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Don't Blame NCAA for Johnny Manziel

Aug 16, 2013 -- 8:40am

Of course Johnny Manziel broke NCAA rules. Of course he should be suspended.

To think otherwise makes you stupid, an avid Texas A&M fan or one of the gazillion NCAA haters. If you are one of the latter it means you have no idea what the NCAA is. Or actually what it is not.

Critics of the NCAA talk about the organization as if it is a giant, for-profit corporation like Exxon-Mobile or General Motors. It is not. The NCAA is the University of Florida and Notre Dame University and UCLA and the University of North Carolina and hundreds of other universities and colleges. The NCAA was created by the schools and for the schools to administer the rules established by the schools.

Problem is college athletics have become much bigger than the member schools ever imagined. They’ve grown quicker than the rules-makers can adjust. Or want to.

To say college athletics are out of control is an understatement. What started out as way of overseeing that games be played fairly has escalated into big business. A very big business.

Yeah, I think the athletes at the highest NCAA level get shortchanged in many ways. Meanwhile, a lot of college executives – athletic directors and coaches, mainly – get rich off of big-time athletics.

College executives are the ones who deserve our criticism; not a small group of hired guns who man the NCAA offices. NCAA office employees don’t make policy and establish rules. They simply follow orders.

And it is clear those policies and rules are outdated. The problem is how to fix the situation.

There is no simple solution. In fact, the only solution is a major overhaul in how college athletics are structured and governed.

To try and apply the same rules to UF and JU, for example, is like trying to build a better BB gun for national defense. The schools with $100 million athletic budgets need rules far different from the schools that operate on the proverbial shoestring. That means a so-called super division in the NCAA or, better yet, is new governing organization to administer a different set of rules.

In that world the athletes would get a bigger piece of the pie. Johnny Manziel would be eligible play no matter how many autographs he was paid to sign.  

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