Well, I don't follow college sports too much, and one of today's little tidbits of news on SI shows why. Although I have written posts on college sports in the past, they are merely blind predictions from a guy who knows a little bit about a lot of teams.
Talented college players are treated just as well, if not better, than professional players of each sport.
College basketball is perhaps the easiest to show this. Every year, a talented crop of high school seniors become fantastic freshman stars, leading their teams to greatness. Greg Oden, Kevin Durant, Michael Beasley, Kevin Love and OJ Mayo come to mind from the last few years. Then, they jump to the NBA after their freshman seasons after only one year in college. This I don't have too much of a problem with, as I know that the longer the stay in college, the less cash they will get.
However, the fact that college players who are 18 or 19 years old are recruited so heavily is scary. Imagine, it has gotten to the point where MIDDLE SCHOOLERS have been recruited.
A few SI issues ago, there was an editorial, the "point after, that mocked college recruiting, naming two 8th graders who were already given basketball scholarships. THEY WERE 13 YEARS OLD!!! What is wrong here? Maybe the fact that they probably haven't gone through puberty yet?
Today, ever worse news was proclaimed by SI concerning OJ Mayo.
Basically, Tim Floyd, the coach of USC's basketball team PAID Mayo $1000 to play there. So, OJ got,
1. Money to go to the college, probably a full ride, and recieve a great education. (A perk that I am sure he cared little about, seeing as how he left after his freshman year).
2. Recruiting like crazy, probably several visits there along with the other schools he was thinking about.
3. And being a virtual rockstar on campus, his freshman year. I wonder what classes he took that year...anyway...
Now, he is being paid, in cash, $1000. If this is true, than it is not so much about the amount of money, (a small one), but the fact that a coach may have done it. It crosses a threshold that has never been crossed.
I put little fault with Mayo, unless he knew it was a recruiting violation. There must be huge punishments for offering a college player money like this, directly.
The fact that so much pressure is put on an 18 or 19 year old to perform is disgusting, which is why I don't follow college basketball. It hinges too much on recruiting and star freshman, and the bigger college sports get, the bigger the pressure gets on these teenagers.
Any other college perks I missed for those precious five star recruits? Have a question? Comment or send me a message. I check here almost daily.
There may be a part II to this, I haven't decided yet.