Wednesday, July 25, 2012


The NCAA was hoping to send a message to every college football program in
the country with its "unprecedented" sanctions against Penn State. The governing
body of college athletics admitted as much and warned against schools thinking
they were too big to fail and creating a culture that placed winning above all else.

Yeah, that message really got delivered. The LSU Tigers offered Dylan Jones a
scholarship after watching him run a 4.6 in the 40-yard dash at their summer camp.
Jones is about to enter the eighth grade! On Wednesday, Tate Martell committed to play
quarterback for the University of Washington. Martell is only 14-years old! What the
heck is going on here?! If the NCAA is really serious about cleaning up the craziness
and the culture of college football, they have to make this stop.

This is absurd. The NCAA talks about institutions "protecting our children" and then
lets this kind of nonsense go on? What's next? Nick Saban and Alabama offering a
scholarship to Julio Jones' son, who is not even born yet? It used to be that if a high school
junior got offered a scholarship by a school it was a huge deal, but now we're talking
eighth graders. Hello? McFly? Is anyone home at the NCAA? Colleges and universities
shouldn't be anywhere near a kid who is in the eighth grade. It's a total mockery. These
kids haven't taken an SAT, ACT, or even reached puberty for that matter, and coaches are
offering them a scholarship to play big-time college football? Ludicrous.

Martell, who is being home schooled, said it's a dream come true to play for UW. A dream
come true? Kid, you are only 14-years old, you can't possibly have everything figured out
yet.  Dylan Jones said he dreamed of playing for LSU, "since he was a kid." Um,
Dylan, you are still in MIDDLE SCHOOL! 

But don't blame Martell, Jones, or any other young kid who can run like the wind and
bench press 300 pounds, for this insanity. Blame the NCAA and blame these win-at-all
cost coaches who are chasing eighth graders. Pretty soon Les Miles will be showing up
at recess of some elementary school down on the Bayou, looking for prodigies who
can be shutdown corners on defense or strip the ball away like that "Honey Badger" guy
with the funny hair.

Cecil Newton's was pimping his kid to the highest bidder when Cam was a stud
quarterback in junior college. Who is to say that some overzealous stage father won't be
trying to sell off his kid who is just entering the fifth grade? Don't laugh. Every parent
who has just read on that LSU and UW have offered scholarships to kids who
aren't even in high school, have the wheels in motion. Private coaching, nutritionists,
two-a-day workout, travel teams, etc, etc, etc. It happens everywhere and parents want to
get their kids noticed-- and a scholarship. A college scholarship has become the holy grail
to parents, hasn't it?

This is almost laughable. Who is to say that Martell and Jones won't get burned out,
injured, or suffer a bad case of puppy love? Heck, even the best high school senior athletes
in the country flame out once they get to college. Now, we're talking about athletes who
haven't even reached high school yet! These kids can't even sign a letter-of-intent until
their senior year. What's the rush?

What intelligent, rational, and level-headed college administrator would allow this stuff
to go on? What college head coach would approve of offering a scholarship to a kid in the
eighth grade? The NCAA did what pretty much everybody thought it should do to Penn
State, but its time they stopped the madness of offering scholarships to kids in the eighth
grade. Pandora's box has been opened, and as we've seen, it can get pretty ugly. The NCAA
needs to nail it shut, and do it now.

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