College football players have been walking with a spring in their step since Monday, when NCAA president Mark Emmert supported a proposal that would increase student-athlete grants by as much as $2,000 annually.
An advocacy group known as the National College Players Association gathered a petition of 339 athletes in support of a plan which would more accurately reimburse players for the full price tag of attending college.
So here’s my question: In a world that begs for a cure to the plague of boosters and agents, will this proposal be the messiah?
Let me answer by saying Nevin Shapiro won’t be the last spray-tanned tycoon with a hair gel addiction to host a yacht party for college football players.
The proposal wasn’t intended to cure the problem of illegal benefits, though it would be comical if that were the case. Bless Emmert’s heart for attempting to compensate the talent for bringing millions of dollars to schools, TV networks and the NCAA. If athletes choose to turn down tens of thousands of dollars in booster money, it won’t be because they’ve been greased with a couple extra G’s from their university.
I’m a little weary of this new plan. Giving players some extra cash is a nice thought, but it could compound the sense of entitlement so rampant in college football, which could ultimately lead to the acceptance of illegal benefits that will actually make a difference in their lives. If you give a mouse a cookie...
With regards to a solution to the booster and agent problem, I subscribe to Sandra Bullock’s doctrine in “Miss Congeniality.” An undercover FBI agent, Bullock is competing in a beauty pageant interview when host William Shatner asks, “What is the one most important thing our society needs?” While every other contestant drones, “world peace,” Bullock prescribes, “harsher punishment for parole violators.”
The NCAA officials have done a great job of cracking down on universities and players for the illegal flow of benefits — reducing scholarships, vacating wins, post-season bans, etc. Still, I wouldn’t mind seeing them administer the “death penalty” in extreme cases — schools need to understand the weight of this issue.