The greatest film scene of spectators at a sporting event features "The Cable Guy" buddies played by Matthew Broderick and Jim Carrey watching Medieval Times jousting while dining. Steven, the Broderick character, wants a knife and fork.
"There were no utensils in Medieval Times," the waitress (Janeane Garofalo) says, "so there are no utensils at 'Medieval Times.' Do you want a refill on that Pepsi?"
Steven: "There were no utensils but there was Pepsi?"
Art has nothing on the jousting going on in America's greatest real-life spectator sport.
So let me get this straight: Coaches, agents, schools, the NCAA, condo developers and companies employing cable guys can make truckloads of cash off college football? But A.J. Green must miss one-third of his most important football season because he sold a jersey?
The NCAA has ruled the former Summerville High School wide receiver out for four games, including Saturday's critical Southeastern Conference clash at South Carolina, a harsh penalty for selling a game-worn Independence Bowl jersey to an agent for $1,000.
Georgia, sticking up for its All-America candidate (and bowl hopes), plans to appeal.
Green, on behalf of thousands of college football and basketball players past and present, should file a class action suit against College Sports, Inc., seeking a rightful percentage of profits generated from the sale of jerseys with certain numbers on the front and back.
Georgia's A.J.-model No. 8, for instance.
Any guess on the over-under for number of Dawgs fans with a red or black Green replica?
More than 100,000?
Less than a million?
Allowing the best players to profit from jersey sales is good, old-fashioned American meritocracy at its best.
I'm not saying Green is clean.
He broke the NCAA rule that reads something like, "Furthermore, whereas (eligible player) upon his respective team whipping up on Texas A&M in Shreveport, exchanges sweaty jersey for money . . . "
Yeah, that rule.
By the way, did you know the University of Georgia sells selected game-used football jerseys in its campus bookstore?
And, of course, lots of A.J. Green replica jerseys.
South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier, asked about his own players under NCAA investigation, talked earlier this week about the ruling body of college athletics.
"The NCAA runs college football," Spurrier said. "You have to have a sheriff. And they're the sheriff of all our teams. So as coaches and administrators, we understand they do have a difficult job and we just have to wait it out and see what happens."
The Head Ball Coach, one of the untarnished guys in college sports, makes a good point. But unless there is more to the Green story, the punishment doesn't seem to fit the transgression.
This case and investigations at South Carolina, North Carolina and perhaps several other schools apparently tied to a probe into player relationships with agents has been a revealing look at the NCAA enforcement process.
Steroids and agents
When NCAA investigators show up, they start asking questions that lead in various directions: A tutor at North Carolina, hotel arrangements at South Carolina, a jersey at Georgia and probably other stuff we haven't heard about.
Now that Green has donated his $1,000 profit to charity, how about investigating the investigation system?
What would the NCAA come up with if its 43-person enforcement staff fanned out around college football and really started snooping?
It was just announced that Monday night's Boise State conquest of Virginia Tech was the most-watched ESPN college football game in recorded history. With that kind of money rolling into the sport, maybe the often medieval NCAA and its membership should spend some of it on monitoring the distribution of painkillers, get more aggressive about policing the use of steroids during the baseball "offseason" and form a blue-ribbon committee to crack down on so-called agents who tempt players with offers too good to ignore.
Reach Gene Sapakoff at firstname.lastname@example.org.