Reggie Bush being compensated $100,000 is not the eye popping, "I can't believe he did that!" headline news that people are making it out to be (I mean, didn't we just see this story coming out of Oklahoma?). Sure, Reggie Bush is a higher profile name than little man Bomar, but that doesn't make the story any more sensational. No, the real story here, and larger issue the NCAA has always sidestepped, is compensating college athletes for their participation in a school's athletic program.
I would argue that in Division 1 sports- make that revenue-generating Division 1 sports (like football)- a player's participation is not simply participation. It is contribution to the bottom line. And in a HUGE program like USC football, players are contributing toward the success of a multi-million dollar revenue and profit machine. And it's not just multi-million as in 5 or 6 million. We are talking 100's of millions (dare I say a billion?) of dollars.
So the question is, if a player helps the program, and school, turn a profit, why shouldn't he be compensated? The argument that a player's scholarship is his "payment" is bogus. Sure, an out-of-state matriculating student in today's colleges pays as much as $35,000 per year in tuition and board and fees, but is that really fair compensation? Equal pay for equal work? Do you think Reggie Bush only generated $35,000 worth of revenue for his school? Heck, even $35,000 in profit? Still not enough, given the fact that other students receive academic scholarships for the full boat and all they generate for the school is, um, well... what do they generate?
And I will not buy the whole better institution-wide acadmic outcomes assisted by these acadmic scholars make the school more desirable, hence, driving up tuiton and status arguments. These schools (USC,Oklahoma, etc.) are HUGE. And they are that way because of their sports progams and subsequent alumni (who are the real "marketing firms" here).
Yes, Reggie Bush should not have been compensated under current NCAA rules. And he should be punished. And even if the rules were different, he should not be allowed to take monies and benefits from outside influences like "marketing firms". But that does not evaporate the black cloud over the NCAA machine that is it's total lack of regard and care for its moving parts (the revenue generating players).