Everyone remembers the report that came out on Yahoo! Sports in early September detailing benefits given to five SEC players, including former Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray, former Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, former Mississippi State receiver Chad Bumphis, former Alabama defensive tackle D.J. Fluker and the only current college player, Tennessee defensive lineman Maurice Couch.
Couch has been deemed ineligible by Tennessee head coach Butch Jones much of the season, but the NCAA finally made a ruling. They decided to come down unnecessarily hard and have ruled Couch ineligible for the remainder of the season. While this may be justified under other circumstances, it is interesting to see how the NCAA punishes players that are sincerely sorry for their transgressions.
Once the story broke, Couch apologized on Twitter to his teammates, and Vol Nation stating that he was sorry that he let everyone down. Does this make him an ineligible player?
A player that owns up to their wrongdoings is a quality that is hard to find in this age of college football. Should the NCAA really punish a player for that?
Take a look at Texas A&M starting quarterback and Heisman winner Johnny Manziel. After being accused of collecting a five-figure flat fee for autographed paraphernalia, Manziel was suspended for all of one half of a game. Manziel denied, denied, denied, but there were also witnesses to the transfer of money. The NCAA didn’t come down nearly as hard.
Could the NCAA be playing favorites? Why not just ask Couch to pay whatever money he received (about $3000), which by the way is much less than the five figures Manziel received, back? The NCAA has punished Couch enough by prolonging a ruling, and now with his official ineligibility for the season, the NCAA is just being unjust.