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NCAA selling Reggie Bush autographed photo from vacated game

Reggie Bush NCAA shop autograph

The NCAA found enough wrongdoing with Reggie Bush to essentially strip the former USC star running back of his Heisman Trophy, force the school to vacate wins, and put the program on probation, but they have no problem selling autographed merchandise from the disgraced player.

We included this item in Tuesday’s post on Jay Bilas’ amazing takedown of the NCAA, but we figured it deserved its own post so nobody missed this hypocritical act.

As LBS tipster Joel shared with us, the NCAA official store is selling a Reggie Bush autographed 8×10 photo of the former Trojans star running away from the Oklahoma Sooners during USC’s 55-19 win at the 2005 Orange Bowl. They’re charging nearly $180 for it.

After the NCAA concluded that Bush violated rules by accepting gifts from at least Dec. 2004 onward, they forced USC to vacate their last two wins in the 2004 season. Those two games were a Dec. 4 win over UCLA, and the shellacking of Oklahoma to punctuate an unbeaten season. The Trojans also vacated all their wins in a 12-1 season the next year. They were placed on probation for four years, received a two-year bowl ban, and lost 30 scholarships over three years because of Bush’s violations. Oh, and as a bonus, the NCAA told USC to disassociate itself with Bush.

So the NCAA will penalize a school and individual for violating rules and tell the university not to associate with the individual, but they have no problem profiting off that same player’s name, image, and autograph. That’s really sound logic, right there.

Jay Bilas on Twitter exposes NCAA for profiting off athletes’ names

Jay Bilas, a former four-year starter at Duke and current college basketball analyst for ESPN, absolutely crushed the NCAA for its hypocritical practices. Bilas is a staunch advocate for collegiate athlete rights and frequently points out the NCAA’s flaws. On Tuesday, Bilas took it to a new level via his Twitter account.

Bilas exposed the NCAA for profiting off the names of its star athletes while punishing the athletes for doing the same. His takedown of the NCAA came in the context of the organization investigating Johnny Manziel for allegedly getting paid to sign autographs. Bilas pointed out that the NCAA’s official store leads you to specific player pages if you search for some star athletes. For instance, take a look at what happens when you seach “manziel” on the NCAA’s shop:

Bilas left this one out, but there is a Texas A&M Heisman shirt being sold at the NCAA’s official shop that mentions Manziel by name in the item’s description:

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The Truth About the NCAA and College Sports: It Is All One Big Lie

It used to be that visionaries like Joe Isuzu and Cal Worthington were just cornball pitchmen whose sole purpose was to hawk underpowered automobiles to the unwitting American public. Who knew there would be a day when they would be bankrolling the top college programs in the nation, helping to secure the latest star quarterback?

If there were a meter for the level of impropriety in college sports these days, the NCAA would need to consult Nigel Tufnel, because it would go to 11. Ever since SMU started the Cash for Clunkers program back in the 1980s, the arena of amateur athletics has been on some sort of glorified barter system: rush for 1500 yards, and well give you the finest American cars Japan has to offer. Do 2 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms sound fair for a national title?

The latest SWAG to raise a red flag concerns Ohio State. Back in December, an investigation into a disreputable owner of a tattoo parlor — what, were you expecting the guy owning a business like that to wear a top hat and monocle? — revealed that star quarterback Terrelle Pryor and several other players on the Buckeye football team had been receiving improper benefits from said business. (It’s a good thing that Andrei Kirilenko didn’t attend college in the United States.) The NCAA was so horrified by the amount of cash and discounted tattoos that it allowed the guilty players to indulge their sweet tooth by participating in the Sugar Bowl. The investigation did not mention how much the tattoos were marked down or what they were of — how much can an image of George Plimpton on one’s buttock actually cost? — but college’s governing body came down on these purveyors of body art, doling out suspensions, beginning with the start of the 2011 season.

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Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State Players Not Suspended for Sugar Bowl?

The hypocrisy of the NCAA is at it again. Not much longer after they inexplicably allowed Cam Newton to remain eligible at Auburn though his father shopped him to at least one school, the NCAA suspended five Ohio State players for the first five games of the 2011 season.

The players were suspended for receiving some benefits ordinary people wouldn’t have (free tattoos!), and for selling some of their swag — game jerseys and the 2008 Big Ten championship ring. That makes complete sense given the NCAA’s stance on preserving amateurism and preventing players from using their status to gain monetary advantages. But what doesn’t make sense is the punishment.

The NCAA deemed the actions of Terrelle Pryor, Boom Herron, DeVier Posey, Mike Adams, and Solomon Thomas bad enough to suspend them the first five games of next season (standard suspension is four, but they got an additional game for not immediately revealing their violations). If their actions were bad enough to result in a five-game suspension, then how can the NCAA justify allowing the players to be active for the Sugar Bowl? There is no answer.

The NCAA says the players were not suspended for the bowl game because they believe the players were not properly educated about violations prior to committing their actions. Who actually buys that defense? Oh I’m sorry officer, I didn’t know the speed limit in the neighborhood was only 25mph, not 60. Like players don’t know it’s against NCAA rules to sell their jerseys and rings?

The NCAA’s reasoning on the matter is inexplicable. They’ve now ruled on two high-profile cases by heavily weighting the “knowledge of the players” factor and they’re rewarding perceived innocence. It’s odd decisions like this one that leaves critics wondering how the NCAA can seemingly dole out penalties on an arbitrary “this is what we feel like doing” basis.