The NCAA football season is well under way and at only week 3, there is already a national buzz surrounding the upcoming SEC match up between the University of Alabama Crimson Tide and the Texas A&M Aggies. Last season, the Crimson Tide won the BCS national championship and the only blemish on their otherwise perfect record was a loss to Texas A&M. The Aggies are lead by redshirt sophomore Johnny Manziel who became the first freshman to win the Heisman trophy last season.

Unfortunately, most of the NCAA articles about Johnny Manziel have been more about his off season antics rather than his football prowess. A summer of hanging out with celebrities such as Lebron James and rapper Rick Ross accompanied by rumors of under age drinking and wild partying had the young man’s name on the lips of nearly every sports anchor in the country.

These questionable antics were just the beginning of the bad reports on Mr. Manziel. In early August, a story broke that “Johnny Football” signed more than 4,400 items in 6 separate signings for 3 different brokers. Allegedly, the 20 year old quarterback was paid a 5 figure salary for all the autographs, which raises the question, so what? So what if the young man did get paid for writing his name on some stuff? It’s his name and he was the person out there, on the field, risking life and limb to build his brand as he propelled his team to victory.

This antiquated notion that anything an NCAA player does to earn a few extra dollars is a cardinal sin needs to be eliminated. By no means am I suggesting that the universities should pay the kids to perform but where does the NCAA get off trying to completely handicap these young men’s earning potential while it sells their jerseys and even their likenesses in their EA Sports video game? Why should every major news outlet in the country be able to profit off these kids, while the NCAA unjustly punishes them for trying the same thing?

This is America, a capitalist society, and it is almost communist the way the NCAA officials attempt to keep these young athletes from capitalizing on their earning potential. If a kid has a big game and a booster wants to reward him afterward, how is that the NCAA’s concern? These hypocrites earn Billions annually from their football and basketball programs but if the athletes themselves attempt to garner any money off of their own names, the NCAA hands down unfair sanctions and penalties. Too many ignorant people feel as though these kids will be able to make their money on the next level but what about guys like former Florida Quarterback Chris Leak? The man was a 4 year starter and won a national championship and was never drafted into the NFL. Why is it that his university, the NCAA, every news outlet in the country and anyone else who wanted money was allowed to get paid off the name “Chris Leak” accept for Chris Leak? Someone should write an NCAA article about that!

So, I say to Johnny Manziel, way to go young man. I know we have rules for a reason but I see no reason why an unjust rule should be respected by those it is intended to harm. It’s Johnny out there every Saturday getting hit by 300 lbs. linemen, not the coach, not the NCAA directors or the university president, so if all those guys can profit from his name, he should be able to do the same.

This article was written by Christopher Wyatte.

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