Posted 05/12/2008 at 01:17 PM
Mayo-gate is dominating sports media today as a ‘shocking’ development was released on Outside the Lines. USC star freshmen O.J. Mayo allegedly received thousands of dollars in gifts and cash that was allegedly tied through the BDA sports agency. The accused go between Rodney Guillory was linked to past illegal activity at USC and some are calling for the death penalty on the school’s athletic programs that have risen back to prominence in the past decade.
The sad part is that this is not a surprise at all. After Mayo signed with USC if anyone doubted that Mayo would likely be accessing some NCAA violating funds in his one-year stay in college they would be accused of being truly naïve. There is no promising solution to this situation. No one can really be held accountable and delivering proof in these cases is next to impossible. This is a slick operation and most are aware it is going on but there is little that can be done.
The players that accept money can not really be penalized. After the revelations come out they are typically out of college sports already. The pro teams certainly don’t care about a situation like this. Sure it would be great to maintain the integrity of college athletics and many college athletes do just that, but the perception is pretty widespread that this type of thing happens regularly at schools around the country. Year after year a new case arises and there are rarely any real punishments levied. Perhaps a scholarship is taken away or a program is put on some type of probation but the days of truly meaningful penalties and NCAA sanctions appear top be far past gone.
Maybe that’s okay. We’re probably better off continuing to turn our head’s and allow the NCAA to turn away from the continuing infractions. Some want to blame sports agents, and they rightfully own a slimy, greedy, reputation but they are simply running their profession to the best that they can. Whatever rules are set, smart people will find ways to make the best use of them, this happens in every line of business there is.
The schools can’t be blamed for wanting a star player, even for a year, as the exposure gained and financial gains can be tremendous. The USC coaches and players certainly had to be aware that Mayo was getting money from somewhere but as long it was not from people with direct ties to USC and there was no explicit knowledge, did they really break any rules that can be proven and punished?
Some want to blame the age-limit in the NBA in this instance, but there will be one-year college players that go pro regardless even if the most hyped players go straight to the NBA. Carmelo Anthony is a perfect example of a player in that situation before the age-limit as he was a borderline high NBA pick out of high school and played his way to elite status. Mayo was the most hyped player and assumed to be a sure-fire one-and-done college player now that the age limit is in place, but several other college freshmen outshined him and will be picked higher.
It is time to just accept this side of college sports, it won’t be going away anytime soon and there simply is no way to thoroughly regulate it. Where there is an advantage to be gained, someone will take advantage, and people will just continue to do an even better job of it.