6:30 PM EDT, August 21, 2013
If there's ever a casting call for "Dinner With Schmucks II," I'd have the NCAA on speed dial.
With all due respect to Steve Carell, the folks at the NCAA are giving us Oscar-worthy performances in the category of "Cluelessness."
Who else would try to derail the dreams of a Marine sergeant who wanted to play college football?
Who else would sign off on the possibility of adding two more bowl games to the glut that's already out there?
Who else would tell Johnny Manziel that he can't sell his autograph while pimping athletes on its web site to boost jersey sales?
Using the words "NCAA" and "clueless" and "hypocrisy" is becoming standard practice these days, as the "leaders" of college athletes prove time and time again that they could muck up the simple logistics of running a lemonade stand.
Let's review, in order:
The NCAA ruled that Middle Tennessee State walk-on football player Steven Rhodes had to take a mandatory redshirt season because he participated in a military-only recreational football league at a Marine base in 2012.
The NCAA was counting that rec league as "organized competition," meaning Rhodes would be charged a year of academic eligibility.
Never mind that Rhodes served in the military five years and was literally willing to take a bullet for this country. The story broke on Sunday. Within 24 hours, the NCAA caved (rightfully so) under intense public pressure.
The social media gods came down hard on the NCAA, including this tweet from Sen. John McCain: "NCAA should allow Steven Rhodes to play — don't penalize him for serving his country."
The thing is, it should never, ever had come down to that. But it did because those nitwits don't have a common sense filter.
"This has all been crazy, but I feel like I got a whole new life now," Rhodes told the Daily News Journal. "Thank the Lord, I'm going to play football this year."
Mediocre football teams should also feel blessed that the NCAA keeps giving out door prizes. News broke this week that Conference USA will play in new bowl games in Bahamas and Boca Raton, upping the bowl smorgasbord to at 38 in 2014.
There's already a glut of bowls, with a number of them rewarding mediocrity. Your team finished 6-5, no problem! Come on down to the Bahamas and bask in the sunshiny glory of a lame season.
The NCAA sanctions bowls with the same loosey-goosey standards as Little League coaches giving out participation certificates for the kid who batted .087.
It makes no sense: Average attendance in bowl games has declined two consecutive years. Hello? You think you may have over-saturated the market?
Let's move on to hypocrisy. Although I'll be first in line when it comes to taking bets that Mr. Manziel will self-implode within 12 months, he unwittingly became a poster boy for the NCAA double-standard with his volume of work involving a Sharpie.
Manziel sign bunches of autographs, and was reportedly paid for his services by memorabilia brokers. But the perception problem flipped back on the NCAA. The house of cards came crumbling down when ESPN's Jay Bilas went to ShopNCAASports.com, a link prominently displayed on the NCAA's official website, and punched in the names of prominent college football and basketball players in the search box. Jerseys matching the school and the player came up for sale.
One of those jerseys for sale belonged to . . . wait for it . . . Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.
The NCAA quickly removed the search engine function from its online store after yet another social media tsunami.
This is what the NCAA is all about: An archaic group of administrators trying to sell America on the fallacy of the "student-athlete," hoping no one sees the money grab involving the cash cows of prominent football and basketball programs.
Don't expect any significant fundamental changes to the business model. The NCAA remains flawed to the core.
It would be comical and clueless, if it wasn't so sad.
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