OJ Mayo Gets His… So What’s The Big Deal?
I can tell a lie…but I’m not going to tell one here to be politically correct.
College athletics at the highest level is the most immoral, hypocritical, self-serving run business in this country. That being said, I make sure I make my point clear so there is no confusion. If you are a high end student-athlete that can take advantage of any scenario on your college campus and benefit from it, I don’t look down on you for doing so (except gambling or throwing games). This noble idea of fair amateur competition does exist on some campuses, but look at your major universities in major conferences with major monies coming in from boosters, shoe contracts and of course radio-television contracts, and ask yourself this question?
Everybody benefits from the labors including the student-athlete by getting access to the educational opportunities available at the school, if they take advantage of the access, or are allowed to. Those that really benefit these days are the NCAA, six and in some cases seven figures salaries the athletic departments pay major university football and basketball coaches, the university that makes major monies on the shoe contracts, television revenues received for broadcast rights, monies made on NCAA bowl bids and NCAA basketball tournament births as well as fans and boosters who get to brag on their schools success because of these great athletes playing there. I wish T. Boone Pickens was a UW-Whitewater alum.
The reason I blog about this is the recent tales of former USC & Heisman Award winning running back Reggie Bush and the allegations made against USC Guard O.J. Mayo. The stories are so similar and sound like all these rumors or whispers you hear about the best athletes at the major colleges. They have “associates” that promise them from the time they are showing any athletic promise to the place that gives the most under the table, or once they become the big person on campus have “intermediaries” broker deals for their future in the world of professional sports to the ones willing to kick back what they want.
The reason I say this is I find it hard not to take a little piece of the pie when you go to the bookstore and see a jersey with your name on it selling for $75 dollars a pop, and you have .75 cents in your pocket. Or how about turning on ESPN and seeing your name featured for the big game coming up, or watch boosters with money and access to things in life one will never have, bending over backwards to meet you, shake your hand and tell you how much they love they way you rep ole state U. How about coming to practice where your coach just came in from doing his TV or radio show that helps to pay his six or seven figure salary in his Lexus truck.
Now don’t forget if someone comes along and gives them the bigger better deal they can roll out with the only penalty being a contract buyout that is usually picked up by the new school. If your favorite quarterback or point guard try to leave that university for a better opportunity, or don’t perform to that coaches expectations, there are so many obstacles and deterrents that you almost have to be willing to sacrifice a little piece of sanity to transfer.
I know it is not the norm, but it is what it is…because if that university asset gets hurt, can’t play or runs out of eligibility, they get thrown to the curb for the next recruiting class of fresh assets. I know there are you out there that say, “”but they get this high end education” and to you I say, if that is the case give them a percentage of what they generate for the university, a cut on the marketing and promotion of which you use their likeness and jersey numbers and allow that to pay their room and board and in some cases, give them the balance left over.
I’m sorry I could tell a lie but I won’t, if you want to clean up the seedy side of college athletics, give these young people some of the big pot, stop hiding behind traditions that are out-dated and unjustifiable.
Steve Haywood, Host of “That Being Said”
ESPN Radio 540 Milwaukee