Sports Takes With Rosin: The Co-opting of LeBron James

The man who's taken his talents to South Beach has apparently found the years he spent at Ohio State. - Larry Busacca

Could Ohio State be starting a new and horrendous trend? Yes. And in a twist, this one might not be blamed on Urban Meyer.

So apparently, colleges can just co-opt stuff now.

I mean, it's something the music industry has done since the days of Elvis. And movies and television have done it in an attempt to chase the trends. But colleges? Institutions of higher learning? Come on. They may exploit the likeness of star athletes like RB #33 and QB #15, but at the very least they're going to keep it in house.

But apparently Ohio State just gets to do whatever they want. Apparently they can just co-opt someone who has never set foot on their campus and have them be a recruiting tool. COME TO OHIO STATE SO YOU CAN BE JUST LIKE OUR BEST PLAYER.

Apparently, Ohio State has joined forces with LeBron "how many college courses have I taken?" James in an effort to help get a generation of athletes to actually come to Ohio State. Sorry, The Ohio State University.

Whatever.

All right, so the fact does remain that colleges get help any which way they can. We see alumni helping in the recruiting process all the time. The alumni will help attempt to sway an athlete to their program if the kid's cachet is worth any amount of time. And some people even become famous for it. I mean, how many of you would have heard of billionaire industrialist T. Boone Pickens without his massive funding of the Oklahoma State program? And few things are as synonymous with Oregon sports as Phil Knight.

But the big, non-parsed difference between what they're doing and what Ohio State's doing? LeBron's not an alumnus. LeBron wasn't even a student. This. This is the slippery slope that they keep talking about.

What makes you think that Dwayne Wade won't throw his weight behind Indiana basketball? His allegiances aren't to that university. Buzz Williams wasn't his guy. Tom Crean. Tom Crean was his guy. If this works, Dwayne Wade's going to get a locker wherever he wants in Bloomington.

And don't forget about Kobe. He's arguably the most famous of the skipping-college set. Who wouldn't want the advantage of saying this is Kobe Bryant's locker? Come to, let's say Duke, and you can play where the greats played. Who wouldn't want to be the next Kobe Bryant, after all?

"Come on, Rosin," you may say. "These kids are pretty savvy. They know when they're being sold on specious logic."

To that, strawman. I say you are just flat-out wrong. If kids knew when they were being sold a bill of goods? Then they wouldn't be playing their Call of Duties and riding their skateboards to the sock hop and drinking milkshakes and walking on my lawn. They want to be sold to. Just like the rest of us.

"Come on, Rosin!" You respond. "You're just jealous. Wisconsin doesn't have that advantage to press."
"We'll still finish in the top 4," I said.
"And you'll lose too early in the tournament."

Hold on. You're losing the plot. I mean, you're using people who never went to your school to promote the school. You're being phonies. Big, fat phonies. I mean, Mike Conley's not good enough for you? The adorable bench scrub Mark Titus can't help matters?

Apparently it can't. And your school is filled with bad people for it.

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