Lewis Grizzard Wednesday: Lewis On The NCAA

Lewis was ahead of this time when it came to his hatred of the NCAA…

Georgia On Probation 

My alma mater, the University of Georgia, has been placed on probation by the National Collegiate Athletic Association for recruiting violations within its basketball program.

Georgia gave a prospect a T-shirt. It is against the NCAA rules to give a prospect anything, even a T-shirt.

Georgia gave a friend of another prospect a ride to a restaurant and then to his hotel.

It is also against NCAA rules to give a friend of a prospect anything, even a four-mile ride.

A T-shirt here, a pair of shoes there, a ride for a prospect’s friend and Georgia’s Athletic Department and the enitre school suffers the embarrassment of probation.

“I know the charges were minor,” a member of the Athletic Department told me. “But nobody outside the inner circle really pays attention to the details and so people think we are buying and selling kids like we were slave holders.”

What was the Georgia coach supposed to do when the prospect’s friend asked for a ride? Tell him to walk and probably lose the prospect because he turned his friend out on the street?

We’re talking big-time college basketball here, where millions of dollars and extended contracts are on the line. If a tall kid who can dunk with both hands asks for a T-shirt, you give him a T-shirt.

I’m not defending my school, here. Georgia knows the rules, yet Georgia broke the rules, as silly as they might be, and they got caught and they got punished and that’s the name of that tune.

But the NCAA is like the IRS. They go after you, they get you, with even some help from college coaches who turn each other in, some standing on their pedestals claiming piously “We will bring these cheaters to their knees.”

Horse dung. They turn each other in for strictly selfish reasons. You get you r rival in trouble with the NCAA and the NCAA takes away a few of its scholarships, and all of a sudden you’re beating his brains out and you become a genius with a fat raise.

College basketball players are shaving points for gamblers and are going to jail for it. Millions are being handed out for television contracts, big-time coaches are getting rich and the NCAA is worrying about a high school kid getting a free T-shirt?

I don’t have a solution for all this idiocy, but I know how I wish college basketball and footall worked.

Whack Hyder, who coached basketball at Georgia Tech before he got sick of recruiting and quit, had the idea years ago.

“What I would like to be able to do,” said Whack, “is to put a sign on the bulletin board in the PE department that said, `Any student desiring to try out for the men’s basketball team, report to the gym at 4 o’clock.’

“I play with the kids who happen to come to my school. You play with the kids who happen to come to yours.”

Thus, recruiting becomes a thing of the past. The sport purifies itself and all the athletes get are a pair of shoes, socks, a jock, and an opportunity to have a little good clean fun.

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