Ever since I was a little tyke, I can remember watching western movies on our postage stamp TV, and hearing the ranch boss telling someone, “I pay a day’s wage for a day’s work.”

This seems to have escaped the NCAA rules committee because it seems that if a guy gets a free lunch from a booster the witch hunt starts.

We are just able to put the Reggie Bush “scandal” behind us, and I say, “thank God!” For those of you who read the comics and the obits and retire your daily newspaper to the recycle bin, let me give you an update.

The NCAA has spent the last five years soaking up California sunshine while they investigated the allegation that Bush’s family received a little cash from an agent. The end results are as follows: For this sin against the college national pastime, the school lost credit for two of their 2004 season victories and every win they recorded throughout the entire 2005 season, including the National Championship.

The coach, who supposedly had knowledge of this transgression, was banned from recruiting off campus for one year. Boy, that really hurts.

Former USC head coach Pete Carroll caught a bus to Seattle, Wash., where he picked up a check for $33 million to coach the NFL’s Seahawks. And Reggie was asked to give back the Heisman Trophy (the holy grail of college football).

Meanwhile, USC was making a mint off the revenue from Reggie Bush jersey sales. Reggie did the work and USC garnered the profit from his labors.

I still have a problem with these selective sanctions. If you have ever heard of Notre Dame and a few other “golden children” schools of the college ranks undergoing investigations and subsequent sanctions for improper behavior, raise your hand. It’s too cold in South Bend to spend five years investigating a stud who happened to have someone pick up the tab for his ham and cheese on rye.

To give you an idea of what I mean when I mention selective punishment, try this on for size. Georgia’s A.J. Green was suspended for four games for selling his game-worn jersey. But, it was later discovered that Nebraska was selling dozens of game- worn jerseys and keeping the profits. I guess at the time the NCAA was busy making travel arrangements for L.A.

I guess the bottom line is the NCAA rules infraction committee is a joke. Investigate every program, and there won’t be anyone to suit up on Saturday. Just think of how they would accept that loss of TV revenue.

I am willing to bet that if a committee is formed to find a college football program that is squeaky clean we may be holding our breaths for the next 10 years. A Dan Jenkins character, Coach T.J. Lambert said it best: “If a coach goes out and recruits a speed demon, you had better damn right go out and recruit one who can catch him.”

Most fans aren’t aware that a scholarship athlete can’t hold a job. This is in violation of NCAA rules. So, if a kid’s family can’t send a little cash towards his mailbox every week, the kid either turns his head and takes a little cash under the table or (you fill in the blank).

Way back in the day when I was able to get out of a chair without holding on to something, I had a free ride to college. One of my buddies turned me on to a job at the Abbott Ice Cream plant. I worked for a week before Pop caught on. It was then that I heard my first passage from the NCAA Bible. “If you have a job you lose your scholarship. If you lose your scholarship, you will pay your own way.” That comes from the gospel of Sam Lacy.

If the NCAA wants to gain my respect, it should spend a little time trying to sort out this BCS mess. Every year, there are questions over the method of choosing the teams to compete for the national championship. Some teams with an undefeated record don’t get a sniff of the gold, while some teams with a one-loss record get to play in the big game.

Strength of schedule is the NCAA party line, and there are coaches out there who are saying this is a bunch of crap. Until someone comes along and beats an undefeated team, they deserve a shot at the title.

In the meantime, consider paying these kids a day’s wage for a day’s work.

Tim Lacy

Special to the AFRO