Stop me if you’ve heard this before: the NCAA did something today that proved its incompetency.
Well, it was more what they DIDN’T do, but you get the point.
Oklahoma quarterback and dual-sport athlete Kyler Murray was selected No. 9 overall by the Oakland Athletics in the MLB Draft on Monday night. Oklahoma baseball coach Skip Johnson said Murray has MLB All-Star potential, with skills similar to star outfielder Andrew McCutchen. ESPN college baseball analyst Kyle Peterson said Murray has the potential to eventually become “a premier defender in center field because he has the speed most people don’t have.” He’s a star.
Considered the favorite for the starting quarterback job in Oklahoma to replace No. 1 overall pick and Heisman-winner Baker Mayfield, it’s obvious Murray has a tough choice to make, right? College football or MLB?
Actually, that decision won’t be too difficult, as Murray will be allowed to do both for a full season.
According to NCAA rules, athletes are allowed to play professional baseball (and make money doing so), all while maintaining amateur status in football. All Murray will have to do is keep contracts and agent conversations baseball-specific and avoid endorsement deals, and he will be able to retain his college football eligibility. We saw Russell Wilson do something similar in the past, though he was selected in the fourth round, not the top-ten.
This afternoon, Murray agreed to a deal with the A’s that guarantees him close to $5 million as a college athlete.
Kyler Murray and the A's have a deal that guarantees him close to $5M and allows him to play football (he's a QB and could be Baker Mayfield's replacement) at Oklahoma for 1 year.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) June 6, 2018
So Murray will be able to compete for an NCAA championship as a millionaire next season. Not a bad way to live, right? Good for him.
That is until you look at all of the other ridiculous rulings and violations the NCAA has dealt over the years.
Back in 2004, the NCAA ruled against Colorado receiver Jeremy Bloom for receiving endorsements as an Olympic skier, effectively ending his college football career. He was a world champion freestyle skier and a 2002 Olympian, and accepted endorsements so he could afford to prepare for the 2006 Torino Olympics. Without the financial aid, he couldn’t afford the training necessary to compete and represent the United States in the Olympics, but the NCAA fought him for two years on it and turned down his final appeal.
In 2011, the NCAA ruled former Kentucky Wildcat Enes Kanter permanently ineligible for receiving a $33,000 salary while playing for the Turkish professional team Fenerbahçe Ülker. $20,000 of it was used for tutoring, which the NCAA said was okay, but because the remaining $13,000 was unaccounted for, the book was thrown at him. Kanter had the money sitting in a bank account and was willing to return every cent to the professional team, but the NCAA wanted no part of it. Kanter never played a minute of college basketball as a result.
And, to this day, the NCAA believes they wholeheartedly made the correct decision.
“The final decision of the reinstatement committee is completely compatible with the collegiate model of sports our members have developed, since he received a significant amount of money, above his actual expenses, from a professional team prior to coming to college,” Kevin Lennon, NCAA vice president of academic and membership affairs, told ESPN.
Back in 2013, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel was suspended for a half of a regular season game against Rice for allegedly signing autographs for money.
And it wasn’t even proven that money changed hands.
The NCAA and A&M agreed on the one-half suspension because Manziel violated NCAA bylaw 126.96.36.199, an NCAA representative confirmed. The rule says student-athletes cannot permit their names or likenesses to be used for commercial purposes, including to advertise, recommend or promote sales of commercial products, or accept payment for the use of their names or likenesses.
“NCAA rules are clear that student-athletes may not accept money for items they sign, and based on information provided by Manziel, that did not happen in this case.”
Other past violations?
In 2013, three Oklahoma student-athletes, “received food in excess of NCAA regulation at a graduation banquet. The three had graduated from the school but returned for an additional season of competition. The players were provided pasta in excess of the permissible amount allowed.”
As a result, each player was required by the NCAA to donate $3.83 (price of the pasta) each to a charity of their choice. If not, they would be not be reinstated.
South Carolina self-reported secondary violations in 2014 for decorated a cookie cake with too much icing.
The official AP report was hilarious, with the official violation being: “Impermissible iced decorations on a cookie cakes given to prospects.”
But $5 million for a baseball player? No problem at all.
Way to go, NCAA.