Why the Buckeyes Should Boycott the 2011 Allstate Sugar Bowl

Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor and four teammates have been suspended by the NCAA for the first five games of next season for selling items that belonged to them.

Pryor and his four teammates admitted to selling their Big Ten Championship rings, trophies and other items for cash to help their families.

You and I can take our personal items and list them on eBay or Craigslist. If someone pays the price, the transaction is orchestrated and it's a done deal.

When did selling your own personal items become against the law?

What should be against the law is how the NCAA treats the athletes. It is very interesting why the crooks at the NCAA didn't suspend the Ohio State players from the Sugar Bowl. I guess they have to make sure sponsors get what they paid for and the fans see a good game.

The NCAA can exercise their power indiscriminately to make whatever decisions they want.

Isn't that priceless?

Collegiate athletes lay it on the line for the name on the front of the jersey rather than the one on the back. Perhaps the time has come for the athletes to worry more about themselves.

Pryor and his teammates sold items they owned, yet the big, bad NCAA made a legal activity in society illegal under their regime.

ESPN analyst and former Ohio State quarterback Kirk Herbstreit stated the following, "This is a selfish act by Pryor and the other players."

That is utter garbage.

I have long been an advocate of paying collegiate athletes. In my opinion, there is no logical reason why the most important part of the athletic experience cannot enjoy some of the fruits of their labor.

The coaches invade the homes of prospective athletes to replace those who are departing. The technical term for this is recruiting, but to me it is a high-tech form of bondage.

What the athletes receive in scholarship money does not equate to what they earn the university and other entities. I am not suggesting athletes should be paid tons of money like professional athletes; I am suggesting athletes should receive a portion of what they create.

Many college coaches sell the dream of athletics, but they fail to mention the amount of money their talents will earn the university. The coaches fail to mention how much money they'll earn from coaching, endorsements and their radio shows.

Sounds like the athletes are being duped.

Has the time come for collegiate athletes to band together to get some of what they rightfully deserve?

Does a collegiate athlete have to pull a Curt Flood and file a claim against an unjust NCAA?

After the 1969 Major League Baseball season, Flood was traded from the St. Louis Cardinals to the Philadelphia Phillies. The infamous reserve clause prohibited players from seeking employment from the organization of their choice. In essence, the reserve clause equated to a sophisticated form of bondage, which jammed players' rights.

In short, the system was unjust and needed to be changed.

Flood filed a $1 million claim against Major League Baseball in 1970. Flood's case made it to the Supreme Court. Even though he lost, it opened the door for what we commonly refer to today as free agency.

Flood stood up in the name of justice. Will a collegiate athlete have the guts to do the same?

The NCAA severely punishes athletes on scholarship, yet they take it easy on those in authoritative positions. How can Bruce Pearl -- the head basketball coach at Tennessee -- lie to the NCAA and his employer, yet be allowed to keep his job and earn millions?

How can the NCAA justify suspending wide receiver A.J. Green from the University of Georgia four games for selling a jersey he legally owned?

How can the NCAA allow universities to pay coaches like the Texas Longhorns' Mack Brown $5 million per season, yet suspend former Oklahoma State wide receiver -- and current Dallas Cowboy -- Dez Bryant last season for lying about having a meal with Deion Sanders?

When the Reggie Bush fiasco broke out months ago, the media had a field day. Personally, I had no problem with Bush being on the take at USC. I don't blame him for trying to get every penny he could. Everyone around Bush was making money off of his talents.

Why shouldn't he?

If collegiate athletes were shown some level of respect by receiving a reasonable stipend over the table, it would eliminate some of the need for athletes to take money under the table.

As history shows, Bush was being bashed for being on the take and told to stay away from USC, yet the media gave Pete Carroll a pass for slithering his way to the NFL out of harm's way.

Should the media drop the hammer on the big, bad NCAA as it does the athletes?

Should the media force collegiate sports to seriously consider the notion of paying athletes?

To suggest there isn't enough money to pay the athletes is totally ignorant. I am sick of the notion that athletes get a free education and that is enough.

Let's be real. After the cheering stops, many of the athletes leave campus without a degree or a bright future. Far fewer ever sign a contract to play sports professionally. But everyone has gotten paid over the course of four years except the most important part of the equation -- the athlete.

The university, networks, the NCAA and coaches are guaranteed money, yet the athletes don't have guarantees -- they just have access to an education.

The networks, the university presidents and the coaches are not on the field taking hits. Fans don't attend games to watch coaches roam the sidelines. The athletes put butts in the seats.

How do you pay collegiate athletes?

First, the NCAA needs to willingly change their legislation or be forced to do so by a governing body. As it stands, the NCAA has too much indiscriminate power.

Furthermore, they should allocate money in the form of a monthly stipend over and above student-athletes' scholarships.

Secondly, networks should allocate 20 percent annually on the deals they make to televise collegiate sports to the athletes. That means the 14-year, $10.8 billion TV deal the NCAA recently inked with CBS and TNT for March Madness means $2 billion for the pay-for-play fund.

Sean McManus is the president of CBS News and Sports. McManus suggested the deal "has the result in more eyeballs, more gross rating points and more ratings points and more coverage of the tournament, thereby, I would say, creating more value."

Some of that "value" McManus refers to needs to go the athletes.

Also, many who are against the notion of paying athletes suggest they are amateurs. They say if athletes want to get paid simply turn pro.

Fine, if collegiate athletes are amateurs, then head coaches should earn a salary that better reflects the athletes' status.

According to Bob LaMonte, founder of Professional Sports Representation, the average salary of an NFL coach is $3.25 annually. New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick earns the most at $7.5 million per season.

At the collegiate level, athletes are not paid, yet some coaches ink deals that are sometimes larger than what NFL coaches make.

I say place a salary cap on collegiate coaches.

Let's take Mack Brown's $5 million contract and Alabama head coach Nick Saban's $4 million per season deal -- they make more than the average annual salary for NFL coaches. Saban and Brown earn a combined $9 million annually for coaching amateurs. Cap both coaches at a maximum $2 million per season and the excess ($5 million) goes to the athletes' pay-for-play fund.

Between the network contributions, capping the coaches' salaries and adding a mandatory stipend to athletes' scholarships, there will be more than enough to get the ball rolling.

There will be enough money to pay male and female scholarship athletes something.

Also, a governing body needs to be instituted to regulate the NCAA. They have too much power to indiscriminately render decisions without oversight.

Can anyone say, "Congressional hearing?"

If wealthy baseball players can go before Congress to see if they took steroids, they can listen to a viable case of whether collegiate athletes should be paid and whether the NCAA should be monitored.

If Congress does not want to listen, perhaps the Supreme Court might. A group should be formed comprised of current and former collegiate athletes, along with social activists, to create an atmosphere where they can be heard in the media.

The key will be the athletes. They can draw the most attention because they have the ear of the media.

What if the entire Ohio State football team decided not to play in the Sugar Bowl in protest of the recent suspension of Pryor and his teammates?

You think that would get the attention of the media, fans, networks and the NCAA?

Athletes must be willing to take a stand against something that is inherently wrong. Many of these college athletes lay it on the line for their institution, yet in many instances they are being taken advantage of.

Has the time come for collegiate athletes to step up for their own self-interest and claim some of what is rightfully theirs?

I say yes.

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