With new accusations the University of Miami Hurricanes football program broke football recruiting rules it is clear the NCAA has to do one thing over the next year and that is grab hold of their football programs.
It seems like the past year has been one black mark on college football after another. First it was the University of Miami scandal featuring illegal benefits and boosters not following rules. Then, it was Ohio State’s turn with players reportedly trading jerseys and memorabilia for tattoos and other benefits that led to the ousting of now dirty coach Jim Tressel. Following OSU was the breaking of the Penn State Jerry Sandusky scandal and finally we arrive back at The U. It has come full circle in the last year and while some scandals may have been left out, it is clear the NCAA has a problem.
Some people may say every college program violates the rules and it may be true in some fashion. At some point though, the association designed essentially to make sure players actually go to class and get a degree instead of just playing amateur athletics, has to bare down and say enough is enough. There are penalties in place to make sure other institutions take notice and follow the rules instead of continuing to blatantly ignore them. The NCAA is in a precarious position of risking the ability for the sport as a whole to function as extracurricular activity instead of essentially being a non-college athletic sport.
The Jerry Sandusky scandal and the fact Penn State University was reportedly unable to face “the death penalty” because the acts that were committed didn’t break any real NCAA football rules, highlights what is wrong with the current standard. In a world where young adult athletes are fed the fabrication that they get one chance, the NCAA seems to continually give the institutions multiple ones. At some point the powers that be in college football need to stop worrying about how to get the most money out of the bowl system and need to spend more time making sure teams can play in the bowls.
We are entering into yet another season where a major college football team will be ineligible for a bowl, with Ohio State University picking up where USC left off from the Reggie Bush fiasco. If that is what the NCAA views as an acceptable way to punish teams, the I’d hate to see the way they punish their kids for taking their car out for a joy-ride. By NCAA punishment precedent, a joy-ride would probably earn someone a timeout. Southern Methodist University got the death penalty and by all accounts it seems like it scared programs straight for a few years and it is time for the NCAA to scare the new crop of NCAA rule breakers into line.
Penn State, while they didn’t break football regulations, clearly broke many rules when it comes to safely carrying out a football program. They endangered the staff, the university, the NCAA and the players on the team, not to mention the numerous kids Sandusky came into contact with. The football team ran the school and Joe Paterno had more power than the president, if that doesn’t scream “loss of institutional control” nothing does. If the NCAA were to make an example of Penn State and say a new era of discipline has started, you better bet a lot more schools would think twice before they let a booster take a kid out to dinner, let alone overlook United States law.
If the NCAA does not start to assert its authority, we are going to continue to see schools think they are above the law and conferences who seem to not care at all. College football is an endeavor for young adults to partake in outside of earning an education and it is a luxury for a University, not a necessity. Sure, you can argue the kids who are there now shouldn’t be punished for the actions of those before them. Yet, if no one is ever punished no one will ever learn and college football will continue this self-destructive cycle.