The Texas A&M Quarterback Johnny Manziel seems to be the new face of college football. A kid not even old enough to legally drink, now has a trademarked nickname, (Johnny Football), broke multiple college records in his first playable season, and was the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy, the Manning Award, and the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award. He has been the subject of both high ridicule and praise.
And in his most recent controversy, allegedly making a five-figured profit off signing a couple helmets. Because this violates the National Collegiate Athletic Association rule that college athletes can make no profit in anyway associated with their sport, the NCAA decided to suspend him from the first half, two quarters, of the Texas A&M season opener. Oddly enough this move by the NCAA was torn apart by sports fans around the US and has now brought to light a long quietly debated subject, why do we even need the NCAA?
There are a few reasons that this move on the NCAA’s part was so disliked. Firstly, one of the main purposes of the NCAA is to regulate and protect student athletes fairly across the board. So this action on the NCAA’s part to suspend him for only two quarters seemed highly unfair to many when other Division I athletes had been removed for much longer time periods for lesser offenses. This decision has been interpreted as the NCAA wanting to keep the viewership happy. With Manziel’s jersey being one of the top selling college jerseys, removing a star from the sport longer could hurt sales of merchandise television viewership.
Secondly, many are angry because the NCAA doesn’t allow college athletes to make any money from their sport, but the NCAA is making a profit off of these athletes yearly. According to NCAA their 2011-2012 profits were at $871.6 million, 81 percent coming from the Turner/CBS sports television agreement, one percent from small contributions, and “most of the remaining 18 percent of all NCAA revenue came from championships (mostly ticket and merchandise sales.)” NCAA also states that only four percent goes to pay for salaries, but the fact that NCAA President Mark Emmert made $1.7 million last year raises a lot of eyebrows. For a company that is listed as a non-profit organization, the NCAA is making a lot of money off of athletes that won’t see a penny.
On the other side there is an importance to NCAA. Filed as a non-profit organization, they do have an important role in college athletics that many believe wouldn’t be upheld if left to each colleges’ individual devices. The NCAA has strict limits on hours allowed for practices which helps make sure athletes don’t get overworked. These practice limits help make sure that schools don’t have more time to work with a team to gain an advantage during season. Also NCAA implements strict recruiting rules to again keep schools from having an advantage once season starts.
Many believe that Johnny Manziel and the controversy involving him may be the tipping point in college athletics involving the NCAA. Only time will tell whether this current fire will change anything with the NCAA.
So what does this mean for SSU who has no football team and a Division II athletic program?
At this current moment, nothing.
Realistically the first changes, if any in the near future, will be in Division I. But in the years to follow, perhaps SSU could one day be selling jerseys in the bookstore with a small amount of the profit going directly to the player in which the number belongs.