Fixing CFB scandals is easy.

College football has had its fair share of scandals lately but honestly they aren’t anything new to the NCAA. They have been happening since the first school decided to allow its name to be used to promote a football team. The problem is not confined to just football as every year in nearly every sport there are reports of allegations and rumors of scandals. I am choosing football as an example because in my eyes the biggest scandals happen in this sport because it has the most players and coaches and visibility to the public as a whole. It doesn’t help that my beloved Buckeyes have been entrenched in their own scandal going on 9 months now. So I want to tackle what I think is the problem and the solution and how I think College Basketball has got it figured out or at least they use to.

I need to start by saying this is a fix in general and not specific to any person or school. I don’t think every player in college football is breaking the rules or cheating. I do believe every school has their fair share of players that do that though but the vast majority are not.

Here is the problem as I see it. Not every person is made for college (I wasn’t). If you look at the football team as a microcosm of college admissions you will see what I am talking about. I read one time that something like 40% of incoming Freshman never finish their first year of college for one reason or another. The 2 biggest reasons were grades and money (both attributed to too much partying). Most of those who dont finish college most likely never should have went but fulfilled their parents dream for them as college is the only acceptable way to succeed in life according to society. Recently reports have come out that the amount of debt incurred vs. the extra money made in the future by college grads has put going to college as a detriment and not a good thing. I digress if you look at CFB graduation rates you will see CFB athletes as a whole are worse off than or equal to the general students at a given university. Why well a large number of CFB players aren’t prepared to attend college let alone graduate. Even with the huge amount of added help players get they struggle. A large number of those never wanted to really attend college and their actions show it by failing classes and getting arrested and doing everything they can to avoid getting a college education. So the problem is easy to identify some athletes are not college material.

Here is how I would fix this problem and it is an easy fix. The NFL needs to right this minute remove the “a player must be 3 years removed from their graduating class” rule. This rule has always been designed to keep the NCAA happy and keep the NFL from developing their own farm system. The NFL and NCAA have been in collusion with each other for a long time and every rule they make is designed to keep that agreement in place. If high scool players who had no interest in being an actual college student athlete were allowed to earn a real living right out of high school instead of forcing them to attend a school for a minimum of 3 years. It would easily weed out a large number of the kind of people who are tempted to receive extra illegal benefits. Would it solve every problem I am sure not but it would cut it drastically. The kind of kid who would take 5k bucks or a trip to Vegas would never go to State U. when he could go play football professionally for even 50k or 100k a year in the minors or millions straight to the pros. So to solve the problem I think they just need to give these players an option besides going to school they dont want to be at.

The scandals in CBB are far less and fewer on a whole. That was until recently when the NCAA and NBA started to collude again by forcing kids to go to college for 1 year or oversees for one year to be eligible for the NBA draft. Are their still issues and violations in CBB sure there are but on a scale of that in CFB it is much less and hardly as big.

Bottom line for me is give these kids an option other than CFB for 3 years where some of them will be tempted to take illegal benefits and let them earn a real living. It may not be a perfect fix but it is better than most I have heard lately.

Comments

  1. MaliBuckeye says

    not sure I agree with you… or that Derrick Rose would agree with you.

  2. If Derrick Rose wasnt forced to go to Memphis for one year he would have never been involved in an NCAA scandal. He would just be the next Kobe Bryant.

    If Derrick Rose does anything it proves my point. He never wanted to go to school and was forced to cheat his way into college.

  3. Man, I was just thinking about this myself. I’ve had this conversation a number of times with friends and someone always points out that with an NFL minor league, college football would suffer from a talent standpoint.

    That’s a valid point, but an irrelevant one to me. So maybe there won’t be Terrelle Pryors, Maurice Claretts and Andy Katzenmoyers. So what? There will still be Troy Smiths, Dane Sanzenbachers and A.J. Hawks. Who would you rather have representing your school? Who would you rather cheer for every Saturday?

    The NFL could still draft (or outright sign, however they want to do it) college players – after they graduate. Of course, at any time, a player could drop out of college and join the NFL minor league through whatever process is in place. I don’t know how acquiring players out of high school would be handled, but I also don’t care. They’ll figure it out.

    Anyway, great post. So many are afraid to support this concept because they don’t want CFB to lose the exciting players. The truth is, the sport’s popularity is what is killing it right now.

  4. @Jason I agree 100%. I would hate to lose the Katzenmoyers or Pryors but it wouldnt be the end of college football or OSU. Plenty of guys want to be student athletes and we wouldnt lose many to this kind of action but the few we would lose really dont belong in a pure amateur college sports situation to begin with.

  5. If you honestly think that a team that was entirely comprised of educationally-minded players but devoid of NFL-dreaming superstar prima donnas would be exciting, I think you’re mistaken.

    Not that it wouldn’t be respectable, honorable football. And you’re right, it would fix the scandals, too. But compared to the NFL, or the farm teams that would be created by such a merger, CFB would be neutered entity. Imagine every CFB game looking like a Northwestern scrimmage. Now flip the channel and there’s Pryor leg-juking his way around a defender running at Mach 20. Which are you gonna watch? Too much money tied up in TV contracts for the college presidents & conference commissioners to let some of their viewership go.

    I think the solution is simpler: let’s stop pretending the NCAA isn’t a farm system for the NFL. The only reason they officially insist otherwise is for tax and antitrust purposes. Come right out, acknowledge it, and take the need away entirely for CFB players and boosters to feel the need to go around the system. Call it “shooting the hostage.”

    Pay them. Tax them. That will allow you to penalize them with fines (hitting them where it counts) when they break the rules.

    Scandals will never go away just because they play in the NFL or make money (Michael Vick, anyone?) But paying them would “shoot the hostage” and take the scandals that are ruining CFB out of the equation.

  6. Are you really telling me that a person who is still in puberty, which ends at roughly 21, should be in a league with people who have been playing pro football as long as the other person has been playing any football?

    How long would Pryor last, at 18, with somebody like Lewis hitting him? CFB keeps the players healthy, that’s what the NFL wants

  7. @Sportsmonkey- They will never pay college football players. NEVER. They would be forced to pay 36 sports worth of players. Only 20% of colleges arent losing money in their athletic dept now if you forced them to pay 1000 people money they would be as bankrupt as America is now.

    I firmly believe the vast majority of players on say OSUs team last year would still have gone to OSU instead of an NFL minor League. Would we have lost Pryor and Posey and Adams and maybe a few others who never would have gone to OSU sure we would have but I think thats ok.

    I hate to keep using Mens CBB as an example because it is so small compared to CFB but up until like 5 years ago players out of high school could choose between CBB or going pro and most of the talent chose CBB. A lot of the elite stars chose to go strait to the NBA like Kobe and Garnett but the CBB game was still exciting for me at least and had plenty of talent. They use to let guys who didnt sign with an agent get drafted and if he didnt like his draft result or wasnt drafted could go back to college.

    Now though they force guys to go to school for a year or go to Isreal or Egypt for a year and it causing things like Derrick Rose to happen even worse they know schools like KY and OSU to some extent will sign the guys who will only stay a year and then punish those schools who dont graduate enough guys complete hypocrisy.

    Like I said though my idea wont stop all scandals but neither will anything else.

  8. To further my theory that more kids would stay in school look at the amount of kids who leave after 3 years vs those who stay all 4 years or 5 years or heck 6 years lol…..

    I think guys like Doss or Hawk or George or Troy would still go to OSU for 4 years over going to a developmental league right out of High School. Guys like Antonio Henton would prob go straight to developmental league before his first hooker is bought and paid for 🙂

  9. @Barga – The kids won’t be playing against Ray Lewis, they’ll be playing against each other on minor league teams. If you can’t make a real team by your 3rd or 4th year in the minors, you’re probably out anyway.

    There’s something else to think about: There would be MINOR LEAGUE FOOTBALL GAMES we could GO TO and WATCH while drinking BEERS. Who doesn’t want more (and cheaper) football games to go to?

  10. @Barga- You are telling me that a few 18 or 19 or even 20 year old high school grads couldn’t take a hit from Ray Lewis? Next you will have me believe Kobe couldnt play defense or shoot a jumper in the NBA without going to college to let his body mature.

    P.S. Terrelle Pryor was 6’6″ and 235 lbs his senior year of High School. He is currently listed at 6’6″ and 233 lbs. Just Saying

    P.P.S. Vernon Gholston could have taken a hit from Ray Lewis when he was 6 years old. 🙂

  11. Jason and Rambo,
    We all agree that there are some kids who can come straight out of HS and play in the NFL, while the really good, but not big enough players, would be regulated to the NiFL. The problem with that, however, is that the NFL has no desire to pay for a minor system. It also doesn’t fix this problem one bit – let’s examine

    1) While maybe 10 or so kids a year can go straight to the NFL, far more than that get paid, making this not a solution
    2) Assuming we keep with a NiFL, similar to the A,AA,AAA,MLB system, there is a bigger difference. The NFL could not make enough money to make it feasible. The minors need to be funded by the big clubs, and enough big clubs are in trouble. Furthermore, how much would these tickets be, as there is a huge difference between 9 home games and 80 a year (assuming the Clippers’ base price, 90 a ticket based on the same ratio)
    3) Again, assuming the minor system, how much would these kids be payed? Based on the MiLB system, these players would get 30K a year, no more, no less. That’s not exactly gonna change anything, when going to The U can get you 50K in a single day, and 500 for a specific hit. NiFL does not change the draw of money to universities one bit.

    what nobody has explained here, is why the kids deserve to be paid in the first place. We have this thing called capitalism, if leagues wanted to allow them, it would form. The NFL has no desire to take college kids, as they would have to overpay people who competed against 14-18 year olds…

    The real easy way to fix this is for the NFL and NCAA to come to an agreement. Any coach with a show cause is banned from both, and players can be suspended up to 3 years total (the same three and done deal), which is in both leagues. I see nothing wrong with this, but nobody wants to recommend it

  12. @SYR “They will never pay college football players. NEVER. They would be forced to pay 36 sports worth of players.”

    Why do people say this? No they wouldn’t. They could pay who they wanted, what they wanted. Pay would be commensurate with value or position, like everywhere else in the free world. If the women’s lacrosse team isn’t contributing to the athletic budget, then those players earn nothing. Or if Lafayette’s program can’t afford to pay what OSU’s program can, then I guess OSU gets those recruits instead. Real world.

    So that leaves the dept programs that actually bring in money, like CFB, CBB, and Hockey. What is that, maybe around 100 athletes at OSU? Oh heck yes they could pay them.

    Mark it down – it will happen, and it will probably happen within the next few years. The first move will likely be at the conference level, e.g., Delaney or another commissioner setting aside a portion of his budget for player stipends. It’ll make for a great TV debate, there will be much hollering and gnashing of teeth, congressional hearings on amateurism, antitrust discussions, but in the end it will happen or CFB will die as we know it.

    I wonder if (when the playoffs inevitably occur) the BCS will have evolved from a championship corporation to a sponsorship corporation.

  13. @Sportsmonkey- If you think the Gloria Allred and Gloria Stienum of the world would let publicly funded schools to pay male atheletes and not female ones the exact same amount then I am not sure what to say. Title IX made it so women must be treated equally as men sports in every way.

  14. @Barga- You seem to be making my point…. Of the current 105 players on OSU roster I imagine maybe 5-10 of them would have never gone to college if they werent forced to.

    The NFL has sued and or crushed down every other professional league ever attempted to be made. When they cant beat them they buy them see Arena League. If the UFL ever makes any real progress you can be sure the NFL will do all they can to destroy them like they did the USFL.

    The NFL punishing college players or coaches for breaking rules in the NCAA would be collusion and since the NCAA is a non-profit and NFL is a for profit it would be illegal to happen. Which is why NFL made up some wierd rule to punish TP yesterday so they could say they werent in collusion with NCAA. Anti-Trust laws will prevent NCAA and NFL from ever being partners in any way.

  15. @SYR – title ix schmitle ix. If money came from a corporation legally set up for that purpose no problem at all. The schools and commissioners would pool a percentage of their profits from TV/ticket sales/merch/etc. into a legal entity and BOOM ROASTED: no Title IX issues.

    The only precedent that would need to be set is not even a legal one: just a policy change in the NCAA that allowed players to receive money from other sources than the school. Oh sure, Title IX could continue to apply to _school_ disbursements, but it wouldn’t apply to payments made from “B1G Players’ Fund, LLC” or whatever the entity would be.

  16. @Sportsmonkey- First, I would be inclined to agree with you if Colleges werent jam packed full of left wing liberal tree hugging feminists. Women make up the majority of students now and no way they would ever allow this to happen but weirder things have happened.

    Secondly, The NCAA is a Non-profit organization so they cant pool their profits because they dont earn any ;)….. All money made by the NCAA is sent back to its member institutions to pay for student athlete scholarships. On top of that last year alone only 22 or 119 Div 1 athletic programs who play football made a profit that means 97 of them loss money. Title IX is the main reason why sports depts. are losing money and it wont change.

    I had an idea on twitter a few weeks back that goes like this…

    Nike or Addidas which ever is your schools uniform sponsor is forced to make the jerseys of every single player on every single sports team at every school. The players then get 10% of the sales of their jerseys. Men teams would earn more obviously but the womens team would have an equal shot at the riches. If I were a scrub player on the football team I would make sure I got the same number as the star player :)….

  17. @Barga – NFL teams are making plenty of money. Some (generally those in smaller markets that aren’t massively popular) are a little worse off than others, but I’m not sure any of them can be characterized as “in trouble.” The minor league teams would be bringing in money as well from ticket sales, TV, etc. Obviously, there are details that I have not addressed, and frankly could not even understand.

    But the fact that you bring up the MLB minor league system proves that it can be done. And the MLB has an even worse financial system than the NFL. Local MLB minor league team the Dayton Dragons has sold out every home game for 11 years! You don’t think a football team could do the same in an area that loves football at every level?

    Your ticket price comparison also makes no sense since the prices between the two leagues do not correlate now, at least not as a function of number of home games. Unless you know of an NFL team that charges $275 a ticket.

    If the NFL can afford to shut down for a summer to argue over how to split up billions of dollars and whether or not a rookie QB should be paid an 8 figure salary or a 7 figure salary, then they can afford to put together a minor league system. They could probably pay for the whole thing with Budweiser advertising money.

    Also, Miami jokes aside, getting paid any amount of money to play football > getting a free education that you don’t want to play football. They’ll get paid what the NFL can afford to pay them.

  18. @SYR – “The NCAA is a Non-profit organization so they cant pool their profits ”

    I didn’t say the NCAA would pay… payment will come from the conferences themselves or corporations set up for that purpose. The NCAA could continue to monitor the academic side of the house and ensure that all the scholarship-related things were on the up and up. But the payments will either come from the conference level or from a BCS-like entity.

    Re: your Nike/Adidas idea… who exactly would “force” a private company to provide clothing? Do you literally mean passing a law that forces a private entity to subsidize clothing for athletes?

  19. @sports- So in your vision Conferences would sign deals with say Nike to provide their players with a paycheck? Would players in the B1G make more then those in the MAC?

    In my version of paying when a school signs a contract with a clothing company they would simply be forced to add a clause that all jerseys and numbers must be made and available for sale instead of the 3 or 4 best players they do now. No law just part of the contract. I am sure Nike will have no issue having 4 year old girls to make a number 95 jersey at .02 cents a shirt and selling them for 60 bucks to fans and every player would get 6 bucks for their jersey. Sure players like Beanie Wells would make 100k a year and a womens lacrosse player would make 500 bucks a year thanks to family and friends….. but it would be the fans fault she doesnt make more money not the schools. It is still a work in progress on my end and it came out of a vision I had while eating mushroom risotto but in my mind it is working

  20. If corporations are paying into a fund to pay student athletes will the play by play announcer be forced to say “Tackle was made by Doran Chick-Fil-A Grant” or “10 yard gain by Jamaal Jim’s Bail Bonds Berry”?

  21. SYR – no, in my vision the powers-that-be (commissioners, school boards, trustees, etc.) would budget a % of their profits that come from non-NCAA-related income to a pool. That money would come from things like TV revenues, ticket sales, stadium concessions, t-shirts, bobbleheads, etc.

    So $$ goes into a pool, there is an entity formed to oversee and distribute. If done properly, the pool could even return a profit if invested smartly.

    Whether the players in the B1G make more than the MAC depends on a lot of things… but so what if MAC players make less? There’s nothing wrong with that.

    “will the play by play announcer be forced to say “Tackle was made by Doran Chick-Fil-A Grant” or “10 yard gain by Jamaal Jim’s Bail Bonds Berry”?”

    Haha they practically already do… every time I eat Tostitos all I hear is Brent Musberger’s voice… “this is for all the Tosititos….”

  22. I dont think there are many colleges making any profits these days hence all the schools raising tuitions by a lot every year.

    I guess I just need to see where this money is coming from. If schools are making enough profits overall in this Non-NCAA related income to pay players I would like to see them. If it depends on finding new ways to make these profits I.E. corporate sponsors I would be hesitant to want it to happen….

    Imagine Oregon and the money they would get from Nike their players may make more than NFL guys lol….. Meanwhile OSU would be stuck getting money from Nationwide or even worse Battelle 🙂

  23. This is why we should stop worrying about colleges paying players or whatever legal acrobatics you’d have them to do to achieve the same result. You see, with the NFL minor league, there would always be a place that players could go to get paid, if that’s what they want. The ones that want to use their athletic talent to get a free education will go to college.

    The question to me is what can the NCAA do to push the NFL in that direction? Does CFB have anything they can hold over the NFL’s head?

    One more thing: The NCAA should disallow the sale of player-specific jerseys, even if it’s just the number, as well as canceling their deals with EA, etc. that basically allow them to profit off the players’ images. Yeah, I know, it sucks for us, but eliminating the appearance of exploitation would help the entitlement issue.

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