Free agency should reign across sports

It’s time to give up. It’s time for a lawless society.

The rules aren’t working and there are a zillion ways to bend them without getting caught. And if you get caught, you get canned and land somewhere else.

I’m talking about paying our young athletes — and I’m not just talking about throwing a stipend to help the college scholarship athletes make ends meet.

I’m talking about allowing these kids to become true free agents with no age restrictions.

If Oklahoma likes a ninth grader from Enid who hit puberty early and can laser the pigskin through a tire from 30 yards and run like a gazelle being hounded by a hungry cheetah, then I say all bets are off.

If all parties agree, let him get paid. Big.

Sound smelly? It is, but let’s not forget two things: We live in a capitalistic society where we should be able to earn as much as we can, whenever we can.

I’ve thought about this a lot, how does it really affect me or my family?

It doesn’t in any way. If my sons could have landed a million-dollar offer to play soccer overseas when they were 15, we would all say, what line do we sign on?

Oh, that’s right, we already have an American superstar, Christian Pulisic, who did just that. Every day another story about sneaky ways money is funneled to tall, strong and fast athletes to play for a certain school.

What would truly happen if we just stopped trying to govern every little thing and let schools open their wallets and shell out whatever they want?

I know one thing: Many young adults would make some really bad decisions based on big chunks of money at a young age. But again, why am I in charge of parenting or caring for that matter how much or how little these kids get paid?

And to take it one step further, if a professional team wants to scoop these kids up, again at any age, why not?

I love college basketball, but it’s a bit of a joke as it now stands.

The ESPN ticker had reports each day of the kids going pro after one year when the season wrapped up. They should have run the kids who were staying in school. It would have taken less time.

This isn’t the 1970s, folks. None of us should care who pays who what. The most talented kids will sign for huge money and go to the biggest schools with the deepest pockets.

Um, kind of what happens now, right?

Jeff Bartlett resides in Bellwood. This is his first guest column.


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