Reggie Bush being forced to return
his Heisman Trophy, won in 2005, because he received hundreds of thousands of
dollars in improper payments and incentives is nonsense. It may be the first
time in the 75-year history of the Heisman Trophy but this sets a dangerous
precedence. The rules are that college players mustn’t receive cash or
incentive rewards but that’s unrealistic. College football is big business and
certainly amateur in name only. At that level there is no such thing as
‘amateur sport’. I’ve attended a Notre Dame game in Indiana where 60,000 people
packed the arena.
The team has its own TV station,
advertising hoardings and commercial arm like any professional club. It is a
huge money spinner. Anyone who thinks the players don’t get paid in kind has to
be totally naive.
Such are the standards, college
players have to have a professional attitude to training, nutrition, rest and
tactical awareness almost as much as their NFL counterparts. The coaches and
back up staff earn mini-fortunes. Players are being groomed for the pros
anyway. The Jerry Maguire movie confirms that. Bush has been singled out for
some peculiar reason.
The celebrated American sports
writer Paul Gallico surprisingly gave up his newspaper writing career at the
height of his fame to become a recreational writer.
His first book was Farewell to
Sport, an ironic look at the sham of amateur sport and the fact that there is
no such thing as the Corinthian spirit anymore. He hit the nail right on the
head which is why it is still a bestseller. It was published in 1937!