College Athletes making money off of their likeness has not sit well with the NCAA for many years, and that ideology is still running strong today. There have been a wide range of players caught doing this over the years; anywhere from the good players all the way up to the Heisman hopefuls. But, according to the NCAA rules and bylaws, this is illegal because they believe no student athlete should be allowed to sell their own likeness to raise money for themselves. This rule by the NCAA is in demonstration through the recent allegations toward junior running back Todd Gurley.
Todd Gurley, a junior running back from the University of Georgia, has recently been suspended indefinitely while the NCAA conducts an investigation into his acceptance of payments. Now, I do not believe that student athletes should receive monetary gifts in exchange for their signature, but I do believe that this punishment does not fit the crime in this circumstance. Now, if Gurley were to have committed some kind of fraud/felony with this said money, then this punishment would make sense. But being suspended “indefinitely” for putting your name on a piece of paper is very far fetched, especially because this matter always turns into a “he said, she said” kind of scenario. Unless the NCAA has physical proof that they can touch/hold that is authentic and reliable, then they have no case against Gurley and this suspension is all for nothing. To add to that, not only did they suspend a front-runner for the Heisman, they also suspended a major part of their weekly ratings.
Now, for people that really love their money; (such as the NCAA); it is a tough decision to make when trying to decide whether to suspend one of the best and most popular athletes in your biggest sport. Here you have a potential/leading Heisman candidate on a high ranked college football team that you are deciding to remove from play for a substantial amount of time over signing a few autographs. That would be compared to me owning a gardening business, and I suspend my best lawn mower for mowing his aunt’s yard to help her out; completely non-related to my business, but it is still done because I am not receiving the payments that his aunt gave him. Now some people may be saying; “The NCAA is a billion dollar organization, the amount of money/ratings they will lose is miniscule.” I understand that, but I also know that the NCAA loves their money, and more money will always trump less money, right? If the NCAA was really smart, they would suspend Gurley for a small amount of games, and take care of the other individuals that may/may not be committing much harsher crimes.
Now, I would like to reiterate my point from before where I said that I do not believe that college athletes should receive monetary benefits for their autographs; BUT I do believe that their punishments should not be as severe as the one that Gurley was handed down. In my personal opinion, I believe that the only reason that this rule is even in affect is because it is taking business away from the NCAA, and they do not like that. Thus, they hand down this particular ruling to the individuals who are caught violating this rule in the hopes to send a message to others that may be doing the same thing. Since the NCAA rarely has enough information to prove that a player violated this rule, then the player(s) in question should only receive a max of 2-4 games in suspensions. Any more than 4 games is just unnecessary. Overall, the NCAA made a huge mistake handing Gurley a large suspension, and they need to correct this problem soon with how they will handle this situation in the future.