The USC Sports Scandals centering around former basketball player O.J. Mayo and Heisman Trophy Winner Reggie Bush are just the latest pitfalls as to what's really wrong with major collegiate athletics.
The whole system is completely corrupt!
When it comes to major revenue sports such as football and basketball, it's hard to name a major university which hasn't had problems over the years.
What factor is attributed to all of these probation's that have led to reduction of scholarships, revocation of wins, championship banners removed from the rafters and no participation in future post-season games, statistics not counting in the team's record books, etc.?
Money! Cash! Money! Cash!
Who is taking advantage of who?
To me, the answer is simple.
The university's are making tons of money off the athletes and it appears as though the student falls short on cash because rules prohibit them from accepting part-time jobs to dedicate themselves to work in the classroom and practice time.
There is no question that there is such a high premium placed on winning that there isn't enough time to hold a job. Therefore, athletes turn to boosters and other avenues as a way to put money in their pocket to get buy.
The NCAA has to increase the value of the scholarship and pay the athletes some extra money. It may not solve the problem but it should help take the pressure off.
Yet, being a former college student myself at the University of South Florida, it's permissible for other students to work jobs but not athletes. I had friends that had academic scholarships that worked as well and as long as their grades were high enough, there was no problem.
While the immediate focus is on USC Athletics and what doesn't help matters is the fact that former Coach Pete Carroll returned to the NFL to run the Seattle Seahawks operation perhaps anticipating there would be severe sanctions coming, thus it was tough to turn down the millions he'd get in the pros, I'm going to name a bunch of schools that have crossed the line over the years in both basketball and football.
There is a reason that Rick Pitino's name hangs in the rafters at Rupp Arena. In 1989, he rescued the program from a major recruiting scandal by former Coach Eddie Sutton and led the Kentucky Wildcats to a national championship in 1996. It was the school's first in 18 years.
The reason that Kelvin Sampson is an assistant coach in the NBA is he has the dubious distinction of bringing down the Oklahoma Sooners and the Indiana Hoosiers.
For years, Bobby Knight ran a clean program and won three national championships for Indiana. Now Tom Crean, who was hired on April 1, 2008, must feel like an April fool because of the mess that he inherited with the Hoosiers.
The Michigan Wolverines Basketball scandal centered around booster Ed Martin which led to the firing of Coach Steve Fisher in 1997.
Four eventual pro players, Chris Webber, Louis Bullock, Maurice Taylor and Robert Traylor borrowed a total of $616,000. This scandal cost the Wolverines the 1997 National Invitation Tournament, the 1998 Big Ten Championship, as well as appearances in 1992 and 1993 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament Final Fours. The program hasn't been the same since. Yet, the players moved on and made their money.
Over the years, the following football programs have faced the wrath of the penalties levied by the NCAA.
Oklahoma, Auburn, Alabama, the Miami Hurricanes, Florida Gators and Michigan State Spartans have had the hammer drop on them.
Nobody in Gainesville is saying anything nice about Charley Pell who caused the Gators aggravation in the late 1970's and early 1980's as Pell was suspected of 107 infractions and was fired three games into the 1984 season. He was replaced by Galen Hall, who won the SEC Championship, only to see that title stripped because of the violations.
Darryl Rogers bailed the Spartans out of some tough times after inheriting a mess left behind from Coach Denny Stolz in the 1970's.
The list of problems goes on and on. Yet, we know the reasons for them. The NCAA has no problem forcing schools to vacate titles, scrap past records, etc.
But lets face the reality, the NCAA profited on all of these scandals. They made money just has baseball did during the steroid era. You can't erase the memories for those who witnessed these moments.
In the NCAA's eyes, the games never happened, therefore, the tapes and videos should be destroyed and never be shown again on ESPN Classic.
Refunds should be granted to those that deserve them, yet we know that would never happen. The Media Guides have become wasted paper.
College coaches have become the highest paid baby sitters.
For every Butch Davis that turns the fortunes around like he did with the Miami Hurricanes, only to see Larry Coker win the national championship, there are the politics of a flawed system which forces these men to consider playing ping pong on whether to stay in college or go to the pros.
Michigan State Basketball Coach Tom Izzo is facing the toughest decision of his life whether to stay employed at $3 million per year until 2016 or double his salary to $6 million working for the Cleveland Cavaliers Owner & Spartans alumnus Dan Gilbert on a 4-5 year contract.
For Izzo, if he makes the jump to the NBA, all he has to do is coach.
Izzo knows that while he's done an outstanding job running a clean program, it takes one major incident to wreck a situation.
Current Gators Basketball Coach Billy Donovan has all of the security he needs but did leave to take the Orlando Magic job, however, he changed his mind to stay in school in 2007.
Izzo must be going through this right now talking to close family and friends.
With the recent football firings this past year, and current conference realignment leading to the emphasis on super conferences, the whole system is flawed.
The NCAA will continue to exploit its players to make profits and the coaches and players are the monkeys in the middle of all the politics.
Before I criticize USC and the tough job Coach Lane Kiffin has in front of him and if he thought working for Oakland Raiders Owner Al Davis was tough, then this challenge is much more difficult therefore, I'm not going to be as hard on the Trojans because over the years there is one logical explanation.
NCAA Sports Are Corrupt!
Scott Morganroth can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and his blog can be seen at www.scottsports33.com.
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