Why have the NCAA’s asinine rules survived decade after decade and well beyond their usefulness? Perhaps because so many people outside the blue disc’s Indianapolis headquarters and compliance offices on campuses across the country are so interested in helping them.
Exhibit A: Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal.
On Thursday, Deal signed into law a bill making the crime of enticing athletes into breaking NCAA rules in exchange for money punishable by up to a full year in the slammer. It’s known as House Bill 3, or the Todd Gurley bill.
Gurley, of course, was the fabulously talented running back who had the middle of his junior season detonated with a four-game suspension for accepting more than $3,000 for autographed memorabilia.
So, should an enterprising autograph dealer secure some signed Keith Marshall helmets next year, Marshall could be on the sidelines while Johnny Autograph sits in jail.
But wait, there’s more.
“We plugged it into a law about alumni being overzealous,” state Rep. Barry Fleming, the driving force behind the law, told the Associated Press. “Now it’s a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. It can be up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.
“On the civil side, the university can sue the person who does this for any damages sustained, like losing a TV contract, not going to bowl games.”
Who, exactly, are we protecting here?