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Free education, nationwide exposure, a chance to join the pros, yeah life doesn't get any better for student-athletes. So because of that, they aren't allowed to have any sort of benefits at all? Why? Because it ruins the integrity of the game? I don't think so. In the words of Snoop Dogg "Ain't no fun if the homies can't have none." In this case, the homies are the NCAA, who simply just want to turn athletes into licensed products. They don't want individuals to stand out, they didn't want people to pay to see Reggie Bush, they rather people come see USC #5(officially licensed by the NCAA).
I was reading about the Bush story for a while now and while I understand where they are coming from I think it's a bit much. Reggie Bush was nothing more than a poor kid from Mississippi; someone offered him money he took it. It was wrong to some degree, but it's more or less a 19-20 year old who wanted to help his family out. Did a new house give him a competitive advantage, no? Yet he will likely lose his well deserved Heisman Trophy over it. What if it was a rich woman who found Reggie cute so she bought him a house and gave him money; is that wrong as well? Was Bush allowed to receive birthday presents or Christmas gifts at USC. It's nearly communist how they try to control things.
Now the O.J. Mayo incident, who has came under fire for taking free tickets from former freshman standout Carmelo Anthony. What was simply a gift from a friend turned into this big thing for what reason? Was this some elaborate scheme for Mayo to drop out of USC and sign with the Denver Nuggets? Highly doubt it. Are the rest of the teammates mad because Mayo has a friend in the NBA? Should Melo had got tickets for the entire team to make things fair? Once again the NCAA playing Stalin trying to control everything.
How does this look on USC's reputation, what happens when they have to recruit, they pretty much must tell their prospects, you aren't allowed to get anything but an education and that's it. You're not allowed to get a part time job because you might be overpaid, you can't receive gifts because they might be trying to bribe you. Its just assinine.
The NCAA makes hundreds of millions of dollars a year, and athletes get 0 from it. Then when they get money from other means, it's corrupt. Reggie Bush received money from a wealthy person: he didn't rob him, he didn't break the law in any way. O.J. Mayo went to go see his friend play, he wasn't signing a letter of intent to join the Denver Nuggets.
The NCAA is all about exploiting young talent, recruits promise everything from playing time to sexual favors to get teens to sign their John Hancock (no pun intended) on National Signing Day. Yet they try to crack down so no one else does. Quite hypocritical if you ask me