NCAA has it all backwards

September 30th, 2010

Just a few weeks ago, University of Florida football player Chris Rainey became the 27th football player in the past six seasons to get arrested. 

Rainey was charged with aggravated stalking after he sent a girlfriend a text message that, when cleaned up for print, read “Time to die.”

When police arrived, he told his girlfriend that she should just wait and see what happens to her after the police left.

Rainey was booted from the team by Gators head coach Urban Meyer, but the fact that he’s the 27th played arrested should raise concerns. 

Of those 27 arrests, not all were “huge deals.” Many players were arrested for underage possession of alcohol and received a slap on the wrist. Still, a handful of players were arrested on charges of battery and assault. In a few cases, their victims were women.

And still, the NCAA does nothing. 

The University of Southern California, on the other hand, is banned from postseason play because of illegal (by rule, not legal standards) benefits that former Trojan running back Reggie Bush received back in 2004.

I don’t think Florida should be banned from postseason play. That would be punishing the whole group for the actions of a few. But perhaps the governing body that is the NCAA could take away a few scholarships for Florida, as they did to USC, and encourage the Gators to clean up their program that way.

I think it’s unfair to the current players at USC to be punished for what one player (and maybe a coach and athletic director that have both since left the school) did before the current athletes stepped on campus. I also think that what the Florida players are doing as a collective unit seems much worse than what Bush did. 

Bush allegedly accepted cash and his parents were given a home by an agent. It’s against the rules, sure, but nobody was greatly hurt in the process. At Florida, news of players getting DUI’s and assault charges has become old hat, and that’s where people really get hurt.

Bush ultimately returned his Heisman Trophy and USC was stripped of their 2004 national title by the Football Writers Association of America. The school had to pay that way, as well as losing 30 football scholarships over a three-year span.

The NCAA has to keep things fair and they can’t have schools like USC getting better players by cheating. But to me, there are programs with worse things happening that need to be corrected first.