What’s going on with the Florida Gators? That’s the question a lot of Gator fans… and Gator haters… are asking in the wake of 10 players suspended for Saturday’s season opener against Michigan.

Nine of them were suspended for credit card fraud, cases that are currently being investigated by University Police.  The other one was for marijuana possession. Nine of those players represent more than 10% of the total team roster on scholarship. Two of those players include the team’s top returning rusher and receiver.  That makes it increasingly difficult for the Gators to pull off the win.

So, what does this tell us about the state of Gator football, or the larger state of NCAA football?  You could make the case that these kids who were caught, still have no idea of right or wrong, or simply don’t care.

They’re simply being selfish, without any regard for their teammates.. the team.. or the responsibility they have of representing the University.

Or, is it time to look at the bigger picture of the state of NCAA football? Since the suspended players allegedly used fraudulent credit cards and then sold the items for cash, is it time to raise the question again.. should players be paid?

There are good points to be raised on both sides of this argument.

You could say the players shouldn’t be given a free pass, if they broke the law or team rules, just because they’re short of cash.  Most of us can easily tell the difference between obeying the law and breaking it. But the truth is, many college athletes don’t come from affluent backgrounds, they don’t have any walking-around money to buy a cheeseburger.. or go on a date.. or even make it home for a family event or emergency.

And yes, it’s not like they’re not getting anything for playing football.  Those full scholarships and benefits that go with them are not cheap.  It’s not cash, but there’s a significant value to getting an education… a free one.

But it’s hard to look past the billions of dollars the NCAA is making off athletics.. without very many labor costs.  They have to pay their administrators and office staff, the schools the same along with stadium staff.  But college football fans watch those games on network television, to see the players play.  The NCAA rakes in billions in network TV money, while they don’t have to pay the players a dime.  Sorry, but something is wrong there.

So, again, there are good points to be raised on both sides of the argument.  But at least, we should continue talking about the issue, and discuss whether playing the players something, would help.. and maybe discourage some players from resorting to credit card fraud. What do you think?

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