Everybody seemed to care. Until Manziel threw for 500 yards.
With the news last week that 3 SEC schools were under investigation for potential NCAA violations, it just added to another in a long line of scandals to affect college athletics. Just in the last 2 years, we’ve had:
-Miami football multiple violations
-Penn State sex scandal
-Oklahoma State/CNNSI reports
-3 SEC schools under investigation
-Johnny Manziel and autographs
And over the last 10 years, off the top of my head, we’ve had serious problems at USC, North Carolina, and Ohio State.
But what has been interesting to me is the response of people in relation to these scandals and what should be done to try and clean up (or not) college athletics. Some believe that there is no excuse for the cheating and they find it disgraceful how many programs feel the need to cheat and cheat blatantly. While many others seem to shrug it off and attempt to argue the rules should adjust for the cheating, i.e. paying college athletes. So, I tried to pay attention to what made certain people feel 1 way and others to feel almost the opposite, and I noticed one trend.
People under 30 are more willing to accept cheating as a way of college athletics and look the other way. While those over 30, especially over 50, are the ones bemoaning all of the scandals to rock college sports in the last 25 years. I have to admit, I am 28 years old. And frankly, I don’t care one iota if Johnny Manziel took money for autographs or my team’s players are getting “special treatment” from tutors. Hell, I made a post several weeks ago where I said I don’t care if my players smoke weed. It’s college. Get over it.
But when it comes actual program-wide cheating, I take an approach that I think many believe it, but might not be willing to admit. And it’s fairly simple. I DON’T CARE IF MY PROGRAM CHEATS. I CARE IF THEY GET CAUGHT. When it boils down to me as a fan, I want to win. I like my team to win and win big. And frankly, it would be naive for me to believe that my program is the one that “does it the right way”. Please! It ain’t happening. Some programs cheat at different levels. But I think if CNNSI investigated any of the 120 Division 1-A football programs, they would find similar allegations at each and every one of them. Don’t be dumb.
But back to the age gap for a second. The reason that people like me under 30 are not as passionately opposed to the nastiness in college athletics is because we grew up with it. It’s frankly all we know. All we know is about Miami football of the 1980’s and football scandals at nearly all the top programs. All we know is that to win big in big-time college athletics, you have to skirt the rules. But for people over 50, they still believe that college sports can be like it was in the 1960’s. A Pleasantville-like era of college athletics where everybody played for the love of the game, and players loved their school above all else. Everybody was virtuous. And if you weren’t, then you were the outcast of the college world. But frankly, that time doesn’t exist anymore. And we are at a point of no return.
Penn State still draws 100,000 to every game. Texas A&M fans are still buying Manziel jerseys and nearly everybody watching football Saturday tuned in to watch Johnny Football throw all over Alabama. And we were all entertained. Manziel is a complete prick. There is no doubt. And if you have an IQ over 35, you know he took something. But guess what? I couldn’t care less and I would want him as my QB all day, every day. People over 50 seem to disagree.
So, where do you stand? Is age the thing that separates us when it comes to cheating in college athletics? Or are you a young person who can not stand the cheating, or an older person who accepts it as a way of life?