I'm sure a lot of you guys are looking closely at the incendiary allegations facing the Oklahoma State Cowboys' football program. I think a lot of people should understand that this whole thing is only the tip of the iceberg. The difference here is simply that another team got caught.
Just like USC, Miami and Ohio State, Oklahoma State made the mistake of getting caught. Either way, it's not looking good for the NCAA student-athlete system. As much as the NCAA continues to ignore the elephant sitting with them in the closet, Toto has already revealed the wizard.
The system in itself is corrupt and this corruption is propogated by the AQ conferences. And if they would like to dispute that, then they will have to explain the existence of the BCS and why they don't want a more transparent playoff system that is decided on the field, rather than by a computer with a series of silly algorithms, with a finish of trying to convince us that the system works. If you have to say it again and again every year, doesn't that say something? There is only one way to find a champion and that is through the crucible of a playoff involving more than a half-**** field of 4 teams.
The fact is that when money is continuously changing hands, at some point, it is going to end up in a player's hands. Furthermore, being a football player at a big name college or university has a lot of notoriety and glamor to it. And while only a small handful of these guys are going to play in the NFL, another small handful will go north into Canada and maybe a smaller handful could end up playing in the arena. So doesn't it make sense that there will be some guys who will want to milk it for all its worth?
The day the NFL became the most dominant sporting business in the world, should really have been the day someone had the epiphany that the college game became more about the future of professional football than it has been about defending the honor of the school. And if there was no such epiphany, then we need to question the intelligence of the NFL and the NCAA, whose fortunes whether they like it or not, have always been tied to each other. The colleges develop and the league buys.
We in Canada have understood this, because we already have a hockey development system which has a semi-pro aspect to it. The CHL has never denied its role as a hockey player factory for the North American professional leagues. But then again, the one thing that the NHL and MLB have in common is the one thing that the NFL doesn't have. They both have a independent development system in which professional and semi-professional teams have affiliations with a labyrinth minor leagues. By the time some of these players are 16, they already understand the concept of the player commodity. Just ask the New York Islanders' John Tavares, of whom the OHL changed their recruiting rules so they could draft a player at the age of 16. Even soccer clubs in Europe have a development system of their own.
Keith Olbermann said it and several other commentators have said it. The colleges are in fact a development league for the NFL and for that reason, the NCAA's success is in turn the NFL's success. Perhaps it's time to stop operating college football as an amateur outfit and start turning it into a part time job. After all, students work in the bookstores, the libraries, the restaurants and other places within their schools for a reasonable stipend. Rather than supplying scholarships, perhaps it would be easier to do it with a modest and equal stipend for all the players, enchanced with student loans. And part of the drafting rules should be that the NFL teams pay off the loans of their draftees. And if the boosters are so keen on paying certain players, maybe they could pool their money into an incentive fund of their own.
Yes, money is ruining college football, but not in the way you are probably thinking. It is actually the opacity of the money, a lot of it lying in the shadows, that is sullying college football. A more transparent system would bring a lot more out into the open. The only challenge is deciding on the timing and transition of a more transparent system. It's time to end the existing pretenses of the student-athlete and bring some sanity into the mix.