Monday, May 12, 2008

OJ Mayo got paid, grass is green, the sky is blue

So O.J. Mayo got paid. The reaction, at least from ESPN, seems to be one of surprise or shock. I have no idea why anyone would be surprised by this?

Just take a look of this article, which details how O.J. Mayo recruited USC to house his basketball game for a semester and a half.

To sum it up, some dude walked into Tim Floyd's office and told him O.J. Mayo was coming to USC and would bring a couple of recruits with him. Floyd accepted the terms and the rest is history.

That dude, by the way, is Ronald Guillory who is now known as the guy who was pimping O.J. Mayo since his days as a teen phenom in West Virginia.

I agree with Pat Forde's article saying that USC should be punished for once again turning a blind-eye to one of its student athletes being slutted out, the other recent case being the Reggie Bush ordeal.

Here's where I differ. What's the difference between O.J. Mayo being pimped by USC or Guillory? I say not much.

The reason why college athletes don't get paid is because they're supposed to be amateur student athletes. In exchange for their ability to ball, they are giving an opportunity to study at the most elite universities in the country.

Meanwhile, these universities make millions of dollars per year off the "student athletes."

But with college basketball especially, are these guys really being educated. When was the last time O.J. Mayo, who was one and done before he even came to So Cal, stepped foot in a USC classroom?

Everyone in their program knew Mayo wasn't going to be educated, but they jumped on the opportunity to milk him for everything he was worth for a year, making them no different than Guillory.

But its not just USC, its Memphis, Kansas St., Kansas, UNC and almost every other big program that takes on these types of players.

The real problem is institutional. The NCAA is content with a system that encourages the exploitation of athletes through its free market system of collegiate capitalism. They only step in when a school as been exposed and instead of changing the system, they just penalize the ones who get caught.

Either they should start paying these guys or enforce tougher academic standards. I suggest giving players the option of getting paid or going to class and regulating the system from there. This is something I'll probably go into detail later.

Wrapping this up, the NBA's age limit was a good thing for the league, giving them a chance to further scrutinize athletes and giving those kids a chance to further polish their skills instead of coming into the NBA overwhelmed and underdeveloped. It also gave the NBA a chance to avoid flops, like Derrick Character, who would've been a first-round pick without the rule and now will likely go undrafted.

However, the rule also gave colleges the chance to make as much revenue as possible off of guys who clearly have no intention of earning a college degree. While they may be media trained to say "I love it here at Such-and-Such U." and "I have to talk with my family before making a decision," the reality is the O.J. Mayo's and Greg Oden's of the world are only in college because they have to be and will be gone ASAP.

That being the case, everyone is implicit in the exploitation of these athletes. The NCAA, the Universities, the Athletic Departments and Coaches, the families and even us, the fans who watch the games and buy the clothing that creates a market for this type of situation in the first place.

The one's who aren't to blame are the kids. Don't be mad at O.J. Mayo or call him names. He has every right to try to get paid. If everyone around him can make millions off of him, he should at least have the right to have a flat-screen TV in his dorm room.

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