The Power Alley: The Dawning of a New Era in Collegiate Athletics

Posted on November 9, 2011

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By Patrick Carr

In the light of the recent Penn State sex scandal I have to say when is enough going to be enough? When will the day come where another scandal isn’t the headline of sports coverage? It really shows that big time college athletics and the people in charge need to take a step back, and get back in touch with reality. Look at what they have done, or in this case not done, and how those actions continue to destroy the landscape of collegiate athletics.

The NCAA, an organization which was founded on principles such as the betterment of “student athletes” has suddenly turned into a money hungry, dog eat dog world with no signs of turning back. This recent Penn State scandal obviously has nothing to do with money, but it has everything to do with the plague that has taken hold of something bigger than iconic coaches like Joe Paterno and Jim Tressel. These scandals have taken away from the game of football itself, a game that many kids grow up hoping to play for their favorite university. It’s a shame that the greed of a select few adults have tarnished the dreams of so many kids.

I know by now everyone is yelling at their computer screens “what about the kids who take money, or sell their jerseys for tattoos, or accept cars from “friends of the program?” My simple response is that for every action there is an enabler who has allowed their student-athletes to tip toe the line, putting their program and their eligibility in jeopardy; and it’s a damned shame. It’s a disgrace that the game I loved growing up, that I would have done anything to play at the highest level is being subjected to greed and scams, and leads off every episode of SportsCenter with a new allegation. Someone needs to take a stand, and needs to take actions to prevent this from becoming a recurring cycle, and I can promise you that the “someone” is not the NCAA. They are as much to blame as anyone when it comes to these matters.

The NCAA is a multi-billion dollar organization that has been thriving off of players who do not receive a dime of compensation for promoting the brand; the same players who are taking the money, the cars, and breaking rule after rule. And why are these players continuing to break the rules with no regards for the consequences it may have on their teammates, and programs as a whole? Because the enablers are allowing this to happen. Whether the enabler is the head coach, or the athletic director it does not matter. The time has come for these scandals to stop. No more Joe Paternos, or Frank Haiths, or Jim Tressels turning their heads to improprieties in order to land the coveted recruit or preserve the championship season. Eventually all dirt surfaces and whatever accomplishments that top recruit helped the coach achieve will all come crashing down. If these scandals have taught us anything it should be that, as the saying goes, that which is done in the dark, will eventually come to light. You just can’t get away with it anymore.

The NCAA is the only organization in the country that is the judge, the jury, and the executioner which is another thing that needs to change. Rather than sitting on piles of cash, and handing out punishments like candy on Halloween, perhaps they should do something to prevent these scandals. Rather than just dishing out the penalties, work on plans of prevention. With all that being said, here is to hoping I never have to write about this again, and you never have to read anything like this again. Let’s hope this latest scandal sets the tone for a new era of good, clean collegiate athletics. An era everyone can finally be proud of. An era where the focus is what takes place on the court, or field rather than what takes place off of it.

And if anyone still cares about the actual sports themselves, the Nittany Lions are off to an 8-1 start, and control their own destiny in reaching the Big Ten Championship game and a BCS Bowl bid.

Follow Patrick on Twitter @patrickcarr24