Classes as important as cash and cars

Phantom jobs allegedly have existed in college football for decades, long before Maurice Clarett ever arrived on the Ohio State campus. A friend of mine, an Ohio State booster who requested anonymity, told me about a Buckeyes player in the 1950s whose job – supposedly arranged for by coaches – was to turn off the lights in the football stadium.

There were no lights in the football stadium.

According to Clarett, phantom jobs still exist at Ohio State. That, among other things, is what the former Buckeyes running back told ESPN The Magazine. Clarett alleges he and other players received cash from phantom jobs, cash from boosters and the use of free cars. Most of the public focus in Clarett's case has been on these alleged "extra benefits."

However, lost in the headlines about cars and cash is the part about the student-athletes. Clarett, and others, also have alleged a number of academic improprieties, including academic advisers steering players to football-friendly professors, Mickey Mouse classes and testing assistance. According to Clarett, this was all about keeping him and other players eligible to play football.