Drukarev: Petrino situation illustrates NCAA injustices toward players

Well, that didn’t take long: After a few months of relative calm on the college football scandal front, former Arkansas Razorback coach Bobby Petrino’s@@[email protected]@ ill-fated motorcycle ride with a young female “friend” has sparked the latest firestorm to hit college sports.

But however scandalous they may be, the details of Petrino’s “inappropriate relationship” with 25-year-old Jessica Dorrell (a recently hired Arkansas football support staffer@@add “and mistress”[email protected]@) aren’t important for the purposes of this column.@@–[email protected]@

The fallout, however, is imperative to understanding how and why the college football system is broken.@@[email protected]@ For his inappropriate relationship, cover-up and improper hiring tactics, Petrino was fired with cause by the University of Arkansas, which will decline to pay him the remaining $18 million on his contract.@@see [email protected]@

However, it’s likely that Petrino will appeal the decision and perhaps regain at least a share of the money owed to him. It’s also unlikely that he’ll be out of work for long.

By all accounts, he is a master Xs and Os coach, with an offense so innovative the Razorbacks — not exactly a recruiting power — were able to compete and thrive in the Southeastern Conference West, the nation’s best conference, despite not matching up talent-wise (at least on paper).

To be clear, while I obviously disapprove of Petrino’s dishonesty and cover-up and agree with his termination, I have no problem with him getting another job within football — in either the professional or collegiate ranks.@@this doesn’t make sense, [email protected]@ As has been well-documented, neither college nor professional football is a game played to fulfill some noble, higher purpose, and employees (players and coaches) shouldn’t be held to some unreasonably high moral standard. (Granted, it would probably be best if Petrino isn’t a college head coach any time soon. He wouldn’t exactly be a reputable face of the program.@@and the [email protected]@)

My issue is with the double standard assigned to college football players on the one hand and coaches on the other. While college football coaches are allowed to pursue other opportunities on a whim, once college football players (and all college athletes) sign their letters of intent out of high school, they’re essentially married to the school for the duration of their eligibility. If a player chooses to transfer, he must jump through a variety of hoops to play at another school — and even then often must sit out a year.

In contrast, if a coach wants to go elsewhere — whether it be for a more lucrative contact, to be closer to home or for any other reason — he or she can do so with only the possibility of a modest buyout (which is often paid by the coach’s new employer) lingering overhead.

That’s fair — coaches, just like employees in all lines of work, have the right to make choices to further their careers. I completely support that and think that the notion of loyalty in college sports among coaches and players@@why include players [email protected]@ is overblown and overrated.

I just wish that college football (and basketball) players — the only college athletes with a market value far in excess of their compensation — were given similar freedoms and options as their coaching counterparts.@@what about the above “(and all college athletes)”[email protected]@

I understand that for logistical reasons (i.e., the revenue from football programs finances entire athletic departments) and due to Title IX it would be impossible for a salary system to be put in place for athletes in revenue-producing sports.@@wouldn’t it thus be better to remove athletics from academic institutions and the [email protected]@ But that doesn’t explain the insane restrictions on player transfers, revenues from likeness/jersey sales and general lack of respect with which the NCAA treats its breadwinners.@@see note [email protected]@

If Bobby Petrino can be a highly-valued coaching commodity after lying and deceiving his superiors and having an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate@@wasn’t it mutual, hence the word ‘mistress’[email protected]@, shouldn’t star football and basketball players be allowed the opportunity to capitalize on at least a portion of their market values? It seems fair to me.@@[email protected]@

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