Thoughts on the NCAA and its role in college football

Norwalk's picture
August 19, 2013 at 11:16p

     Over the past few years there seems to be a growing sentiment that college football would be better off without the NCAA. I get it...NC, Miami, Auburn, Johnny Foosball, and the USMC, to name just a few of the recent investigations and decisions the NCAA screwed up. From what I've seen and read the problem isn't with the NCAA rules (which the member schools write and approve), the problem is that the NCAA has no subpoena authority and is left to the mercy of whistle blowers, court records, and self-reporting to investigate and enforce rules infractions. The current system is full of holes and easy to game. e.g.. Newtons' church miraculously generous offerings, UNC's African Studies program, Miami's boats and hoes, Reggie Bush's flat screens,cars and plane tickets, Mo C's test drive, and T.P.'s Pennsylvania sugar daddy "mentor." I'm not trying to defend recent actions (or inactions) of the NCAA, but I would hate to see college football without strong amateurism rules and a governing/enforcing body. I would support rule changes to allow parents to attend recruiting trips with their kids on the school's dime, stipends for athletes in revenue generating sports, and a ban on schools and the NCAA from using student athletes names or images to generate revenue but I do not want to see athletes profit from their participation in college sports while in school. I do not want to see the day when football players decide: to attend Oregon because they are offered Nike contracts, Maryland because they will be doing commercials for Under Armour, or God forbid.. The Ohio State University because they will be featured in a Victoria's Secret spread. I guess my concern is that if rules aren't in place and enforced, recruiting will become a bidding war, non-revenue sports will suffer, and college football will become nothing more than an NFL minor league. I still like the idea (maybe a myth) of watching amateur college students on scholarship play football on Saturdays. I don't think I would watch minor league football unless it was dime-a-dog night. I hope the member schools wake up and fix the NCAA before it is too late. When members of the PSU board of trustees or aTm President lawyer up and threaten the NCAA because the NCAA is punishing them or investigating their players it should cost them their membership. When schools like UNC, Miami, and Auburn stonewall investigations there should be consequences. Instead of bad-mouthing their organization, the short sighted NCAA member schools need to get their acts together and strengthen their rules enforcement and stop competing to find ways to undermine it before their cash cow dries up.

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BuckeyePoetLaureate's picture

I agree with you in a number of ways.  College football is supposed to be students who play football.  I met a number of student athletes when I was in grad school at Ohio State and I admire so many of them a great deal.  The vast majority are leaving their hearts on the field and working their tails off in the classroom, as well.  A lot of them hope that their OSU career will result in some kind of professional action in their sport, but they are above all dedicated to improving themselves as human beings.  (Which is really the point of the university in the first place.)
I LOVE minor league baseball, but I simply don't get as excited for the teams I follow as I do for Ohio State.  Why?  Because OHIO STATE represents the whole of Buckeye Nation as well as the hundreds of thousands of Buckeyes across the nation.  (And the world!)  The Toledo Mud Hens?  I love 'em, but the players represent the Tigers and their hometowns or home countries and to them, Toledo is a waystation to the majors, not a final destination.  While MANY Buckeye football players are hoping to make it to the NFL, I think a lot of them understand that those Saturdays ARE their major leagues.  Look at how many Buckeyes have made wonderful lives giving back to the community and living their professional lives in the bright light of their Buckeyes glory.
While there certainly are problems with the current NCAA, I do think that we need to maintain the amateur policy with regard to college athletics.  While football and basketball are the moneymakers (for some schools), those who play other sports benefit greatly.  I don't think any of us want an even more divided system of football haves and have-nots.  When Appalachian State beat Michigan, they got a little bit of money that did a lot of good for their whole athletics programs.  (That team also earned bragging rights and our everlasting love.)  None of us want a college football landscape in which the only relevant teams are Ohio State, Arkansas, Texas, Florida, Notre Dame and the other "big boys."

Proud alumnus of the Ohio State Creative Writing MFA Program.  Creator of the writing craft site Great Writers Steal.

Toilrt Paper's picture

Not that there can't, but should be changes made, but IMO another brand new governing body would be twice as bad, starting from scratch. Remember this is what the coaches, ADs and Presidents want. The NCAA works at their bidding. I'm sure the change in ruling on the ex-Marine came to a swift change in a directive from the coaches, ADs, and Presidents. They should ALSO be leading the way in penalizing Johnny football, in a timely manner. However, all I's must be dotted and T's crossed correctly or it could cost the NCAA a fortune in lawsuits.

BuckGnome's picture

I respect your opinion, but I don't agree.  The NCAA needs to make significant changes to their 'amateurism' rules.  As things stand now, the whole dog and pony show is a farce.  It's naive to believe in 2013 star college athletes aren't getting preferential treatment or profiting somehow off their abilities and fame.  Does anyone really believe TP & Co's worst offenses were trading some bling for tats???  This is going on all over the country and the worst kept secret in major college sports.   The NCAA is pretty much powerless against the free market.  It's inept attempts of NCAA rule enforcement are pathetic.  On one end, Cam Newton and Auburn get off scot free, while other athletes get ruled ineligible for ridiculous reasons.  See "The NCAA's Perfectly Fare Rules."
Realistically, I don't have a problem with what Manziel did.  I'm more bothered by the illusion the NCAA keeps trying to preserve.  If Johnny Football can make some $$$ from selling his own autograph, good for him.   That the NCAA basically owns his name and likeness while he and other athletes are in college is laughable.   I hope the O'bannon case results in the scrapping of this concept.  I'm not saying the schools should pay athletes, although I'm open to ideas in that area.   If a kid on his own time without using school logos/uniforms has the ability to make money tho, the NCAA needs to get out of the way.

Toilrt Paper's picture

First of all, there is NO WAY college coaches, ADs and Presidents will allow players to spend most of their time in college signing, hustling and selling all things related to their sports. They must go to classes, study for those subjects and oh ya, lift, workout, watch film, and practice for their sports. The best those of your ilk can hope for is a stipend of some agreed amount for not only the star QBs and running backs and leading basketball scorers, but every other player on the teams. It would ABSOLUTELY kill the concept of "TEAM" if only some got paid or some got paid considerably more than others.
You have heard of Title Nine right? Whatever someone decides football and basketball players are going to receive, then ALL female athletes MUST get the same. 90% of colleges can't afford to pay all football and basketball players let alone ALL female athletes as well.
Would you have a problem if Manziel had an agent who paid him $10,000/month until he went pro? There is an NCAA rule against BOTH. Breaking ANY rule or law, just because you think it isn't fair is RIDICULOUSLY STUPID and would lead to athletic anarchy. Work to change rules and laws you don't think are fair. Don't just willy nilly thumb your nose at those rules or laws.

BuckGnome's picture

People of my "ilk" realize and accept the current NCAA's amateurism policies are outdated, often unfair, and ineptly enforced.    I do agree with you that AD'S and Presidents will fight changes tooth and nail.  At the end of the day, though, they might not have a choice.   If the O'bannon case get's certified class action, and many legal experts believe that it will, the NCAA's worst nightmare will have come to fruition.  The plaintiffs have a legit beef with the NCAA IMO.
Will it open up a can of worms if the plaintiffs prevail?  Sure.  I'm also sure something will assembled and replace the current system.  Buckeye football would do just fine in this brave new world.  It's going to come eventually one way or another.  The NCAA is not more powerful than the free market.   People of my "ilk" recognize that.