I’ve read a few articles today about the A.J. Green situation that have left me scratching my head, particularly this one from Tony Barnhardt of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. I don’t frequent the Georgia blogs or message boards, so I can’t honestly tell you what side the majority of fans are taking on the issue. But of the few columns I have read, the writers seem to come down soft on the one person who could have prevented this whole situation:
Green’s statement said something about a “mistake in judgment” he made.
Translation: I knew it was wrong, I did it anyway.
Now tell me, why WOULDN’T you be mad at him if you’re a Georgia fan? He sold his jersey for $1000 to a guy who might or might not be an agent, knowing it could get him and the university in trouble. That’s not a mistake in judgment, that’s blatant disregard for the rules that are constantly hammered into these athletes not to break.
It is certainly well within everyone’s right to demonize the NCAA – been there, done that, sold the game-worn jersey – but until someone comes up with a fair and equitable way to pay college athletes for their services, those athletes need to play by the rules, or be prepared to suffer the consequences.
And while we’re on the subject, has anyone actually come up with an idea for a fair and equitable way to pay college athletes? Should they pay just the revenue generators? Would the money be split evenly among the entire team? Just the scholarship players? Would the fourth-teamers get the same amount as the first-teamers? What if 5000 Alshon Jeffery jerseys sell, but zero Rokevious Watkins jerseys sell? Does Alshon get a cut of that and Rok not? What about FCS schools? Do the same rules and payment schedules apply to them?
When somebody can piece that together along with the thousands of other questions that would be raised, then we can talk. Until then, let’s hope the kids do the best they can with their scholarship that is worth tens of thousands of dollars.
Yes, to some degree I would agree these kids are “used”. They work hard, more is expected of them than a typical college student, and millions could potentially be made off their likeness over four years without them ever seeing a red cent.
That said, put me in a time machine today, take me back 22 years, and give me a football scholarship to the University of South Carolina. Sell my posters, jersey, signature, and use my likeness anywhere you see fit. I don’t want anything in return but to be able to run through that tunnel and play football on Saturdays.
But that’s just me.