Amy Donaldson: Stooges at NCAA full of hypocrisy

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 29 2010 10:00 p.m. MST

Keni Kaufusi (Cal) and John Martinez (USC) are brothers.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

The NCAA has turned college sports into a hotbed of hypocrisy.

As college sports continue to increase in popularity, everyone and anyone is cashing in on the games. Everyone, that is, except the young athletes who make those games so compelling.

The recent decision regarding the five Ohio State football players who sold trophies, rings and other memorabilia just highlighted how hypocritical the organization that oversees college sports has become. One was suspended for a single game next year and four others, including quarterback Terrelle Pryor and wide receiver DeVier Posey, were suspended for five games — NEXT YEAR!

They will, however, be allowed to play in the Sugar Bowl next week. Why, you might wonder, would they do that? Well, because the NCAA and its television partners will make a whole lot of money off those bowl games and they need all their stars on the field.

If what they did was wrong, they shouldn't be allowed to play in the bowl game.

Posey's mother, Julie, pointed out that while the athletes struggle to make ends meet, everyone around them is cashing in on their hard work. A local Utah father, who is supporting two Division I football players at different schools, agrees — a full ride scholarship doesn't cover everything.

"So it's already a financial strain on a family," Posie's mother told the Columbus Dispatch. "The whole thing requires money, but they — the NCAA — don't want to give it to them. The NCAA is saying, 'Well, if they gave them money, they no longer have amateur status.' Well, guess what? College football and basketball players are the only amateurs not receiving any money that I see plastered all over the TV and on magazines. They're not amateurs. Who do they think they're kidding? The NCAA certainly doesn't look at them as amateurs. If they did, they wouldn't be making money off them."

Steve Martinez, a local father who has a son, John Martinez, at USC, and another, Keni Kaufusi, at University of California-Berkley, said he's tempted to fly to NCAA headquarters in Indiana and let them know just what he thinks of their ridiculously inconsistent and unrealistic rules.

Here is the way Martinez explained it:

I vaguely understood that USC had to be punished concerning Reggie Bush, for its lack of supervision of its very high profile (can I say world-famous?) football team. I also understood trying to keep track of 300 student athletes — and their relatives — with a small one-and-a-half people is an impossible task. But I do know what I was personally told at every "mandatory" parent gathering that I attended. I was told a few simple rules.

Rule No. 1 — Never do anything that will embarrass the university or hurt the team.

This is pretty simple to me. You are not in this alone. Every time you think about doing something questionable, or even something fairly ordinary for a late teen, early 20s kid, think about the guys you spend all your time with. If you are going to do something that hurts them, your friends, your roommates or your brothers, don't do it!

Rule No. 2 — The parent is the player.

Everything I do has a reflection on my son's eligibility, his future. I, as a parent, am not allowed to do anything that in any way capitalizes on my son's "celebrity." This means I am not allowed to go to some friendly guy's tailgate and have a hotdog and a drink without paying for it. If I were to get some benefit, due even in part to John and Keni playing college ball, I could get them disqualified from college football, forever.

Rule No. 3 — Don't sell any signed memorabilia. Their autographs aren't supposed to be "worth" anything.

The guys may not sell their team uniforms, track suits, hoodies, backpacks, or bowl gifts to anyone.

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