Given that this is probably the biggest story going around right now, and we know of at least one current member of the Carolina Panthers who has been mentioned as part of the probe into the University of Miami, I thought it would be prudent to have a form of town hall discussion on whether or not your opinion of any of our players changes when these kind of stories break?
If you've missed what's going on then I'll give you the extremely abridged version. Basically, Yahoo Sports finished a one year probe into the University of Miami as they focused on former booster Nevin Shapiro who claims to have given money to players over a 8 year period from 2002-2010, and we're not talking chump change here either; the Yahoo report mentions a $50,000 lump sum being given to DT Vince Wilfork, now with the New England Patriots.
Until more names are named I am extremely hesitant to list current Carolina Panthers who went to the University of Miami. We know who they are, but I don't want any mistakes to be made that I'm implicating them in this situation. I'll let time and the NCAA work all that out. What I will do, however, is give you my point of view on the issue as a whole...
After the jump
I feel there's been a 'head in the sand' mentality for far too long when it comes to college football; this bizarre belief that players getting improper benefits began and ended at SMU in the mid 1980's. The fact is, you're asking players to risk their bodies long term, forcing them to stay in school for at least three full years and in turn telling them that their scholarship should be enough. Granted, I would have loved for an institution to pay my way through school, but it wasn't in the cards.
The problem lies in the ludicrous difference between how much a program costs the school, and how much a program makes the school. This isn't 1989 anymore, now schools are making tens-of-millions of dollars off their football teams, yet players aren't seeing anything more than their previous scholarships. When you have athletes in a rarefied environment where they're already national superstars, many of whom grew up in low income households and couple that with agents and boosters offering huge sums of money, then you have a situation where doing the 'right thing' sounds good, but not when you can make sure your family is taken care of.
The NCAA rules have been ludicrous for a long time. Michael Jordan couldn't take his own sons out to dinner because they were student athletes and he owned a NBA team. There was a story of a recruit from California who couldn't be given a cross country train ticket to attend his mother's funeral because of NCAA rules. Yes, these are all in effect for a reason, but there's a time where common sense is ignored in favor of antiquated pedanticism.
I feel the same way about our players as I did a week ago. They've done nothing to bring the Carolina Panthers into disrepute, so I don't really care what happened before they arrive here. I'm asking you, the CSR community- will your opinion change at all if our players are implicated?