Uh oh! Here comes the NCAA to regulate another college football superstar. Leonard Fournette is being investigated by LSU to see if any NCAA rules were broken because of a website business started by his family back in 2014.
LSU is doing what most universities would do. They are trying to get out in front of any NCAA issues so they can minimize any punishments that would come from the school ignoring any violations.
The website was put together by Paul Price, who is Fournette’s family’s manager. That’s code for agent, allegedly. That’s cool by me, but the authorities over at the NCAA aren’t really down with that.
The website was set up to sell merchandise related to a catch phrase, ““BUGA Nation,” associated with the LSU tailback. Fournette’s mom says the site was shut down 24 hours after it was first launched at the start of the 2014 LSU football campaign.
Of course, the NCAA isn’t down with players selling anything with the player’s image or name on it. Basically, the NCAA believes they own the player and only the university, and the NCAA itself should be able to rake in the cash generated by these “student ATMs.”
We saw this last year with Georgia’s Todd Gurley getting suspended when he was paid to sign some autographs that were later sold on ebay. If a man doesn’t own his own signature then who does? Apparently UGA did, and they bowed down to the NCAA for fear of angering the football gods that make the ridiculous policies for college athletics.
It was a couple years back that Johnny Manziel was accused of making money off some autographs as well. His suspension was only a half of a game, but the theme is clear. Every single college superstar is under the microscope.
If there is money generated by a top ten player, it will be found out. And that player will be punished. It’s a disgusting reality, and now Leonard Fournette is going to be put under the hot lamps to see if his family made a few sheckles off his fame.
This trend is going to get worse. There is a TMZ type prick around every corner that is hoping get a little fame by catching a Todd Gurley, Johnny Football, or Leonard Fournette taking some cash improperly. I can even see some violent acts happening in the future because of some idiot trying to blackmail a player over improper benefits.
So what’s the answer here? All college superstars should follow the rules? Hell no! All college superstars should break the rules like this before Saturday. Make that every single player on every team.
Each player should accept a dollar bill for a signed t-shirt this weekend from fans as they enter the stadium just to show how ridiculous these NCAA rules are. Make the NCAA do something about it.
Suspend every man for a few games.
Wait that won’t work. Who’s going to suit up and perform for the millions who’re ready to watch some college football if all the players get suspended?
I’m an idealist and realize that kind of solidarity won’t happen across the nation. It could happen at LSU though. Why couldn’t every LSU player sell a piece of merchandise with his name on it to show support for Leonard Fournette? It would force the hand of the university. The school would have to stand up for players’ rights to sell their own merchandise or suspend every player they have, basically canceling the rest of the season.
I know that’s not happening either.
If I were advising Leonard Fournette though, I would simply tell him he doesn’t have to lay down to LSU or the NCAA.
I would tell him the truth. He is playing for free and is the best running back in college football.
I would tell him to simply walk away from college football if his university won’t support him against the NCAA. The NFL awaits with bags of cash, similar to the amounts that his coach Les Miles makes to eat grass and coach the team up.
Even if that means waiting until 2017 when Fournette is actually eligible for the NFL draft that’s still a better option than playing for free in a system that punishes players for basic principles of capitalism.
If Leonard Fournette ends up suspended like Gurley in 2014, he needs to extend the suspension to the rest of his college career and wait for the chance to play in the NFL. The pro league isn’t perfect by any stretch, but at least he will be able to participate in capitalism, a system that the NCAA thinks is bad for the athletes but great for everyone else involved in amateur sports.