Sometimes life imitates art. Sometimes art imitates life. Sometimes life imitates art that imitates life.
Last week the University of Indiana and players have come under fire for improper benefits. Improper benefits the NCAA has ruled previously that are proper and ignored. In fact, those benefits were documented in the 2009 film The Blind Side, a movie based on the real life events for Ole Miss lineman Michael Oher.
Here are the plots behind both stories … and scene:
|Movie||The Blind Side||The Peter Jerkins Story (The PG-13 version)|
|Plot||A young man from humble beginnings stumbles his way into a “middle-to-upper” class family. The family gives him a home, car, allowance, oh yeah – love. Come to find out, the family was a big sports family and the player turned out to be really good at the sport they supported most. In the name of love and family, the player would attend the same school his new parents loved and supported. The NCAA would investigate only to find the family simply showered him with love, which included the car, gifts, and free Taco-Bell.||Two young men find their way on the basketball court. During their journey, they get a helping hand that has cell phones, laptops, plane tickets, and meals. The hand belonged to their coach, a man affiliated with the school the players would eventually attend college and play basketball for. The NCAA would declare this relationship impermissible and find that these gifts were excessive and the players were at fault.|
|Stars||Michael Oher,||Peter Jurkin, Mark Adams, Tom Crean|
|Cast||Quinton Aaron (Oher) – Sandra Bullock (Tuohy)||Dikembe Mutombo (Jurkin) – Rain Wilson (Adams and Crean)|
|Supporting Cast||Tim McGraw (Sean Tuohy, Leigh Anne’s husband)||Tim McGraw (sleezey AAU Coach)|
In the Academy Award winning movie, Oher received benefits from a rich Ole Miss booster that had given thousands to his former school, as recently as that year. Oher was documented to have received his own SUV (or at least the ability to drive the SUV), clothes and more. Potentially tens of thousands of dollars worth of benefits, factor in the free Taco Bell for a 300 lb teen ager and it could be a lot more. The punishment received? A movie that turned out $308 million dollars at the Box Office. While the NCAA investigated, Oher was allowed to play for Ole Miss.
In the Indiana story, the AAU coach, also the players legal guardian, had given $185 dollars to belong to the Indiana booster club, or the Varsity Club, and spent about $1,800 on the players. The players were then suspended for 9 games a piece because that AAU coach was deemed a booster of the program for his donation.
You should realize, I am in no way affiliated with Indiana University, I actually dislike the school – most players, a high percentage of fans, the state, and many of the residents. I am in fact happy to hear of the suspension as it will mute most grumblings from IU fans that like to point fingers at the Kentucky basketball program that I love so dearly.
What you should also realize is that the NCAA picks and chooses who to go after and who to impact. Enes Kanter was an example that hit home for Kentucky two season ago. $40,000 from a basketball team that was deemed professional, thus the player was as well. IU has now faced the selective punishments.
While sometimes life imitates art and sometimes art imitates life and sometimes life imitates art that imitates life, the NCAA rarely imitates itself and does the same thing twice.