Rights without Responsibility 9-24-03


September 24, 2003


To the Editor:


Rights without Responsibility


I read with curious bemusement the recent article regarding the antitrust suit filed by Mr. Alan C. Milstein on behalf of his client the former and now suspended Ohio State University running back Maurice Clarett. The athletic department of Ohio State, for certain actions and violations of university and NCAA rules, suspended Mr. Clarett. They generally involve the allegation that Mr. Clarett did not fulfill academic requirements, that he took monies from a businessman “booster” of the team, and that he exaggerated the value of items supposedly stolen from his vehicle. Because of these indiscretions, Mr. Clarett has been suspended from playing football. To Mr. Clarett’s lawyer this conduct is irrelevant, and because his client can no longer play football, staying in school is meaningless. What was he doing in school in first place? Education? Are you kidding? Oh! He was playing football. Now that he cannot play, because of his alleged violation of the rules, Mr. Clarett wants to be rewarded by having professional teams bid for his services by entering the college football 2004 draft. But the rules state that one must be at least three years past one’s graduating high school class year. Hence Mr. Clarett is ineligible until the 2005 draft, and therefore enter lawyer Milstein. Mr. Milstein says throw out the NFL Draft rule, because his client is being economically harmed, and therefore the courts should trash the “draft” standards the league have imposed. What does all this mean, rights without responsibility. Mr. Clarett wants what he can get, and he will go around or over the rules or have them changed. I say reform must start long before we get to this stage. Big-time college sports should bring back “education” into the equation and stop “babying” these so-called students from day one. If they want to turn “professional” so be it. If the NFL wants mature athletes and has an “age criteria” so be it. But the “bottom line” to this whole equation is, end the duplicitous charade that big-time college sports have become. 


Richard J. Garfunkel


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