the NCAA vs. The World got my gears grinding as I’ve had several face to face and Twitter interactions regarding this topic. Quick recap: Ed O'Bannon, former UCLA basketball great filed a lawsuit vs. the NCAA in 2009 alleging unlawful use of his likeness in video games, NCAA gear, etc. He tells the story on HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel (My Mans!!) about how the idea came from a friend of his while playing video games. In the last four years, from AJ Green to Johnny Manziel, the shift in paying amateur athletes (mostly focusing on football and basketball players) has reached a crescendo, pairing coaches like South Carolina's Steve Spurrier (for paying athletes) and Oklahoma's Bob Stoops (against paying athletes) on opposite sides of the argument. The main argument for paying athletes is that they receive room, board, tuition, access to high levels of education and the finest facilities. The people that agree with me contend that BILLIONS of dollars are being made off the backs of young men for free. The coaches make money. The schools make money. Athletic apparel companies are making money by the bushels. Fans and booster clubs also benefit financially. Everyone except for the players. Why? How come none of this can be shared?
Let’s go back to 1999 and the situation surrounding Andy Katzenmoyer. An All-American LB for Ohio State University in the mid-90s, he was one of the poster children for hypocrisy of the NCAA whenever they state their concerns regarding the student athlete. Katzenmoyer needed to pull his grades up in order to be eligible for the season. Ohio State enabled this by enrolling him in classes such as Golf, and AIDS: What Every College Student Should Know. These seem rather easy to pass, but it also shows the levels of concern and focus for these young men. Andy countered and said that he should be allowed to major in Football. There are certainly types of classes that could put you on the path to being an executive, or someone in the front office. Whether Andy was serious or not is not my concern, I thought it was an interesting approach to resolving a matter.
In 2012, Steve Spurrier said that coaches make enough money to pay players at least $300 a game. For 70 players, that equals $21,000 per game and $300,000 for a team that plays 14 games a season. While all teams can’t afford to do that, it is refreshing to hear a coach be a part of the solution as opposed to being the oppressor like Stoops for example. "Control the kids by keeping them poor" is what this smells like. Kudos also to Nick Saban, Will Muschamp, Dan Mullen, and Derek Dooley for riding with Steve Spurrier on this as well. Jay Bilas gets some love for his Twitter run a week ago in which he exposed the deception of the NCAA by broadcasting their website as a bunch of frauds for selling player merchandise on its website. Searches of McCarron, Mathieu, Clowney, and Murray for example turned up various jerseys and other memorabilia that can be sold to fans for large amounts of dollars. Not offended by that? Try this. The same website was selling Reggie Bush autographed items for THOUSANDS of dollars. The same Reggie Bush whom the NCAA eradicated from its history books for monetarily capitalizing on his skills while at USC.
The NCAA can and Bush cant? Did I miss something here? Also, on the site, for $1,500 you can get a LaDainian Tomlinson autographed TCU jersey. I’m sorry; does LDT get a check from that? He’s 15 years removed from college, how is that right? NCAA president Mark Emmert quickly got rid of the site, saying "It’s not something that’s core to what the NCAA is about, and it probably never should have been in the business". Really Mark? As the great Mike Wilbon says, the NCAA is Barney Fife (Google Youngins!) and so inept that they rely on the media to do their job. They have no power of subpoena and no legal standing to protect their tax status, so what are they paying Emmert $1.3 million for? I have no idea.
Maybe athletes would take academics more seriously if the lone reason they came to college (in this case football) would also be included in their academic pursuits. Financial classes for example, maybe a Sociology degree path of some sort. A pie in the sky thought sure, but what else has worked? There’s a lot of jealousy and envy at the heart of this. If you’re not on the side of the players, you’re with Barney Fife, and even in Mayberry, that’s Un-American.
Born in Dayton, Ohio but raised in Dallas. D.A. is no pushover