By Rhett “PRITTY” Butler
Last night, the No. 1 LSU Tigers completed one of the most impressive seasons in college football history by taking down No. 3 Clemson in the 2020 College Football Playoff National Championship.
The purple and gold stormed back from a first-half deficit for a 42-25 win capping an amazing season for Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow. However, it was what happened after the win that was the most head-turning. Current Cleveland Browns wide receiver and former LSU standout Odell Beckham, Jr. was seen handing out cash to players immediately after the win. OBJ gave the blue faces to Tigers wide receivers Justin Jefferson and Jontre Kirklin coupled with a celebratory embrace.
According to Brooks Kubena of The Advocate, an LSU official said that the bills were fake. The realism of the act was jaw-dropping at the moment and re-raised questions about NCAA player’s ability to make money from their performances. It is currently against the rules for collegiate athletes to accept money of any kind prior to turning pro. However, Beckham did send a pair of headphones to every LSU player before the national championship game, which is allowed.
Last year, the NCAA announced its consideration of a rules change that would allow college athletes “the opportunity to benefit from the use of their name, image and likeness in a manner consistent with the collegiate model.”
Currently, a California state law is in place that will permit college athletes to sign sponsorship deals, charge for autographs, and earn money through other similar opportunities beginning in 2023.
The NCAA is opposed to the California ruling.
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was in the hot seat for allegedly seeking improper benefits while being recruited by schools like Mississippi State and Auburn.
Sometimes the rules can get a bit ridiculous. Former Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Trevor Knight sent out a harmless tweet about his love for Sour Punch Bites, which was received, with a tweet back from Sour Punch with an offer for free candy. However, the rules precluded them from sending him the gift and they quickly shot back that the offer was a joke.
As the NCAA and its players continue this dance, LSU’s coach Ed Orgeron received a $500,000 bonus on top of the $1.275 million he earned this season.
OBJ’s prank opens up a Pandora’s box of questions for players with no answers in sight.