By Shawn Muller-

(CBS) When I hear the name Mark Emmert mentioned, I don’t think Al Capone, John Gotti, or Carlo Gambino.

But Illinois congressman Bobby Bush does.

After parents of some student athletes complained about the bad treatment their sons received by the schools they attended once they were injured, Bobby Rush said, “I think you would compare the NCAA to Al Capone and to the Mafia.”

Congressman Rush, I hate to break it to you, but you have completely lost your mind.  The NCAA does not resemble the Mafia in any way, shape, or form.  Players don’t get their knees broken if they step out of line.  They don’t have to worry about getting “whacked” if they do something to disappoint the Don—or in their case–the head coach.  They don’t have to check under their cars for bombs, and if a player happens to get arrested–the odds are– it won’t be due to racketeering, loan sharking, murder, or tax evasion.

How about we compare the US Congress to the Mafia instead since we are throwing out ridiculous statements?  A lot of people would say Congress is about as corrupt as they come.   Congressman Rush wants government to look at the effect of “back-room deals, payoffs and scandals” in college athletics, but couldn’t the American people ask that the same be done to Congress?

Pot meet kettle.

I have always thought it is better to be assumed to be an idiot than it is to open your mouth and remove all doubt.  So why do people of influence—like congressman Rush—feel it is necessary to make the most absurd analogies possible?

I hate the NCAA as much as anybody and I think it is about as dirty as they come.

But for all the angst I feel about the NCAA, I am not about to compare it to the Mafia. The Mafia doesn’t provide free education to people simply because they are good at sports.  These kids are not employees of the state or of the university they play for.  These kids want to get paid, then change the rules to allow them to turn professional when they want to.  That way, if a kid leaves school early—or doesn’t attend college at all—it is all on him.

Yes, college athletics is big business.  Yes, the NCAA and its members are making billions of dollars.

But it is time to give it a rest!

The constant complaining about athletes not getting paid is getting absurd.  What ever happened to people being grateful for what they get?  What ever happened to people appreciating the value of a free education?

I said last week that I had no problem with the NCAA wanting to allow for a little extra money to be given to these kids for leisure.  Many don’t have the time to get a part-time job, so if this helps them out a little, then so be it.

But a line has to be drawn between amateur and professional athlete.

shawn muller 2 9 Muller: Comparing NCAA To Mafia Is Ridiculous

Shawn Muller

Shawn Muller has lived in the great city of Chicago for 7 years. He is a 2002 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and, in October of 2010, Shawn received his certificate in radio broadcasting. In his free time, Shawn enjoys spending time with his wife Melissa and 3 year old daughter Ava, catching any live sporting event, and traveling. Check out his radio show, Grab Some Bench with Muller and Bangser” every Thursday night at 8:30 P.M., at Read more of his blogs here.

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