How often do we hear of college athletes being suspended and schools sanctioned for taking donations, gifts or even favors from collegiate donors? Have you really thought about what might have gone on?
Think about this. Yes, I agree that there needs to be controls over collegiate donors. We can't have even the impression of impropriety or the buying of players. Joe McKnight of USC recently got in trouble for just getting caught driving someone else's car. That someone happened to be a local businessman.
Are some schools picked on by the officials, or are there certain things that raise their ire? Should we turn a blind eye and just allow players to make their own decisions? Or, should we take another look at allowing things like this to happen?
We all know of the milions of dollars that Oil Barren T. Boone Pickens has lauded upon Oklahoma State University. But, could an argument be made that things like this is a bit overboard?
STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) -With the help of millions of dollars from booster T. Boone Pickens, Oklahoma State opened a sprawling new training facility before the season, complete with leather couches, hydrotherapy pools and flat-screen TVs.
In addition, there is also the 2nd largest donor providing funding and facilities to the athletes.
On Jan. 11, 2007, Oklahoma State University announced that alumnus Sherman Smith was donating $20 million toward Oklahoma State University’s athletic indoor practice facility.
The gift made Sherman Smith the second largest private donor in the history of OSU. “This gift is a reflection of how much Oklahoma State University means to Dad,” said Will Smith, son of Sherman Smith and family spokesman.
“This is a special gift serving Oklahoma State athletics,” said athletic director Mike Holder. “An important part of dramatically improving our athletic facilities, this gift continues the momentum that has been established at OSU.
The new facility will be strategically located across the street from Boone Pickens Stadium in the Athletic Village. Student-athletes, coaches and athletic trainers will have convenient access to Boone Pickens Stadium, Gallagher-Iba Arena, weight training facilities, sports medicine amenities, administrative offices, and future additions to the Athletic Village.
You can also see some photos of the new living training facilities that the players, like Zac Robinson, truly enjoy as a benefit to coming to OSU.
They have their own living, training, recreational, eating and as we all know, educational facilities. OSU has even been busy tearing down several square miles of city blocks of private homes, having declared them under eminent domain, to build the athletes their own campus. Those who refused to sell were taken to court with the full power of the school, the University system, and the state against them.
They call it the Athletic Village. If you look at the map at the link, all the area to the north of the staidum, used to be all private housing that was probably about 50% student rental housing.
Yes, if you stated that removal of that available rental property would have the effect of decreasing supply and thus causing rental rates to rise.... you would be right.
With the recent downturn in the economy, the actively pushed Athletic Village has been put on hold.
So, back to my original question. Does all this money from a private donor beg the question of it being a conflict, or being in appropriate support of the players? What is the difference?
You have two schools. One school, school A, has the support of huge billionaires and one that does not, school B. School A can afford to buy limos and tricked-out buses to take their players where they want to go. School B forced players to walk or ride in rented school buses. School A is able to provide the best training, recreational and living facilities to its players. School B's players have to pay a local gym for their own exercise time and have to walk across campus to the dirt track failities for room to jog. School A can afford to provide weekly outings, entertainment events, guest lectures by renowned former athletes. School B has a history class and a local movie theatre that MIGHT have student discounts.
Or, what if School A's donors buy the Athletics Department a fleet of vehicles so that each football player can "use" a vehicle during their time at school... for safety reasons of course.
Where and how does the gifting end? Is it only when the gift focuses on one or a few players? Why not on all players? Is it an illegal gift when the donor focuses only on the athletics department while ignoring the eduational portion of the university?
Can an athlete take a job? Can't an argument be made that a job is inappropriate giving? How does one determine? Can athletes not have jobs at all?
Or, am I just bitter?