College sports in 2022 is a different time than, say, 2002, Hell, even 2012.
Did you think that college athletes would ever get paid off their image? Well, recently that has happened with the new NIL deal (Name, Image and Likeness), but the million-dollar question is “does everyone in college sports cheat for success?”
Most fan bases say “nope not my team, we are by the book.” I know people say this because I have found myself saying this about my favorite team. the Kansas State Wildcats. But I also look into this scumbag business that is the NCAA, and I believe not everyone is as clean as they say.
A historied scandal in college sports that a lot of people know about is the infamous Reggie Busch story, where he had to give back his Heisman Trophy because it came to light that he and his family had received $300,000 during his time at Southern California, which doesn’t come as a surprise, as USC was a powerhouse in football and had celebrities at every game. But $300,000 in benefits and Heisman Trophies having to be given back doesn’t hold a feather to some of the other allegations that have come to light over the years.
When I did my research, and I saw an Alabama allegation, I had to put it on here. Albert Means was a high school phenom who was highly recruited. Bleacher Report said that he received $150,000 in Alabama’s best SMU impression. But he only ended up playing a handful of snaps before transferring to Memphis. This led to five years of probation and two-year bowl game suspension.
This one really does hurt me deep down, as I am a broke college student just like the majority of students in the world. This scandal comes from “the U” which is the University of Miami. There was an academic advisor there that helped student-athletes forge applications for pell grant money. It came out that $200,000 were wrongfully awarded to athletes over the years of this happening.
Money isn’t the only way these schools offered to players. Allegedly, the University of Colorado was in a scandal from 1997-2003 where they supposedly used drugs and alcohol as a recruiting tool, and multiple rape allegations came to light during this time, one coming from Buffaloes placekicker Katie Hnida, who said that her coach Gary Barnett said he’d back his players if charges were filed. It came out that there was evidence of drugs and alcohol for recruits, but no suggestion that the university condoned this behavior and misconduct. Barnett ended up being reinstated.
The final one I wanna touch on comes from a profound well-known school in… the American Athletic Conference? That’s right, Southern Methodist University is well known for there cheating scandals that resulted in “the death penalty” in the 1980s. SMU started getting into trouble when big-time donors would pay these players hundreds of thousands of dollars. Eric Dickerson is one of the most well-known players to take one of these payments but he came in the form of a car, a brand new gold Trans-Am. They went on to finish top-five in most of those years.
Some of the penalties that followed were the 1987 season being canceled, no home games in 1988, no bowl games until 89, probation until 1990, 55 scholarships were lost over four years, SMU had to ban some of the boosters involved from contact with the program. And no off-campus recruiting until August 1988.
Everyone, every conference, every level of college sports there are some scumbag moves to happen, whether it is the money going into the pockets of college players or recruiters not following the rules. I believe players should be able to make money and I’m glad the new NIL deal happened, but I don’t think colleges or alumni should be paying out of pocket to build their team in college. Go buy an NFL team if you want to do that.
Ben Short is an Abilene freshman studying journalism.