NCAA: The Money Hipocrisy Continues

November 05, 2009 | Chad Lamasa

Once again the NCAA has gone overboard. The other day I received an email from my friend and fellow Duke fan. It was a story of how Duke’s Nolan Smith was suspended for two games because he played basketball over the summer with some guys that play professionally overseas.
Along with Dez Bryant being suspended because he visited and worked out with Deion Sanders, and Deniz Kilicli from WVU being suspended 20 games for playing on a Turkish team two years ago that included a pro player, this is starting to become a common occurrence.
Meanwhile, Brandon Spikes gouges a players eyes and only receives a suspension of half a game against Vanderbilt (a team that poses no threat to his Gators). Spikes came out recently and said he would sit the whole game. The NCAA didn’t dish out any penalty to him. That was completely the programs decision.
I could see if Smith, Kilicli or Bryant were playing with NBA or NFL teams, meeting with agents or even playing semi pro and making a little money off it. But how does the NCAA get away with telling guys who they can spend time with?
In Bryant’s case, Deion Sanders was a great player, and can offer sage advice as to what it takes to make it to, and in, the NFL. He can point out some deficiencies that he thinks Bryant should work on. How is this wrong?
For Smith, he was playing games with guys that play professionally overseas. I get this is unsanctioned by the NCAA but it needs to be changed.
As my friend that sent the email about Nolan Smith said ” How does playing with a pro compromise your amateur standing?”
A guy with hopes of making it to the NBA or NFL should be allowed to work on his game, with whomever he sees fit, as long as he’s not being paid for it. Just because someone else has been, or is being paid by a league doesn’t mean these guys are.
They are going to guys that have achieved a level of success they are looking to achieve. Who better to help them get there than guys that are or have been there?
I was discussing this with another friend and he said “their goal is to make it to the pro level, why not play with pros during the summer to see what you have to work on?”
These universities and the NCAA make millions of dollars because of these kids. They put out video games, posters, jerseys. t-shirts, bobble-heads, and whatever else they can market.
Heck, I just got a gift catalog from Duke University and they have J.J. Redick fatheads for sale. He graduated four years ago and they are still making money off his likeness.
And yet these kids can’t make any money off the royalties or play with anyone that gets paid by a pro league? So if Nolan Smith goes and visits his friend, and former teammate, Gerald Henderson (now in the NBA) and some other guys come over and they play a pick up game, is that a violation as well? 
I’m not saying college athletes should be paid, but if the NCAA is going to make money off of them they need to loosen some of these restrictions. I do think that once guys go pro (whether they graduate or jump early), if their college or the NCAA is going to continue to use their likeness they should get a portion of the money made from the sales.
The NCAA needs to reevaluate what they are going to suspend guys for. Blatantly attempting to injure someone is ok, but playing with or talking to pros isn’t? That seems a bit backwards to me.
But then again this is the NCAA we’re talking about here.