The NCAA's season of giving
It can certainly be argued that there are too many bowl games. This year, that number topped out at 41, meaning 82 of 128 Football Bowl Subdivision teams get to go to a bowl. I am personally all for that. It gives the teams an extra month's worth of practice and it gives the players a trip they won't soon forget. But, is the NCAA not setting a double-standard when sending these college athletes to these various bowl games?
The NCAA is always suspending players and programs for taking a little bit of money or receiving a free stipend somewhere, but when a team goes bowling, players get all kinds of "stipends."
At the Liberty Bowl, Arkansas players will receive a Bass Pro Shops gift card, with a shopping spree, custom-made Oculus Pro Team HD Binoculars, a Bulova watch, a pair of Nikes, some sandals, sunglasses and a backpack.
Those gifts sound like plenty of stipends to me, but all gifts given out at bowl games are within NCAA rules, which is confusing, but I am OK with it. Student-athletes deserve some sort of reward for all of their hard work throughout the season, and what better way to do it than give them a gift card to Outback Steakhouse. Here is my only thought: Why is it OK to turn a blind eye to student-athletes getting gifts during bowl season? What about the other 46 teams who didn't go to a bowl? Where is their EA Sports video game?
What about other sports? Basketball players get a little something for making the NCAA tournament, but what about baseball players, soccer players and golfers? The system is broken. I'm not saying I know how to fix it. I'm glad these athletes get recognized for their hard work throughout the year, but it disappoints me that so many people get left out and someone needs to look into this.