Protection disguised as punishment victimize players


The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is forced to deal with one pressing question every year – should college athletes be paid?

The NCAA always answers with a resounding no. Despite the number of scandals of players being paid off and stories of boosters helping recruits, the NCAA has remained steadfast on this subject.

After having some uncertainty, I stand behind the NCAA in its decision not to pay athletes. However, the NCAA needs to stop punishing athletes for accepting payments. It needs to do more to those who are paying the players, such as boosters and recruiters.

Shabazz Muhammad is a more recent case of an athlete illegally accepting payment. Muhammad, the No.2 overall high school basketball prospect, was part of what some consider the nation’s top recruiting class. He chose to go to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), a lesser school compared to most of the other schools that sought after him.

There was a lot of speculation surrounding his recruitment, and fellow recruits – Kyle Anderson, Tony Parker and Jordan Adams. After a short investigation, it was confirmed that Muhammad received gifts and money to go to UCLA. He will have to pay back more than $50,000 in gifts.

Compared to former University of Southern California Trojan running back Reggie Bush, Muhammad got off easy. Bush not only forfeited his Heisman Trophy and other personal accolades but he had his entire college career wiped from the record books as if he never played a down.

Meanwhile, his coach, Pete Carroll, got away scot-free and has a blossoming coaching career in the NFL. Former Heisman winner and national champion Cam Newton was under investigation for similar accusations.

The problem is not so much in the NCAA’s punishments, but whom it chooses to punish. The players who the NCAA claims it is trying to protect end up becoming the victims of this vicious cycle.