Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Buzz Bissinger, is now the new sports columnist for The Daily Beast. He wrote the books “Friday Night Lights” and “Three Nights In August,” the man knows his stuff. He is often very controversial with his take on current events and very opinionated on his Twitter account. He made a splash a few years ago when he went after Deadspin founder Will Leitch and all sports bloggers on Bob Costas’s HBO show. Bloggers are supposed to hate him, but I kind of love him now. His latest take on the Cam Newton situation is a must-read, here’s my take.
I could lose my “blogger card” for writing a pro-Bissinger post, but the man hit his article out of the park. He has a fresh take on the “biggest non-story story” to his college football this season.
Cam Newton and his father, Cecil Newton, have been charged and convicted in the court of public opinion. Bissinger throws the spotlight back onto the NCAA, even comparing them to the mafia. His stance is that the NCAA are making millions of dollars on these kids and there are no guarantees that they will earn a dollar from the sport, especially if the player gets injured. He thinks that Cecil Newton allegedly low-balled Mississippi State and should have asked for more than $180,000 dollars. Bissinger thinks every player should receive the dollar value for how much his scholarship is worth. He calls it a “annuity,” which is exactly what should happen. Bissinger even uses the comparison that “the school is pimp and the player is a high-priced whore.” He isn’t trying to defame the players by calling them “whores”, he is just pointing out that is the role they play in the system that is in place. The school’s pimp hand is strong, but you can’t hate the player, just hate the game (NCAA).
It’s no secret that college football is the biggest money maker for nearly every school. It helps fund other sports that lose money and Title IX sports that have to be offered. I am not against Title IX, but it is always brought up when people suggest that colleges pay their players.
I have an idea that isn’t a new one, but should be thrown back into the discussion. Colleges and universities sell jerseys with numbers that correspond with players currently playing. That money goes straight to the institution and no dime goes to the players. I live in Columbus, Ohio and #2 jerseys (Terrelle Pryor) sell for a higher price than other numbered jerseys. Also, when Beanie Wells went pro, #28 jerseys (the number he wore at Ohio State) sold for a reduced price. Fans want to wear the jersey number of their favorite player. The players should get a cut of profits from their merchandise. You could either give them their share every year or the university could invest that money into a mutual fund and given to them after their eligibility runs out. Georgia player, A.J. Green, was suspended at the start of this season for selling his jersey, even though a fan could buy a similar jersey on the school’s website or all over Athens, Georgia. He received less than $1,000 dollars for it, but was suspended for four games.
I don’t know if I can go all out by comparing NCAA to the mafia or a pimp, but we should all agree that the system is broken. The rules that make up what define an “amateur,” were written before college sports programs turned into Fortune 500 companies. If the system isn’t fixed or definitions re-written, we could end up with another SMU scandal and the NCAA would have to basically dismantle an entire program to prove their point. Wait, I guess if a “high-priced whore” gets out of line, a pimp gotta go what a pimp gotta do, right?
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