Friday Mud reflects on college sports

November 11, 2011 | Drew Forrester

We’re all to blame.  We, all of us, let it spiral out of control.  ESPN told college football they had to start playing games on Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday.  Voila!, games appeared.  (Oh, the student-athlete’s academic work might suffer?  Well, he’ll figure it out in “study hall”.)  TV, the people who go to the games, the people who make those games happen…everyone has contributed to this downfall.

And, finally, it took this, the human violation of young boys at Penn State, for people to rise up and see big-time Division I college sports for what it is.

It’s no longer amateurs competing on the athletic field in exchange for an education that they likely couldn’t afford on their own.

It’s become nothing more than a game within the games – an ugly one – of who can beat the other, regardless of who gets in the way, who gets hurt, and who does right or wrong.  It has escalated into nothing short of an annual contest to see who can sell the most tickets for the highest price and who can gouge the advertisers for the most amount of money to allow them the courtesy of televising their athletic events.

And until we heard Jerry Sandusky’s name and the story out of (not so) Happy Valley, we snickered and chuckled at the back-room dealings and the cheating and the scandals and the free cars and the jewelry and the “D” on that test that suddenly became a “B” with one tap on the computer keyboard.

It’s become a badge of honor, as a college athlete, to get the 4-bedroom apartment on the 12th floor when there are only two of you from the team living there (“Oh, what’s that?  I can charge two other roommates $500 a month to live there and KEEP the money? Wow, I like that concept.”).  It’s cool to be the player on the team who washes cars at the local automobile dealership once or twice in the month of April and then drives around town in a sporty new BMW.  (“My brother hooked me up.  He’s a financial planner in Manhattan, taking care of his little bro.”).  Everyone chuckled privately when those goofs at Ohio State were so desperate for marijuana that they exchanged their tickets to the Wisconsin game for a bag full of weed.  (“Give those kids credit, they were enterprising young men…”)

You might have been one of those people who giggled when the news went public that another college athlete and his school were caught cheating.  “It’s a dog eat dog world out there…I don’t blame him — a kid’s gotta get what he can, while he can.”

It’s all fun and games – this cheating and scandal in college sports.

Well, it was all funny right up until we heard about Jerry Sandusky.

Now, it’s not so funny anymore.