In a story out today, Ohio State concludes there was no NCAA violation involved when the families of four players who are traveling to the BCS national championship game in Glendale held a spaghetti dinner to raise funds so that family members could attend the game.
The players could have been suspended if they were found in violation of rules that prohibit athletes from receiving special benefits.
Starting tailback Antonio Pittman and his backup, Chris Wells were at the Dec. 23 spaghetti dinner but left midway through after Paulette Wells, Chris Wells' mother, called Ohio State offensive coordinator Jim Bollman to ask whether it might violate NCAA bylaws. Bollman advised her to have the Buckeyes players leave the event, which they did...
Dawn Stigger-Ferguson, a friend of one player's family and the fundraiser organizer, said previously the money would go instead to local youth football organizations. But in a statement Thursday, she said the event lost money because of the cost of food and supplies.
This really bothers me. Who has been there through the whole life of the players amd supported them when no one else would? Their families. But let's face it, for most of today's college football players (often from very poor families), a trip to watch them compete in the biggest games of their lives is pretty much out of the question and unaffordable.
Consider that for the cost of a college scholarship, room and board (depending on the insutitutions, about $25,000 per year,) the BCS, NCAA and player's institution can make tens of millions of dollars. This year the payout for teams in BCS bowls is $17 million. That is without even taking into account the benefits to the schools involved and to the NCAA and BCS from things like merchandising, television revenues and advertising. I don't know if the players on both teams will be weearing shirts with the Nike swish on them or some other logo, but you can be sure that they will have a logo there.
And add to that, if the player sustains a career ending or life altering injury, he will get short term medical care. And that's probably all.
But they can't even afford to help the player's families watch them in the biggest games of their lives? This is exploitive, and the NCAA is sooner or later going to have to address this issue. And yes, I do as a matter of fact believe that you can't just do something for football, you have to do it for other sports; but let's also be honest-- it's a lot cheaper to go to the Lacrosse finals than to the BCS championship game.