Big-Time College Sports is no Game

Just ask Clemson tailback Ray Ray McElrathbey who lost his football scholarship, no doubt to somone who can help the Tigers win RIGHT NOW.

Later, Bowden and company made what seemed the obligatory generous gesture of offering McElrathbey a spot as a graduate-assistant, though the question of just how much of his living expenses it would cover remained in doubt. Now, ask yourself, how could Ray Ray McElrathbey be expected to continue providing any stability for his young sibling when his own survival was in such grave doubt?

Truth is, drastic times demand drastic action, and the tough tactics go both ways. The talk of the collegiate sports right now is the almost-certain decisions by the less-than-legal brigade of Derrick Rose, 19 [ Memphis]; O.J. Mayo, 20 [USC]; Michael Beasley, 19[Kansas State]; Eric Gordon, 19 [Indiana], and Jerryd Bayless, 19 [Arizona], to forgo their remaining college eligibility and declare themselves eligible for the NBA draft — and its attendant millions — just one-year into the four-year commitments they made to their respective institutions.

But before passing any judgment on those decisions, think of Ray Ray and Fahmarr McElrathbey, and realize just how fragile those commitments are, how subject to change they are at the end of each season by people like Tommy Bowden and the corporate interests they represent.

Glenn Minnis is a New York writer.