NCAA to Manziel, Others: Don't Crash Our Racket
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Full marks to Jay Bilas.
The Duke-educated former hoopster who now earns a paycheck from ESPN just showed how hypocritical it is for the NCAA to dig into the financial doings of players like Johnny Manziel.
Here's what NCAA by-law 184.108.40.206 says about student jocks and ancillary income as a fruit of their athletic endeavors:
After becoming a student-athlete, an individual shall not be eligible for participation in intercollegiate athletics if the individual:
(a) Accepts any remuneration for or permits the use of his or her name or picture to advertise, recommend or promote directly the sale or use of a commercial product or service of any kind; or
(b) Receives remuneration for endorsing a commercial product or service through the individual's use of such product or service.
Here's what Bilas found when he went to the NCAA online store and punched in names like Manziel's:
Bilas did searches at the store with the names of other student-athletes who are currently prominent in football and basketball. As he found in the Manziel search, the only difference between an authentic jersey and those the NCAA store sold was that the player's name was missing. However, that detail doesn't seem to impact sales.
And how did that bastion of amateurism react to the Bilas searches?
They removed the search function.
Isn't that an institutional version of someone like Manziel signing autographs in a hotel room, taking a wad of dosh from a broker, and then saying, "This didn't happen"?
Look, we get it. The NCAA is responsible for doling out proceeds to Ohio University as well as The Ohio State University and to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi as well as Texas A&M. Most collegiate athletic budgets aren't stockpiling cash like the big boys. For every Manziel, there are hundreds of scholarship athletes from Southwest Nowhere State who are racking up expenses for their schools.
But shouldn't some sort of allowance be made for the elite athletes whose very presence adds to those coffers?
And shouldn't the NCAA at least acknowledge that this discrepancy exists instead of deleting a search function and looking like a cockroach scurrying for another patch of darkness?
Until they do, investigations like the one they're about to deploy against Manziel will appear to be more like a shakedown.