I was reading this article about Terrelle Pryor telling the CFL to stick it, and I was all prepared to make at least 25 jokes about how he probably shouldn’t write off that league so quickly given how truly mediocre a quarterback he is (example: Tommy Maddox thinks Pryor left school at the wrong time, etc., etc., etc).
I was all excited because athletes who overrate themselves heading into their professional careers are just such hilariously easy targets. Combined with his ignominious exit from Ohio State, and this was essentially the blogger’s version of playing Duck Hunt back in the day and cheating by putting the plastic gun up against the television screen. Yeah, I cheated at Duck Hunt. Sue me.
But then I read this quote from Pryor’s attorney, Larry James: “He doesn’t need a reason (to talk to them). He’s no longer a student-athlete,” said James, who added that Pryor doesn’t believe he owes the NCAA any answers. “They’re not going to give him or any other student-athlete any due process rights to speak of, so he’s moved on.”
Hey, Terrelle, NFL teams don’t want a guy who has to leave school before his senior year because he was breaking the rules, is by all accounts a selfish prick, and who essentially tells the NCAA to screw themselves through his attorney after he leaves school.
OK, maybe he really doesn’t owe the NCAA any more answers since he’s not trying to be eligible at Ohio State. I can go with that. It’s not like anyone really likes the NCAA anyway, especially because there’s a good chance Ohio State’s penalties will end up being less severe than USC’s even though the Buckeye football program was clearly more out of hand. Remember, it was just Reggie Bush who screwed the Trojans. The Buckeyes seem to have a culture of paying players through memorabilia and giving them free cars that has spanned most of the last decade.
However, Pryor definitely owes everyone else answers to questions such as “If you’re so convinced of your NFL abilities, why would you sacrifice your college eligibility to make a few thousand bucks when NFL money is right around the corner?” and “Did you knowingly break the rules at Ohio State or are you just that dumb?” and “Did your attorney really just imply that you left because you’re not getting ‘due process rights’?” and “Using only objects in this room, prove that you’re not the asshole everyone says you are.” Okay, maybe that last one isn’t a question.
This isn’t a call for the NCAA to do anything other than maybe increase player stipends a little. After all, it shouldn’t be surprising that a highly-successful college football program was poorly managed. Unless you’re an ESPN employee or SEC fan, but you wouldn’t be able to hear this anyway because you have your fingers in your ears while you’re making that LALALALALALALALALALA sound.
The Ohio State debacle is simply a case of some famous (in Columbus, Ohio, anyway) college football players deciding to cash in on their notoriety and make some money or get some free tattoos. It’s not a change in society or a good reason to start paying college players. It’s kids with big egos who didn’t have adequate support from the adults who were supposedly in charge of them.
And in Jim Tressel’s case, he knowingly enabled their behavior because he knew all this was going on and realized it would destroy the program.
So, once again an out-of-control college football program has melted down into a dumpster fire of NCAA violations and ineligible players. Have we learned anything?
For me, this just confirms that EVERY major program is dirty to some degree. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if, privately, the NCAA knows this but is afraid to enact any real reform because so many programs would be affected that it would damage the popularity of the sport beyond even what steroids did to people’s trust in Major League Baseball.
I also don’t know what those reforms would look like, but at the very least this latest scandal proves that it’s time for the NCAA to expand and streamline its own oversight and enforcement department. How embarrassing is it that it wasn’t the NCAA that uncovered any of this, but newspapers and investigative journalism? And this isn’t the first time since this is also exactly how the Reggie Bush saga broke too.
If the NCAA wants to end up like Major League Baseball, then so be it, I guess. But I can guarantee that Terrelle Pryor isn’t the last big-time selfish and greedy player to come through college football. This is just going to keep happening and happening until the grownups do something.