Schools willingly sell their souls — and buy their players in one form or another — in the name of winning and making money. Ask the reigning men’s basketball national champions, who are on probation and will begin conference play without their Hall of Fame coach while he serves a suspension.
Some have speculated that if Ohio State and other big-time programs get nailed by the infractions committee in the coming years, the six BCS conferences and a few other power programs may break away and form their own super division that won’t have an encyclopedia-thick rule book.
Pay the players, don’t worry about whether anyone graduates and count the cash as it rolls in.
That’s what should happen. Ninety-nine percent of the fans who attend college football and basketball games couldn’t care less if their players are being paid, whether they’re going to class, whether they’re selling memorabilia, receiving free tattoos or being ‘sold’ cars for $100 down and pay the rest in touchdowns later.
They want their teams to win; they want to have their tailgates; and they want to be entertained. Period.
So why not abandon the charade? Let the superpowers come out of the closet and leave the self-righteous NCAA babble behind once and for all.
What happened at Ohio State was wrong and, as usual, the cover-up was worse than the crime. Tressel lied and got caught and deserved to be banished. One of the names instantly mentioned as a possible replacement was Urban Meyer, who won two national championships at Florida.
Like Tressel, Meyer is clearly a great football coach. Also, 27 players of his players were arrested on 30 occasions over six years. When the 30th arrest occurred last September Meyer declared that he was “real upset” about it. He left Florida last December as an iconic figure.
And why not? A big-time college coach has one job: win games. Let’s be clear about this: Jim Tressel didn’t “resign” because his players broke rules or because he lied or covered up those violations. He “resigned” for one reason: He got caught.
That’s the way it works in big-time college athletics. The sooner we all stop kidding ourselves about that, the better.
For more from the author, visit his blog at www.feinsteinonthebrink.com