By Frank Luna
With another college football scandal unfolding in Miami, the inevitable calls for paying student athletes reverberates through study halls and beer halls alike. On the surface, it seems the perfect solution. Prevent athletes from ever being tempted to take cash, expensive gifts and favors from boosters and agents. Right? I don’t think so. This solution seems akin to using a band-aid to treat a heart attack. The sheer dollar amount thrown at top student athletes in premier division one schools would astound the average citizen. Plane tickets, hotel rooms, expensive cars, even engagement rings offered to players wouldn’t stop. In fact, it’s ludicrous to even try to hold athletes accountable for out-of-control behavior by the adults that surround them.
School administrators routinely accept huge cash donations from boosters then tell their players they are not allowed to do the same. And when a scandal breaks, the coaches and athletic director are rarely sanctioned beyond moving on to another school so they can look the other way as their student athletes descend into the steamy world of over zealous boosters and crooked agents.
The problem here is two-fold: Too much money and too little self-control by the adults that run the show. Top school administrators, coaches, and maybe even the NFL and the NBA need to detoxify the environment where winning at any cost is the norm, rules be damned.