Free will is a wonderful thing, giving us the option to change our mind. And whether its something socially momentous like Ernie Davis becoming the first black man to win a Heisman Trophy or something trivial like getting used to the designated hitter rule, our ideas and beliefs are always changing.
When was the last time you heard someone truly complain about a traveling call in an NBA game? Itís probably been a while because weíve all become accustomed to the extra few steps the professionals get to make. It is against the rules, but weíve accepted that trade off.
Iím getting there with the idea of amateur athletics and college football. My reaction used to contain much anger ó how dare these cheaters abuse our sacred system. Now when I hear the claims ex-Auburn players made on HBO against various college programs, including Ohio State, Iím completely and totally not shocked. It happens everywhere.
Oh, Michael Jordan took three steps before taking off for the layup?
Oh, Terrelle Pryor traded some autographs for tattoos?
I really canít get too up-in-arms and muster up some good olí indignation over this anymore. One of my favorite quotes comes from the Dalai Lama ó ďItís better to accept reality than be tormented by it.Ē And like it or not, this is our reality.
As long as college football makes enough money to make a Kardashian sisterís heart melt, there will be pay-offs and dirty recruiting trips and people around the programs trying to make their destination better for the top recruit by whatever means necessary. See a girl you like? Sheís yours. Want a new pair of Jordans? You got Ďem.
Itís time to cut the bull and call it as it is: There is nothing amateur about college football, save for perhaps our antiquated and cute opinions and ideals.
The best way we can keep a cap on all of this and once again make it a fair playing surface is to legalize it and govern it. Turning our back on the problem and acting like it doesnít exist isnít helping, and itís making the problem even greater.
Iím not calling for college athletes to be paid, and they really donít have to; theyíre already living better lives than most of us will ever dream of. They drive around town in the best cars, live in the best apartments, date the best looking women, eat the best food and have absolutely no responsibilities outside of showing up for practice and staying academically eligible. If Iím a college football star, I like things the way they are, so you can keep your per-semester stipend.
We need to understand the truth of college football and not act so darned surprised when it happens. Players get paid, recruits get lathered up and we pay $70 a ticket to watch them compete every Saturday afternoon.
This is college football in 2011, and it resembles nothing about college football in 1961.