Could NCAA football come under anymore scrutiny? It has only been a few days since the scandal at OSU was brought to light by Sports Illustrated, and now an official Yahoo! Sports investigation has revealed that 5 players from the SEC received monetary benefits while playing in college. The suspected players are D.J Fluker - offensive tackle for the University of Alabama, Tyler Bray - quarterback for the University of Tennessee, Maurice Crouch - defensive end for the University of Tennessee, Fletcher Cox - defensive tackle for Mississippi State University, and Chad Bumphis - wide receiver for Mississippi State.
While the charges against the players from Tennessee and Mississippi State are serious (especially considering the two programs are currently under probation), the charges against D.J. Fluker perhaps carry the most weight. Fluker was a member of Alabama's previous 2 National Championship teams. After last year's championship victory, Fluker decided to forego his senior season and enter his name into the NFL draft, where he was chosen 11th by the San Diego Chargers. Past money allegations have shown us just how serious the offense is considered by the NCAA; After it was discovered that Reggie Bush had taken money while at USC, the NCAA stripped USC of its 2004 National Title, banned them from bowl games for 2 years, and stripped 30 scholarships and 14 victories from the team.
Based on previous actions, one can properly assume that Alabama is in grave danger of losing claims to its last 2 national championships. However, it may come down to an issue of how much Alabama actually knew about the situation. If anyone at Alabama had knowledge of the events either as they occurred or after the fact, and did not step forward with the allegations, then Alabama most likely will lose their national championships and face many other sanctions (Prime examples - USC and coach Jim Tressel at Ohio State). However, if this was an isolated action by Fluker and his contact points, Alabama may be able to weasel their way around the situation and retain their successes.
Unlike the accusations against OSU, this case will probably be fairly cut and dry. The report issued by Yahoo! Sports outlines a huge paper trail left behind by Fluker, his mother, and his contact - former Alabama defensive end Luther Davis. Whenever one can create a chronological listing of all of the money transactions which occurred to Fluker from Davis, it's safe to say the evidence is fairly damning. Perhaps the most damning evidence of all, however, was divulged by Fluker himself. In April, Fluker posted a tweet in which he admitted that he received money while in college:
The allegations against these 5 players and the allegations against OSU once again bring us to the age-old question: Should college athletes be paid for their services rendered during college? This USA Today Sports article by Chris Strauss makes the argument that Alabama should have played Fluker for his performance for the Crimson Tide, based on the amount of revenue the football team pulled-in for the university and Fluker's past of growing up poor. While the latter case is hard to argue against (those pathos appeals always carry so much weight), one cannot overlook the fact that Fluker has his entire college expense paid for and received a HUGE contract upon signing with the San Diego Chargers ($6.6 million in a signing bonus, to be exact). Personally, I believe paying college students to play sports completely eliminates the division between amateur and professional and also eliminates the need for college athletics. But perhaps that is just the internal jealousy stemming from a vertically-challenged, private-liberal-arts educated academic.
What do you think? Should college athletes be paid? Respond in the Comment Section below.
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