Teaching the Wrong Lesson

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As Newport Harbor and Corona del Mar wrap up their football regular seasons tonight, the purity and honesty of high school and collegiate sports is in serious jeopardy.

Not from anything the local students and coaches are doing, mind you. But those CdM and NHHS players who go on to collegiate ball will be entering a broken system.

The allegations and daily revelations surrounding Auburn’s Cameron Newton are disappointing, to say the least.  Already let go from the University of Florida for disciplinary reasons, allegations of accepting money to play for certain schools are now arising about the star quarterback.  Cam Newton, a favorite for the Heisman Trophy, is now being investigated and will likely suffer severe penalties if found guilty of these charges.

Just recently Reggie Bush had to give back his Heisman trophy for dishonest conduct while at USC, the first winner of the award to ever have to return it, and pundits all over the country are afraid it could happen all over again.  Many votes that would have gone to Newton may now go elsewhere, even though nothing has technically been proved against him.  It’s sort of a preemptive way of punishing Newton so that in the case these allegations are true, he won’t be linked to college football’s most prestigious individual award.

The fundamental problem here is that schools competing for Cam Newton’s services were requested by Newton’s father to not only include a scholarship, but extra money as well.  The outcry to pay college athletes, especially in football where the players bring in millions for their universities, has gotten louder over the years.

Agents are like vultures around these kids as the line between amateur and professional athletes has been severely blurred.  Imagine your child, a star football player, is being recruited by USC, Oklahoma, Texas or any of the other big schools around the country and is offered a full-ride scholarship plus an illegal amount of cash on top of a scholarship to sweeten the deal.  It just feels dirty and slimy.  Not only is it unfair, it’s illegal.

Personally, I don’t agree with the movement to pay college athletes.  I understand that they bring in millions for their schools and thousands of people are making loads of money off of them as well, but it’s not like they’re getting short changed.  These kids receive a top-notch education from fantastic universities all across the country and it’s all completely free.

For the students that aren’t athletes, attending such universities can cost tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.  I don’t have sympathy for people like Reggie Bush and Cam Newton, especially since they knew they would go on to the NFL and make millions of dollars there, they just had to wait until the draft.  It’s not really a surprise anymore, though. It’s sort of like hearing that another baseball player tested positive for steroids or another professional athlete was arrested at a nightclub.

Everybody just rolls their eyes and says, “It figures.”

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