The NCAA has become a black market. At some point, Laremy Tunsil’s petty, common, under-the-table transactions as a college football player at Mississippi metastasized into something else, something that looks suspiciously like a smear campaign and a blackmail attempt. This is the ultimate ill of an old-world system that earns millions for everyone but the players: It left a 21-year-old vulnerable to a vengeful shyster operating in an underworld…
The worst part of this subterranean economy is the way it criminalizes the wrong people for perfectly trivial behavior…
There’s not a person in the pro or college football worlds who doesn’t have a pretty good idea of what happened: how Tunsil probably grew sick of having to grovel to the assistant, who made him feel like a thief for even asking; the growing awareness of the future awaiting him in the NFL coupled with the need-it-now frustration; the peekaboo teasers of wealth to come and overtures from the “runners” for agents trolling for clients, offering to front him what he needed in exchange for the ability to steer him come draft time; followed by the rage and the threats of exposure when the mutual use fell apart with the arrival of Sexton in Tunsil’s life.
… would it be much of a stretch for some prosecutor to go after the NCAA under Todd’s Law the next a Georgia player runs afoul of the unlawful benefits rule?
Before you laugh, let’s not forget the passionate rationale behind the bill, folks.
“That’s what really got most peoples’ dander up,” said Fleming, a rabid Bulldogs fan with undergraduate and law degrees from UGA. “I was disappointed when it happened. But I understand the young man comes from a very humble background. His mother didn’t have funds to properly repair the roof on the trailer she raised him in.”
The law has two possible penalties, one criminal, one civil, Fleming said.
“We plugged it into a law about alumni being overzealous,” he said. “Now it’s a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. It can be up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.
“On the civil side, the university can sue the person who does this for any damages sustained, like losing a TV contract, not going to bowl games.”
Or being shut out of a national playoff game because of a star player’s sudden suspension or ineligibility, maybe?
Like I said, yeah, I think I’m kidding. But I can’t quite bring myself to say it would totally surprise me, either. If enough people were pissed off… er, uh, got their dander up about that, it would be good politics, if nothing else – and it’s not like our fair state doesn’t have a track record of going after the NCAA when there’s enough money involved.
Pretty funny, hunh?