Terrelle Pryor’s NFL Suspension is a Window to NCAA Justice


Raise your hand if you’ve read an article about the University of Miami and Nevin Shapiro in the past few days. Raise your hand if you’ve read a few about Ohio State, and the state of the NCAA overall.

There’s tons of them out there. Just today you could have enjoyed:

The schools and the players change, but the articles and their themes remain the same: The NCAA is broken.

It holds to an outdated system that breeds a hypocritical, rule breaking environment. The college programs falling all over the country are side-effects, and more programs will fall, you can be certain of that.

Everyone is crying out loud:

We need to stop pretending college players are amateurs.
We need to stop pretending we wouldn’t take the extra cash, drinks, girls, and fun if we were in their shoes.

We’re all tired of it, but who out there is offering solutions?

Now raise your hand if you were horrified to hear that the NFL suspended Terrelle Pryor for five games as a result of his conduct at Ohio State.

I was, but only at first.

The NFL and Roger Goodell have set a daring and harsh precedent here––suspending a player who isn’t even part of their league yet for crimes committed while in college. Funnier still, Pryor really hasn’t been convicted of any real crimes, he just got some cheap tattoos and ran a legend out of Columbus.

Now we’re crying: Since when did the NFL get a say in what’s right and wrong?

And in this, while everyone is so frustrated with the NCAA system we feel is so flawed, do we finally see someone actually trying to do something besides complain.

The NFL is admitting that they are part of this system. You play college football because the NFL says you have to. You can’t declare for the draft until you’re three years removed from high school. It’s obvious college football is the minor leagues of the NFL, so let’s not pretend anymore. College football and the NFL are linked.

Who cares if the NCAA can’t enforce its own rules? I’d even go as far to say that it’s responsible of the NFL to help them enforce those rules, seeing as how they force young men to pass through the NCAA in the first place.

Instead of chastising Roger Goodell and the NFL like we do the NCAA for over-exerting their power, we should applaud them for admitting they are part of the American Football Machine. Is this solution perfect? No, but at least they’re trying.

The NFL is the end game, it’s where the real money comes from and it’s what the players really care about. So logically, wouldn’t the best deterrents to the NCAA’s problems come from there as well?

Hit ‘em where it hurts, it’s the best way to get your point across.

Now everyone has a case example of how breaking NCAA rules can derail that life-changing NFL payday: Terrelle Pryor, August, 2011.

If you want to see the college game get cleaned up, if you hated seeing the Ohio State football program get torn to shreds, then this ruling is for you.

Funny how it took two OSU outcasts for them to come full circle on this. First it was Maurice Clarett, and now Pryor.

This year, Reggie Bush was forced to relinquish the Heisman Trophy he won five years earlier for accepting benefits at USC, yet that equated to a slap on the wrist in the greater context of life.

He still got drafted in the first round, he still got his signing bonus, he still got to date Kim Kardashian. The pundits still point an angry finger at the NCAA and give Reggie his due––USC still won those games, Reggie was still the best player on the field, etc.

And all the players from the University of Miami named in the damning Yahoo! Sports probe aren’t going to get in trouble either. They broke all the rules, even committed real crimes, but as soon as they got drafted they were set for life, in the clear.

When asked if they partied with evil booster Nevin Shapiro, Jonathan Vilma and Andre Johnson can take a vow of silence, shrouded in the protection of their NFL money, and their NFL training camp facility. Shapiro, on the other hand, is in jail.

Its like once you’re in the NFL, you’re safe. They can take down your college records, they can forfeit your team’s wins, they can ruin the program for incoming freshman, but they can’t really get to your millions.

Well, now that’s the way it used to be.

Maybe now future college players at North Carolina, Michigan, Ohio State, Miami, Auburn, and Oregon will think twice before taking those car keys, for they have been warned…

You can now serve NFL suspensions for violating NCAA rules. This can cost you development time at the NFL level, it can cost your team in a playoff race, and most importantly, it can cost you actual money.

Bravo Mr. Goodell, it’s about time.