The controversy surrounding former LSU star Odell Beckham Jr. apparently giving out money to players after their national title win on Monday has ignited a wide range of issues about college athletics. Paying “student-athletes” is obviously one of the biggest issues that is emerging.
But one former college player doesn’t see what OBJ did as much of an issue at all.
On Thursday’s edition of ESPN’s Get Up!, former Texas Longhorns star Emmanuel Acho told a fascinating story from the 2010 BCS National Championship Game against Alabama. Acho revealed that the players were told well before the game that defensive backs would receive $1,000 for each interception they recorded.
The former Longhorns linebacker explained that OBJ’s stunt wasn’t some effort to get attention. Rather, it was a harmless effort to show his fellow Tigers his appreciation for their efforts.
“We went to the national championship game in 2009 and … it was public to the team, for every interception the defensive back got, they were going to get $1,000,” Acho said of Texas’ 37-21 loss to the Crimson Tide on Jan. 7, 2010. “For every pick y’all got against Alabama in the national championship game, you’re going to get $1,000. Now, the difference is we just didn’t do it publicly on the field.
“What my problem is, though, everybody masquerades Odell Beckham as a guy who thinks, ‘Oh, I plotted this out. I’m going to go out, hand this money and they’re going to talk about me on Get Up. That’s not what he’s thinking. That’s not what he’s thinking.”
Nevertheless, LSU has already pledged to investigate the incident. And it’s very possible that the NCAA will too.
“Student-athletes” getting paid remains one of the biggest no-no’s in college sports, and if the LSU football team gets punished in any way over what OBJ did, he may come to severely regret giving out that money – even in jest.