WARMANN: Cleaning up College Sports
So the inevitable finally happened on Memorial Day as Jim Tressel resigned from his post as the head coach of The Ohio State University football program and now the NCAA is going to do some more probing into the program to see what other illegal activities may have occurred during Tressel’s tenure. Stay tuned because I think this story has just started and if the NCAA does a good enough investigation we’ll see more improprieties come up.
What we are seeing is nothing new to college sports. Over the last year or so we’ve seen some programs in the SEC get caught for illegal activities and the improprieties have been going on for years. I’ll never forget when Mizzou’s basketball program got caught flying recruits on a private jet from Michigan to Columbia back during the Quin Snyder era. When asked about the impropriety Snyder said he wasn’t aware of the rule and that it had happened during his tenure at Duke. But a funny thing happened after that. No one investigated the Duke program.
As all of these illegal activities become headlines again the subject of paying student athletes becomes a topic of conversation. The argument for paying student athletes is that they are helping the institutions gross more revenue and they are devoting more of their time in college than the regular student because of practices and games. There’s also a faction that believes that paying a student athlete would help deter illegal compensation to them.
Let’s get a couple of things straight. It doesn’t make a difference how much you pay a student athlete the cheating will continue. Secondly, how quickly everyone forgets that a scholarship is worth tens of thousands of dollars. Isn’t that worth something? You can’t tell me there aren’t thousands and thousands of parents and young adults that would do anything to have that scholarship money to pay off their student loans. As far as devoting more time to the institution, guess what? That’s part of the deal when someone commits to an athletic scholarship.
Now there are some things I believe the NCAA could do to revise some of their rules. I don’t believe that a student athlete should be prohibited to have a job with that university to make more money, especially during the summer months. I also have a problem with the university not being able to pay for a meal once in a while as long as it is within a reasonable limit.
The problem with all of this is the NCAA. There’s a couple of ways to help solve the problem. One, they need to do a better job at investigating institutions. I mean isn’t the NCAA making enough money to beef up this department of their organization? To me the biggest thing the NCAA needs to do is do a better job of handing out penalties, which are far too lenient. If the NCAA handed out harsher punishment for the crimes that are committed, I believe we would see less situations arise like the one we are seeing now in Columbus, Ohio and aren’t hearing about in many other institutions across the country.
Scott Warmann is a host on the Sports Hub