Let me see if I have all of this right. Cam Newton of Auburn has a father who, by all accounts, shopped his son around for the reported sum of $150,000 before Newton ended up at Auburn after playing at Blinn Junior College in Texas. In Baltimore, a high schooler named Josh Selby sought out guidance from a guy named Charles "Bay" Frazier as Selby was being recruited by numerous schools before settling at Kansas. Over in Manhattan, Kansas State stars Jacob Pullen and Curtis Kelly shopped at a local department store and ended up with more in their shopping bags than what was paid by each of the players. And, at Ohio State, star quarterback Terrelle Pryor and other players went to the tattoo parlor, exchanged autographs in lieu of payment for their body art, and also sold off their own property, albeit items associated with their Ohio State careers.
What's happened with all of these "student athletes?"
- Newton is playing in the national championship game against Oregon after being cleared by the NCAA to participate.
- Selby waited and waited for an NCAA ruling before finally learning that he'd have to sit out nine games for receiving travel and other benefits (i.e., "impermissible benefits"), totaling about $4,000, from Frazier, the business manager for NBA star Carmelo Anthony. Selby also has to repay the amount.
- Pullen was suspended for three games and Kelly is still awaiting his fate, both also for the crime of "impermissible benefits." (Uh, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't having more in your shopping bag than what you paid for called "shoplifting?")
- Pryor and others involved are allowed to play in the upcoming Sugar Bowl but he and four teammates will have to sit out the first five games of the 2011 season.
Each of these players, at some point, did something wrong or were associated with someone who broke a rule or committed a crime. Yet, the punishment for each varies widely. And, the speed in which the NCAA has operated has varied widely as well--Newton's case seemed to require a ruling on a week-to-week basis while Selby, Enes Kanter at Kentucky, Tony Mitchell at Missouri, and others have waited, or are still waiting, on their eligibility outcomes.
It's just another of those things that make you go "hmm..."