On the surface, the idea of Terrelle Pryor and four other Ohio State players profiting off their own memorabilia and awards is exactly what is wrong with the NCAA. There's a certain level of hypocrisy, according to some, in universities making millions of dollars off athletes, while athletes can't make a few bucks selling stuff they have earned.
But as of right now, those are the rules. Pryor and his four teammates -- Mike Adams, Dan Herron, DeVier Posey and Solomon Thomas -- are in violation of NCAA rules for selling Big Ten championship rings and other apparel. Whether they knew the rules or not -- the incidents occurred in 2009 so maybe they did not -- they still broke them, and the NCAA has a punishment in place for them.
Ohio State ended up reporting the violations to the NCAA themselves, and while it endangered their football team for next year, it should be applauded, writes SB Nation's Ohio State blog Along The Olentangy.
This is not an issue of institutional control like at USC or UNC, but rather one of supreme selfishness by a handful of players. Ohio State self-investigated and then self-reported the violations to the NCAA, and it's very possible that they could have buried the information below the surface. Instead, they chose to endanger the eligibility of their star players and risk tarnishing their image to uphold the rules. An argument could be made that it was the wrong decision, but I applaud it. If collegiate athletics are to distinguish themselves from professional sports, it is the institutions that must bear the burden of responsibility in regulating player behavior. The NCAA is an organization with limited resources, tasked with investigating and managing the behavior of hundreds of athletic institutions and thousands of players. They are stretched thin, and they often rely on institutional cooperation when conducting their investigations. It should be institutional policy to cooperate, but as we've seen over the past year, that is not always the case.
This isn't to say the argument that NCAA athletes should be allowed to sell memorabilia is wrong, but as of right now, that action is prohibited, and when someone breaks the rules, punishments usually occur.