I saw this briefly before heading out today and decided to wait on it a bit. Obviously too long =)
Supposedly a trainer shopped Peterson a la Cam Newton for $80,000. The trainer, Willie Lyles, is under some intense scrutiny by the NCAA as John Taylor points out by simply doing a search for the name Lyles on CFT (yes we’re linking links and searches).
This most recent report surfaced on ESPN.com. Peterson’s response was quick – denying any relationship with Willie Lyles or receiving any money to sign with LSU (there have not been any allegations that he has thus far). John Taylor is on top of it however and I suggest you peruse his article which points to some very damning blunders by Peterson.
My take, well, at this point I’m not particularly surprised by anyone receiving money to play football or basketball, or any other collegiate sport. These schools aren’t stupid. They know that these industries are cash cows for the school, and the best way to ensure that you’re program is the biggest cow is by getting the best players to come to your school. The best way to do this? A nice hand out. Sure its illegal, but I’m willing to wager that not even 5% of the cases are caught in the NCAA. I’ve no evidence of this other than the rampant violations that come out several years after a school does something great, and the numerous players which come forth years later to do a tell the truth deal for a local media or national media outlet. The NCAA is out of its league trying to enforce these rules, with boosters and such running around and there really isn’t a way for them to stop it. Even banning boosters wouldn’t help, and probably would destroy a lot of excellent college institutions around the country that rely on booster money. The only solution here is to include salaries in the scholarships offered. Set a maximum on it but make it a significant chunk of change. And follow that up with very very very harsh penalties for any school, player, coach found guilt of breaking the rules by extending that salary. I’m talking suspensions in the year amounts for all three, first offenses. I would also take the time to set up something akin to a rookie introduction for all incoming freshmen to explain in great detail the consequences for breaking the rules so that there can be no ignorance of the rules claim. There’s simply no other way to stop the practice of pay for play, and even then I doubt it will truly be eradicated from the college athletic scene. Until they do something to deter these schools and players, we’re going to keep getting stories like this until we’re like steroids for baseball and don’t care.