This archived article was written by: David Osborne Jr.
When the choice is before me to watch either college or professional athletes, nine times out of ten, I will watch the college game. There is just something about college athletics that draws me in. The players continually put their heart and souls into the game they’re playing and always remember that when the season is over, that it might be their last because they may not make it into the professional sporting world. According to the NCAA, only one percent of college student athletes turn pro. It is because of this that college athletes play so hard; there is a final buzzer on their careers. Lately though, my faith in college athletics has been decimated. There has been a string of college athletes acting like their professional counterparts.
I understand there always has been and always will be deals under the table between colleges and athletes they are recruiting, or between athletes and the community that they play in even, though there are rules against it. Most college athletes don’t have this happen, but as my mother says, “The minority will always ruin it for the majority.” Most of the time, these deals and benefits to athletes don’t make the news, and for good reason; nobody wants to know that the college athletes are being primped and primed to become professional athletes. When we hear these horror stories, college athletics suffer.
This year there have been several breaking stories about colleges and their athletes violating rules set by the NCAA.
College football had two stories that shrouded over the season and even further into the bowl games. The most notable story was about Cam Newton, quarterback for the Auburn Tigers. Newton’s father, Cecil, apparently shopped him off to Mississippi State. The initial ruling was that Newton would be ineligible to play because of the rule’s violation and was later declared eligible because he had no knowledge of the talks between his father and Mississippi State. Being declared eligible led Newton to a Heisman Trophy win, and a national championship. The other violation came from the Ohio State Buckeyes. Coach Jim Tressel, quarterback Tyrell Pryor and four other players will serve suspensions in the 2011 football season for not admitting that rules were violated (Tressel) and selling memorabilia and receiving improper benefits (five players). College football may be falling apart at the seams.
College basketball has not been much better. Two of the most iconic coaches in college basketball have both been given black eyes and bad reputations for violating rules this year. Bruce Pearl, former head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers lied to investigators from the NCAA and gave them misleading information. Pearl lied about having high school prospects coming to his house for a cookout to investigators. Now the Volunteers have fired Pearl, but will be at the mercy of an NCAA rules committee to find out what their punishment will be. The University of Connecticut and coach Jim Calhoun, who won the national championship game Monday night also had a scandal on their hands. A former recruit to UCONN, Nate Miles, decided to step forward and tell the NCAA about receiving improper benefits from a former team manager at UCONN. Not only did he receive improper benefits, but Miles claims that Calhoun knew about it. The NCAA has suspended Calhoun for the first three Big East games of the 2011-2012 season. Like football, basketball is failing.
Unfortunately violating the rules for college athletics has essentially ruined college athletics. No more can we trust the word of an athlete, a head coach or the head of the athletic department. College sports were always fun because the players were always playing for the love of the game and to make a name for themselves. They were never to be pampered and be given everything, that is what professional sports are for. Soon there will no longer be a reason to have college athletic programs because they are falling apart, which makes it so the “average Joe” loses faith in college athletics.
This is why losing faith in College athletics has been on the tee.