11.09.2004

the 500 pound elephant of college football

in the lastest issue of espn the magazine (a horrible sports magazine, by the way) maurice clarrett, the former ohio state running back gives explicit details on how he was paid money and cars while at ohio state. i imagine that the sports news outlets will pick this up as a huge story and rightfully so, not since SMU got the death penalty have we heard such tales of debauchery within college football. but my contention, which i kinda made before, is does anyone really think that college sports program are clean? don't we all just assume that players are getting paid illegally and that boosters provide this money? the NCAA i'm sure will launch a full investigation and i'm sure that ohio state will get a severe penalty. first off, let me say that i've always contended that the lack of transparency in the NCAA is at the root of the problem. i suppose it's easy to to blame everything on the money that's involved with college sports these days, but no one knows how the NCAA does its investigations. do they act on all tips? do they actively pursue programs that seem to be cheating? if the public knew about actually how cheating in college football is investigated, there'd be a hell of lot more trust in the system. however, like many others in sports, the institutions and the people in power treat fans like we're total idiots. as i just said before, we all know that the idea of a clean college football program is simply an oxymoron. it just doesn't exist on the big time level. USC cheats, OU cheats, FSU cheats, and yes, even lily white clean catholic notre dame cheats. if i had the money, i'm sure that i could simply hire you average private investigators and they'd be able to find evidence of impropriety in college football. as they say, if it looks like a duck...

secondly, why do we get so incensed that college athletes, who generate millions of dollars for their universities, advertisers, television networks and on and on, get paid for what they provide. does this type of system really weaken an institutions ability to educate? actually, i think it does, but it destroys credibility more when they turn this blind eye to it.

lastly, if ohio state is guilty, which i'm almost 99% sure that they are, and if the NCAA wants to stand up what it is supposed to be for, then the football program at ohio state ought to get the death penalty. SMU's infractions are no worse than what has happened at ohio state. if the NCAA is serious about cleaning up college football, then this is the perfect opportunity to start doing it. i can't even imagine a scenario remotely like this, but it seems clear that there is a gigantic lack of institutional control or even worse, a clear case of institutional complicity with all of this. but like i said, probation, suspension of bowl games maybe, but to cut out a program that makes a ton of money for both the school and for television, i can't imagine this happening.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interestingly enough, the only time I ever saw Charles Woodson on Michigan's campus was when he pulled up to the intersection of South U and East U driving a white Hummer with black Nike swooshes on the sides. Very kindly, he waved me across the street.

One of my roommates senior year was a big time groupie who had slept with several of the members of both the football and basketball teams (and the admissions office, but that's another story). For the record, I'm a guy. Anyhow, she showed me the cards that the players could use for free food at Outback Steakhouse and some of the other restaurants around the town just about whenever they wanted to. Also, players were receiving large "stipends" with which they were leasing SUV's, condos, jewelry and other items.

As far as the academics are concerned, Michigan is generally considered to be on the up-and-up as far as grades are concerned, but I remember reading articles about how Ohio State players that were flunking were allowed to take classes like "Science of Bowling" during the summer in order to improve their grades. Also, there was an ESPN feature this year about how certain schools allowed players to repeat "Football" as a class for up to 20 credits I believe. Ohio State was one of those schools.

Ian