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All about the green

It's on old story, often repeated here: Big-time college athletics is all about the Benjamins, to the extent that any notion that they still have anything whatsoever to do with an academic mission long ago went flying off with the angels.

But sometimes the crassness of it all just gets to be too much.

Did you check out that Oklahoma State-Savannah State score over the weekend?

The 19th-ranked Cowboys pummeled Savannah State 84-0, a farcical exercise in which the Pokes led 35-0 after a quarter and 49-0 at halftime. OSU should refund every dime for this atrocity, because taking money for it frankly amounts to grand theft.

OSU wasn't the biggest villain in the piece, however. That distinction belongs solely to the Savannah State officials who subjected their football players to a pummeling simply because OSU paid it $385,000 to do so.

Not a dime of that, of course, will go to the players Savannah State callously used as cannon fodder to plump up its bottom line, which is outrage enough. Even greater an outrage is that Savannah State is going to do it again this weekend, sending the poor Tigers to Tallahassee to get ripped to shreds by No. 7 Florida State. This time it means a $475,000 payday.

This is beyond heinous. It borders on the criminal.

Seriously, there's got to be a better way to fund your athletic programs than by deliberately humiliating your athletes (and subjecting them to needless injury, as well). Especially infuriating is the fact that, per NCAA rules, Savannah State essentially gets to do it for the price of a few (allegedly) full-ride scholarships.

This cannot stand. The NCAA, which talks a good game (if little else) about how much it cares about the welfare of its "student-athletes," needs to step in and put a stop to it immediately. It needs to tell the Savannah States in no uncertain terms that just because it's paying out athletic scholarships, that doesn't mean it has the right to treat the holders of those scholarships as disposable commodities.

That's what's happening now, and it's too bad the obvious solution isn't a practical or legal one. Because you know what the ideal scenario would be here?

Tell the Savannah State officials who cooked this up, fine, go ahead and collect your blood money from Florida State. But instead of sending your student-athletes out to pay the price for it, you have to suit up and play instead.

I'm guessing that $475,000 wouldn't look like such a good deal, all of a sudden.

Ben Smith's blog.