With the reports of the OSU suspensions coming out this week, several of us fans have expressed outrage that these players would part with their hard-earned rings for a few bucks. The pride they have in their school has been questioned by some, and some have labeled them greedy and selfish athletes who are only using OSU to get themselves to the pros.
On the other side of the issue, however, are those who feel that these are students who are likely to come from poorer backgrounds and could have used the money. Folks in this camp feel that the students do not get a fair shake not being able to work most jobs and earn an income to pay rent, etc. While not everyone in this camp feels that the rings should have been sold, they do understand the students' decision to sell them, and are reluctant to question their school pride or character. Instead, many place the blame on the NCAA's greed in wanting to control all merchandising by penalizing students who sell their personal belongings, while allowing students in other, more academic, programs to profit at times off of their abilities.
There may be other sides to this issue that I've missed, but all of this raises the question in my mind, how do we as fans feel about purchasing these items when they go on sale. I have no way to know the legitimacy of this item, but even Alabama players seem to be wiling to part with their championship paraphernalia a bit too easily for some of our tastes, as per this item on ebay last October. Obviously those fans who purchase these items are participants in this phenomenon, and while they may be buying these items out of team spirit, they are creating a market for players who some would say have none.
So, how does everyone feel about this? Is buying this stuff just as wrong as selling it? Are there circumstances under which it is okay to sell or buy these items? Is any of it wrong at all, and is the NCAA just being totally unfair?
Just for full disclosure, I think once something becomes someone's property, they should be able to do what they want with it. However, I think it is also quite classless to sell stuff like championship rings while you are a student at the school (even if it was legal), unless there is some extreme reason to do so (i.e. paying off medical bills for a family member, etc.). Jerseys are a totally different matter, and I feel like they should be able to sell the ones they're given, if they want to, after they no longer need them, even while they are a student.