O.J. Mayo Mess Proves NCAA Needs To Toughen Up

Cecile NguyenCorrespondent IMay 15, 2008

With the recent of former Trojan O.J. Mayo allegations the incident does brings back an interesting debate of whether college athletes should get paid to play or not.

The answer is no.

College players should not be able to accept sponsorship deals, money from agents, appearances fees, or anything else outside of a school scholarship.

Mayo accepted a reported $200,000 and other luxuries from Rodney Guillory, who was acting on behalf of a big-time sports agency, before ever stepping foot onto USC.

In return, Mayo gave a verbal agreement to allow that agency to represent him when he eventually turns pro.

Because being paid to play at a collegiate level only damaging to the game and the players themselves.

By allowing student-athletes to earn money from playing you are basically inviting corruption into the college game.

Sports agents will loiter around college campuses looking to sign the next All-American.

Mike DeCourcy of Sporting News said it best if agents roam college campuses: “people who cozy up to them (players) pretending to offer friendship or fatherly advice only so that they may one day deliver those players to agents.”

There will be more riding on these college games and thus more pressure will be placed on players to produce.

College is a time of self-discovery, where you find out who you truly are and what you really want out of life.

If athletes are being bogged down by contracts, deals and money and sports agents are basically making life-alternating decisions, where is there room for the players to mature and grow into responsible adults?

There’s a certain sense of purity about the college game that can’t be found at the pro level. With their amateurism status, there’s also certain level of innocence, if you will, about the college athletes who not yet tainted by greed with million dollar contracts and who unaccustomed to the fast paced lifestyle of a pro athlete.

Allowing college athletes to get paid to play at a college level only takes that purity away. College sports will no longer be the same, but instead be more of a second-tier or development place for the pro leagues.

Think of the 1980 Winter Olympics U.S. men’s hockey team. It just wouldn’t be the same if those same wholesome college kids on the U.S. team were replaced instead with pros.

The underdog theme wouldn’t truly fit; the “miracle” just wouldn’t exist.

I say, the NCAA has it right to not allow college athletes to be paid to play their sport; by doing this it keeps the game pure.