People should have property rights–like, you know, the right to buy and sell property with your own money.
Terrelle Pryor and five other Ohio State Buckeyes players were suspended for the first five games of next season for selling their own property. They were suspended for selling championship rings, jerseys, awards and autographs. (Denver Post)
Okay, so its not exactly a classy move–certainly a greedy move–for a player like Pryor, who will be a top ten draft pick in a year or two, to sell such memorabilia–including a Fiesta Bowl sportsmanship award. But what harm do these sales actually do to the competitiveness of college football, the integrity of the players and university, or anything else that hurts anyone? Its not as if Pryor’s parents were trying to get Mississippi State to pay him to play there… (Ahem, Cam Newton…)
The fact is, that memorabilia was Pryor’s own property. The exchange wasn’t for improper benefits. If he was selling a lawn mower on Craigslist, he’d still be playing. Professional players sell their own memorabilia all the time. I’m sure the exchanges could have been against the rules, but the NCAA rules are silly. Try keeping a sport “amateur” when the coaches are getting paid millions of dollars and agents are waiting for the players to get tens of millions of dollars in signing bonuses…
The one exchange in Pryor’s deals that has been labeled as an “improper benefit” was that he and the other players got free tattoos in exchange for their autograph. Again, this is simply an exchange of one valuable good for another. Autographs are worth money and so are tattoos, so the tattoo parlor’s owner could just as easily have exchanged money for the autographs instead of tattoos, or the players could have, and it would have been the same exchange.
Even getting paid for autographs is probably a violation of NCAA rules. My point is simple: What harm did Pryor and his teammates actually do? Did they take money from Ohio State or Ohio State boosters? Did they take money from an agent? No, they didn’t do anything to corrupt the game.
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