Wednesday, September 8, 2010

NCAA Has To Be Tough, Because They Can't Trust You

The argument about whether or not college athletes should be properly compensated will be debated until... they start paying them, I guess.

AJ Green was looking to make a little extra coin by - allegedly - selling one of his game-worn jerseys. And we all know that this is not a big deal on the surface, and some folks are going with the stock "cry for the athlete" position. That's fine, but I see where the NCAA is coming from on this one.

I am a firm believer in the human condition. And that condition is that, on the whole, humans are greedy, greedy people. You find a loophole for someone with incentive and initiative, and watch them go.

And that's why this rule is in place. (Well, actually, this is why, but nonetheless.) The NCAA has to draw a hard line on this.

Not sure if you've noticed, but sports memorabilia can go for some pretty hefty pricetags. And I've never understood why, but people love this stuff. I have a friend in Talladega, AL whose basement is a shrine to... well, junk. Tons of it. Every Playboy ever, Bear Bryant signed footballs, so much Richard Petty stuff that it would make you sick, and it's everywhere. Although I could never get him to admit it, but I'd say that over the years, he's probably spent close to $100,000 on his basement decorations. Stuff that I consider worthless.

The point of bringing that up is that it's hard to get a proper grasp on an accurate financial value of memoribilia, because people's emotions become involved and generally speaking, the more emotion, the less rational the decision-making process. (For you math-geeks, that's an inverse relationship.) And sports are extremely emotional.

So, it's not unheard of to see someone buy a jersey for an obscene amount of money. And under that premise, how observe would it be for someone to overpay AJ Green for a game-worn jersey?

And what if this overpayer was a overzealous fan, or program booster, or - better yet - connected to an agent?

Now, I'm not saying that this is what happened in AJ's case, but this is why the NCAA can't take any chances. If they allow players to sell their gear, it won't be long before 'somebody' pays Terrelle Pryor, Matt Barkley, or John Brantley $50,000 for a pair of game-worn shoes.

Maybe Jordan Jefferson could score $5k for a practice jersey.

Noel Devine could sell a jersey and finally some satisfaction for going to West Virginia.

No telling what Tebow could have gotten for a game-worn jock strap. (And Gary Danielson with the high bid...)

So, as bad as I feel for the players and their predicament, we have to remember that people are greedy, and when given the opportunity to exploit a rule - they'll do it, because it's not against the rules.

This - allegedly - was against the rules. And let's just hope the punishment is fair (like just give the money back), and we can get AJ back on the field soon.