By Steve Haywood Special to Published May 14, 2008 at 6:53 PM

I could tell a lie ... but I'm not going to be politically correct.

At the highest level, college athletics is the most immoral, hypocritical, self-serving business in this country. That being said, I will make my point clearly so there is no confusion.

If you are a high-end student-athlete that can take advantage of any scenario on your college campus and benefit from it, I don't look down on you for doing so (unless you gamble or throw games).

The noble idea of fair amateur competition does exist on some campuses, but look at major universities in major conferences with major money coming in from boosters, shoe contracts and radio-television contracts.

The student-athlete gets access to educational opportunities at the school, but the big beneficiaries are the NCAA, coaches who make six- and seven-figure contracts, the TV networks, school administrators and alums who get to brag about their teams. (I wish T. Boone Pickens was a UW-Whitewater alum).

The reason I blog about this is the recent tales of Reggie Bush, the former USC star and Heisman Trophy winner, and O.J. Mayo, the USC basketball star who is ditching college after one year to head for the NBA.

The stories are similar and sound like all these rumors or whispers you hear about the best athletes at the major colleges. They have "associates," who get them under the table money from agents in exchange for a future piece of the pie.

I find it hard to begrudge athletes for taking a piece of the pie when they can go to the campus bookstore and see their jerseys sell for $75 a pop when they only have 75 cents in their pocket. The star athletes turn on ESPN and see their names featured promoting big games. They see rich boosters bending over backward to accommodate their desires. They see slick-talking coaches bolt for bigger contracts, while players are locked into schools by red tape.

I know it is not the norm, but there are times when players get hurt, run out of eligibility or under perform and get thrown to the curb while the next recruiting class receives the red carpet treatment. I know there are people who say "But, they get this free education," but I counter by saying that athletes deserve a percentage of what they generate for the university.

I could tell a lie, but I won't. If you want to clean up the seedy side of college athletics, give these young people some of the big pot; stop hiding behind traditions that are out-dated and unjustifiable.

Steve Haywood Special to

Steve Haywood is the host of “That Being Said,” which airs weeknights at 6 p.m. on Milwaukee’s ESPN Radio 1510 Days / 1290 Nights. A lifelong Milwaukee resident, Steve has been working on the radio since 1996 and also is executive producer of Sports Perspectives on MATA Community Media.

After graduating from Milwaukee Tech High School in 1985, Haywood attended college at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he graduated in 1991.

He has covered a number of major events, including the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in 2002 and the NBA All-Star Game in 2003.

Haywood, 39, is married with two kids, a dumb cat and a dog described as a “real curmudgeon.”