NCAA Discipline Typically Uneven

A.J. Green of the Georgia Bulldogs and Marcell Dareus of the Crimson Tide of Alabama are in similar situations. Both star athletes got illegal extra benefits from agents or agent representatives since the end of last season. Dareus got about $1,900 in travel expenses, food and beverage while Green allegedly got about $1,000 for selling his Independence Bowl game worn jersey.

Both players are ineligible and one of the terms of the reinstatement is repaying the money/value they received.

So why does Dareus get a two game suspension and Green get set down for four games? Yes, Green's act was more overt and probably planned, but Dareus benefited by twice as much financially. Shouldn't the punishments be about the same?

I've spent a lot of time in Athens, Georgia and some in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and the cities are pretty comparable. It's hard to understand why something in Athens would be four times as costly as in Tuscaloosa. Dareus is, in essence sitting out one game for each $1,000 in benefit. Green, on the other hand gets a game for each $250. Now that's voodoo economics.

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Things have sure changed in the last 14 years haven't they? Back in 1996 Gator offensive tackle Mo Collins was suspended for six games for accepting $500 from an agent's "runner" to buy a plane ticket home. That's one game for every $83.33 in benefits. If that was the exchange rate today Green would be out for the year and Dareus would not be eligible until 2012.

Collins' punishment was excessive. Dareus' is probably a bit light and Green's is way too severe. It would be nice to know how many A.J. Green No. 8 jerseys have been sold legally in the last two plus years.

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Another thing the NCAA ignores is common sense. Making these guys repay what they received is an invitation to more rule breaking. If Marcel Dareus had $1,900 to spare he likely would have paid for that trip himself. If A.J. Green didn't need the money he would not have sold the jersey. So exactly where are they coming up with the cash to repay their "debt"??

The NCAA needs a hard and fast rule regarding student-athletes accepting things from agents or agents' representatives. I would suggest something like 10 percent of the season for the incident and one additional competition for each $1,000 of value up to $5,000. Over $5,000 would be a permanent end of eligibility. That would give Dareus three games and Green two, which to me seems fairer.

Does that make sense?

The agent problem is a real one, but the enforcement of rules guiding their behavior is best done by professional leagues and their respective players' associations. A firm non-negotiable term of suspension regardless of circumstances might serve as a bit of a deterrent. A more severe fixed suspension – 30 or 40 percent of the season – would be even more of a deterrent though to me that would be excessive.

It's admirable that the NCAA would want to control this issue, but it would be more effective and believable if member institutions weren't making so much money off the players' accomplishments.


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