Photo courtesy of LSU athletics
LSU bared its teeth on Monday night as it defeated Clemson for the national championship, 42-25. In the battle of the Tigers, LSU overcame a slow start, finishing the game on a 35-8 run to cap off just the second 15-0 season in FBS history.
In the immediate aftermath of the game, cameras captured LSU alum and star NFL receiver Odell Beckham Jr. handing cash to some of the newly-crowned national champions. Though the university promptly claimed the money was not real, quarterback Joe Burrow’s statements to Barstool’s “Pardon My Take” contradicted the university’s official statement.
PAY THE MEN
I’ll be the first to say that I don’t care whether or not players are paid under the table; in fact, they should be able to make money for what they do. In nearly all regards, I do not mind the Cleveland Browns’ star paying these young players. My problem lies with the media reaction and the premise of how this situation will likely be handled.
This starts with the NCAA and its complete disregard for the times. I’ll say it again; there’s no logical reason that these student-athletes should not be able to (at the very least) make money off of their names and likeness. There should be no penalty for this in the first place.
Nonetheless, the rule is in place, so what comes next for LSU? Well, as the Heisman Trophy winner said in his interview, “I’m not a student-athlete anymore”. Since that is the case for plenty of the players that were gifted the cash by Beckham, those players are free to keep that money as they no longer have amateurism regulations to dodge anymore.
As for the younger guys not yet headed for the the NFL, there will likely be a slap on the wrist and a requirement to return the money. Nothing will likely happen to the Tigers in terms of sanctions or suspensions due to this situation.
In fact, that is the reason that this article needed to be written. It’s not because LSU and/or Beckham committed some awful act. It’s because of the lack of uniformity with which the NCAA decides to enforce the rules currently in place.
Again, the players will more than likely not see any consequences for what happened on Monday night. Unfortunately, that is not how the NCAA saw the matter just months ago when it decided to suspend Ohio State defensive end Chase Young.
Young was given a loan by a family friend to fly his girlfriend to the Rose Bowl to watch him play in the 2019 game. The loan, repaid just months later, resulted in a two-game suspension. That is the main problem with the NCAA’s oh-so-virtuous rule book. Whether it be how it decides to grant eligibility waivers or how it punishes programs for violations (monetary or behavioral), there is no consistency whatsoever.
To answer the title of this article: no, this doesn’t matter to anyone in the grand scheme of things. What it does do is justify the belief that there is no rhyme or reason to these rules being in place. Not only are the rules stupid and borderline immoral, enforcement is highly selective and causes more problems than it solves.
LSU, congratulations on the natty.
Also, congrats on the free cash; you earned it.