Saturday, November 13, 2010

No Longer Necessary to Beat Teams on the Field, Beat them in the Courtroom: FoxSports Reports on Potential Cam Newton Recruiting Issues

Would anyone care about Cam Newton if the Auburn Tigers were 0-10 instead of 10-0?

Fox Sports reports that Mississippi State confirms it notified the SEC about Cam Newton [possible recruiting violation] issues already in January but that it had not provided any documentation until July because it was too busy with other things.

Oh, really? What a despicable world NCAA sports are at the administrative level. Just let the season take its natural course and then pull the rabbit out of the hat in the decisive part of the ongoing college football season.

The NCAA and college football have now entered the painful stage of evolution in the cesspool of hypocrisy that marks college football recruiting and politics, whereby teams no longer beat their opponents on the field but rather in the courtroom, as schools begin to scrutinize opponents for NCAA rule violation infractions in order to take them out of the competition.

USC is already on the sidelines.

Is Auburn next?

What does FBS college football have to do with "amateur" athletics? Virtually nothing. You probably have to go to Division III non-scholarship football to find something that you might want to call an "amateur" sport, and even there, recruiting is a serious business at the top echelons.

At the level of the FBS (former Division I-A), college football is a big business inextricably entwined with commercial enterprises of all sorts, where thousands of corporate employees, administrators and, as allegedly in the Newton case, opportunists reap enormous profits and where a few unlucky young, inexperience, talented and perhaps naive athletic souls are sacrificed for their poor judgment in order to keep up appearances for those who are pulling in salaries running into millions of dollars per year.

Frankly, one should sue the NCAA for fraud for purporting to rule over "amateur" college sports when in fact it is running a vastly commercialized enterprise that is called "amateur" primarily to obtain the tax breaks that the government provides to colleges and universities as alleged non-profit institutions, as they bask in -- in some cases -- billion dollar endowments.

It is all a farce and a sham that such a talented athlete as Cam Newton is another needless victim, regardless of how any blame is ever assessed. The problem is not the athlete, it is the system.

To clean up college sports, you do not go after the athletes and their families, many of whom may be living on the fringe of poverty and looking where their next meal is coming from, or, they, like the rest of college football nation, may be looking to polish their silverware by leveraging their position.

Rather, to clean up college sports, you need to start to conform the rules to the realities and acknowledge that college sports cost money to operate -- so that income must at least match expenses -- and one must take cognizance of the fact that college sports are often a personal financial burden on the gladiators -- I use that term intentionally for college football players and similar athletes in college basketball, baseball, hockey, track & field, golf, etc. GLORY goes to the winner, whether it be in cash, or other rewards, it is all the same principle. Many people compete for the spoils of winning, and, in some cases for the rewards, also, of losing, as weak teams serve as doormats to much stronger teams in order to pad the pocketbooks of their college administration via attendance and TV money.

"Professional" sports developed out of the practice of reimbursing "amateur" players for their expenses and for their loss of time in their jobs. Today we give scholarships ... and more.

What has changed?

If you are not convinced, take a look at the athletic page site of the Mississippi State Bulldogs, the whistleblowers in the Cam Newton case. You have to click the opening page and it takes you to the ticket page, where the word "Purchase" appears SEVEN times, for game tickets, events and miscellaneous shop items. Money is the name of the game. Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

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