In sports very few names are polarizing.
If you wish to spark a never ending conversation, you simply have to say a few names and a debate will no doubt insue with not only a million opinions, but chances are it will never end.
Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Dallas Cowboys, Alex Rodriguez.
Any topic associated with top 25 college football is equally relevant. From Alabama and their recent run to whether or not Oregon should play in a title game this year or that year, or is Notre Dame relevant again.
Today, say Johnny Football and prepare to jabber on end with anyone.
Whether we feel he's the spoiled brat of oil barron descent or the most dynamic player in college football sparks rage in the fan base of Aggie land and equal fury in others. The two sides continue to squabble over his guilt in the recent autograph scandal, and yet Johnny Football himself has not seen one down of play this year. Its summer practice for the 2013 year and there's more fuel for print on his place in the NCAA'S infractions and investigation commitee rather than the projections of touchdowns.
That is a major part of the problem with the NCAA today: the NCAA until just days ago has remained as silent as Johnny Football. With potential season ending ramifications at hand for Texas A&M, the NCAA-as in recent years- has sat by.
Waiting. And waiting.
Cue the music from Jeopardy. And when it plays-fire up the engines of a machine set on tearing it apart or diminishing its value and all associated with it, while hilighting its problematic state and propell your ideas forward as strongly as possible.
In 1987 and 1988 SMU received what was has long since been labeled the Death Penalty for the exchanging of money and gifts to players. What is surprising about the infractions today is the timely fashion of the findings. The infractions discovered and levied penalties all happened within a matter of a year plus. In an era with no social media like today. No Twiiter. No FACEBOOK. There was no 24 hour sports coverage with headline scrolls on 5 different channels.
Nearly 30 years ago it seems common sense took over where media didn't exist. Today a move isn't made unless its validated by some sort of media. And of course, within seconds when a story is in it's infant stages-it's out there for the world to see.
When Reggie Bush became a house hold name after Bush Push, we knew in seconds of alledged parent rented homes and fancy cars. But yet it took years for the NCAA to hand down not only a ruling on what took place, but the penalties USC was to receive.
Equally, Ohio State and their recent infractions turtled along. On probation till 2015 now, the world new of tatoo parlors the night of-literally. But again, time elapses before the NCAA can find it's way around.
And not to dissapoint- the NCAA in recent days is now finding it's way onto the campus of Johnny Football, perhaps looking for Bigfoot. How much evidence has possibly been squandered or lost in the time the world knew the Heisman winner sat in motel rooms across the country with a case of writers cramp?
These lingering handling issues handcuff colleges. What to do? Do we play? Should Manziel sit? Should someone be suspended today? Is someone getting fined?
The president of the NCAA Mark Emmert has recently held a gathering to look into ways of policing themsleves and compliance issues. Recently. Not 20 years ago. Not even after Penn State and its scandal and the over pronounced penalties it was handed down.
He knows his days and the viability of the NCAA is limited unless something drastic occurs. He also is well aware major powers in college football deem the NCAA and its place unworthy. Penn State and its sex scandal are on par in years with probation with Ohio State. The Buckeyes come off in 2015, for tatoos. Penn State in 2017 for its scandal. Would anyone in their right mind equate the two?
With these type of handling or lack of by the NCAA in recent years, it has offered the powers that be in college football the window to not only evaluate their future but the possibilties of moving forward without it. How viable is the NCAA today and can a new path be carved leaving it behind?
The answer is the NCAA will be left behind and what will transpire is a new way for the top college football programs in the country to not only carry forward with business but to oversee itself internally, or with the creation of a new 'police department'.
Money is at the root of all evils they say, and thats more than evident when college football is concerned. When the topic of Johnny Football arises, the link that accompanies it is whether or not Manziel is within his rights to acquire financial gain for his likeness or basically a reward for who he has become and what he's done for the school. The arguement spawns further debate that stiphans should be awarded to all football players. The regard for amount is not even questioned so much as why it shouldn't already be put into effect.
The players bring millions to universities for their sacrifice and they rightfully should be compensated is now ingrained in many brains across the country from not just current players but sports pundits alike and even former players.
But didn't the university sacrifice itself? When these players go astray and harm the image of the university, the university cannot hold the player laible for financial failure if it even could be determined.
In turn, the most demeaning aspect of it all is thrown aside as quickly as a so called 20 dollar handshake is exchanged between boosters and players.
The value of a top 25 scholarship for a college football player on average has been estimated at $100,000. For three universities-USC,Stanford and Notre Dame, that number exceeds $200,000. What also is forgotten is the post college career of these players and how their brand of the university often projects into even greater reward than that of an average college.
Parlay the fact you played football for them, and bonuses and golf outings become fluid.
Today the masses never acquire the knowledge of what an actual football scholarship is worth these days. Should these numbers ever penetrate into the public- there very well could be an outcry that would not only overshadow the legitimizing of paying players, but it could very well hilite the value of an education.
What would happen nationally if when a kid signs his letter of intent, the entire value of his scholarship is reported? That's knowledge no university is willing to sacrifice.
And what the devalueing or non-disclosure of a college scholarship does is it affords a platform for many that deem it second teir to football. Engulf the idea of academia with the signifigance of football and you become god like.
And recently the entire SEC conference agreed in whole of the paying of players. And they are strong and animated in professing their stance. Steve Spurrier of South Carolina has basically become the poster child for the SEC of recent.
And their not alone either.
So here we are.
64 to 75 of the top colleges to come. A collection of universities that will appoint within and create a new oversight commitee itself comprised solely of 'who we want'. It will dictate television contracts and of course it will set up guidelines of its own on exactly what should take place not only on the field but off.
The NCAA has become ancient. They are slow and more often off base with their findings. They no longer govern with an iron clad fist if they ever did. Athletic director's field more power today than any person within the walls of the NCAA. They will no longer be needed in any capacity, particualry within a new Super Conference.
Today, the entire body of one conference has deemed that football is first. Therefor, any governance which includes oversite of academics that should preceed athletics is now a non-issue or takes a back seat.
Football is king.
And in its entire whole- it always has been. It was just a matter of time when money took over its rightful place and pushed forward an entire new way of doing things in college football.Not that academics will go away, but the thought is it will be a devalued part of the entire complexion. Athletes will still attend class and obtain a degree and push forward. But as some suggest already, it's total value and if it's even required to finish college is for debate. "You can play football after college" is how its worded, "so come back to college when your ready". Some would even suggest certain conferences offer an academic aspect of the scholarship with a wink.
The next move on the horizon remains to be seen today. But what is without doubt is that the Super Conference or its idea is here. It will consist of the strong. The rich. The successful. The historical.
It will leave the weak and timid aside to fend for themselves.
The Genesis of a new way in college football is here.