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College athletics needs fixing

When I first read about members of the University of Georgia football team selling their SEC Championship rings over the internet I wanted to laugh.

Since I've never been a fan of that little football factory in Athens, I was looking for humor behind the latest ordeal in the Classic City.

Then it dawned on me there is nothing remotely funny about this.

It's simply a sign of the times.

The nine members of the University of Georgia who sold their rings did so for one reason and one reason only?to make money.

It was just another thoughtless act by a group of young people who don't care that they are disrespecting their teammates, university, and fans with such an act.

The heck with the fact that it violated NCAA rules. It was just wrong. The rings were given to the players for their hard work and these young men snubbed their noses at the whole thing.

Twenty years from now, these rings should really mean something to those who were on the team.

It's just another example of how some athletes regard college athletics and the free gift of an education as an entitlement program just because they can run faster, catch the football better and tackle harder than the average member of the male species.

Of course, it's not just at Georgia where things are running out of control.

Although this might not be the most prophetic statement to ever appear in print, college athletics stopped being about the education of young people years ago.

Now it's about money. It's about millions and millions of dollars worth of money that goes into big-time college athletic coffers.

Granted, there is a bit of a "plantation-system mentality" involved with college athletics. Schools use players for their athletic prowess because the success generates dollars and keeps alumni happy.

Maybe this is why there is an argument for paying players a stipend as if a free college education isn't enough.

But let's face it, many college athletes in turn use their scholarships like a minor-league tryout. They spend their time in school showcasing their skills in the hopes that the pot of gold awaits them at the end of the rainbow.

Leaving school early for the pros is worse in basketball than in other sports.

Players jump to the pros after one or two seasons.

Granted, it's hard to blame Chis Bosh, the talented Tech freshman, for deciding to leave early, but at the same time it becomes frustrating.

At one time this year, Bosh was preaching the importance of academics, now he is ready to leave.

It hard for universities and coaches not to feel a little bit used.

Perhaps players who leave early should be required to play back the value of their education for the time they were in school.

There is no clear-cut answer, but somebody needs to take a really hard look at the state of college sports, because currently is like a ship without a rudder?it's totally out of control.

If winning at all costs is what is important so be it. Let's just throw out the academic equation and forget about graduation rates, SAT scores and everything else that goes along with getting a degree.

If we want to restore some academic integrity back in college athletics, let's get back to recruiting true student athletes who want to get a degree and then if they are talented enough go on to the pros and make the nice comfortable living.

Unfortunately, that later proposal will never work. There is too much money generated by winning, and let's face it, die-hard supporters really don't want to sacrifice winning for the sake of academics.

Doug Gorman is the editor of the Daily. E-mail at dgorman@news-daily.com