Dee Liner, a four star defensive lineman who will be attending Alabama in the fall, has created a firestorm by posting a pic on Instagram of him holding a huge wad of cash and saying his struggles are over with.
No one knows how Mr. Liner got his money, and frankly, no one should care, even if the obvious suspicion proves to be true. Under the table payments to players like Terrelle Pryor, Reggie Bush, etc, etc. have always gone on and always will. In the old days, it was boosters stuffing hundred dollar bills into the chain link fence at games in Texas. Now it’s loaner cars, cheap apartments and free tattoos. As long as there are rich boosters with no morals and poor kids with talent, there will be a transfer of funds. The NCAA can assign a full time enforcement person to every kid in America and it won’t matter. One thing we should know by now from trying to stop cocaine, illegal immigration and prostitution, and that’s economics always wins. Period.
Not only that, but the players being paid are right. They’re risking their health and their futures, and are expected to enter into a binding commitment to do so for free. The school, meanwhile, has no commitment. It can yank a scholarship any time it chooses and there’s an awful good chance that the coach that promised them he’d work with them for the next four years will be on the first bus out of town if another school offers more money. (Ask University of Florida, who let Urban Meyer out of his contract because of health reasons, only to see him jump at a bigger payday in a soft conference.)
No, the real outrage is because most suspect that Mr. Liner reneged on a deal with Auburn. Most outraged are the fans from Auburn, a school Mr. Liner had promised to attend until he changed his mind in January.
As anyone who follows southern football knows, lots of schools can defeat Auburn on the football field, but few can compete with them in, ahem, “player acquisition.” Only a few years ago, it was Auburn who ended up with Cam Newton, whose father called various schools trying to auction him off. Indeed, other SEC schools have a long-standing joke about the Plainsmen/War Eagles/Tigers (when you are Auburn, it helps to have a few aliases handy.) It goes: “If they’re winning, they’re cheating.”
But now Auburn’s lost a player and suddenly that player shows up with fistfuls of cash.
Life’s just not fair, I guess.