NCAA vs Sports Agents and paying college athletes, what’s the real violation?
NCAA rules prohibit players from accepting gifts or improper benefits from agents or their representatives. What if the college athlete doesn’t have an agent or a representative? Does that mean college athletes can not accept friends request from Sports Agents on facebook? What if a fraternity is throwing the best party on campus and everyone who attends, including the college athletes, are not charged to drink the Jungle Juice (or Tim Tebow for the fruit punch) is that considered an improper gift?
A South Beach party at Club Liv in the Fontainebleau hotel in May has been the subject of an investigation by the NCAA and several high profile schools, including defending National Champion Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. These investigations will only lead to punishment for the schools and the current players. But in the USC investigations, the punishment for violating NCAA agent rules affected the current players who were not even students at USC when the violations took place.
The only punishment that is consistent is that the agent is never the victim and agents are never punished for going after top prospects. According to the NCAA, only 39 states have a law that can punish the misbehavior of agents. However, these laws are rarely applied. So who is really violated? College students meet with future employers about future jobs. Future employers can fly out future employees to interviews or any company function that might persuade the future employee. How is a student interview different from student athletes interviewing future Sport Agents?
What is different is paying current student athletes with a paycheck to play the sport. They are paid: it’s called a college education without student loans. I hate to say it, but I disagree with one my favorite sports reporters, John Saunders and the rest of the sports reporters on this issue. On Sunday’s edition of the show the lead story was about the NCAA and agents and if players should be paid to play. Saunders ended the segment by saying; “room, board, books and tuition; there should be a little more money going around I think..” I’m guessing that he and Mike Lupica, Mitch Albom, and Pedro Gomez didn’t have student loans when they graduated from college.
There are brain surgeons who will graduate medical school over a hundred thousand in debt. Reggie Bush left college with zero debt, maybe a Range Rover and the skills on the field to make millions. Yes, Reggie Bush made USC millions from his jersey sales and the hype of watching him play, but USC gave Reggie Bush the opportunity and the branding that lead to Reggie Bush signing a NFL contract and earning millions. He was paid, just not in paper presidents and so were all the athletes who proved themselves in professional sports.
Any college student is going to be tempted to anything that’s “free”. In my opinion, if the University isn’t writing the check for any legal, “free” gifts or trips I don’t see the big violation. Paying student athletes to play is a violation to all students. When non-athletes are paying thousands of dollars in tuition and will graduate with 30 years of debt so that the student athletes can leave college without ever owing the University a penny, is enough. Paying athletes would only lead to an increase in student’s tuition and that should be considered a real NCAA violation.