The following is an excerpt from the rationale behind proposed policy changes written in 1995 to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) by Linnea Smith to establish guidelines for the relationship between any nonsports publications public reations awards and university athletes and coaches:

A former long-standing NCAA official accurately contrasted pre-season ÒawardsÓ as follows:

"A post-season award is based upon that season's accomplishments, whereas a pre-season award is largely a speculative, promotional, and public relations effort. ...Pre-season guesstimates by so-called experts do not represent, in my opinion, valid awards for athletesÕ accomplishments."

Currently, the NCAA has failed to enact any guidelines or limits to pre-season awards. What kind of message is given to student-athletes and the public if athletes are placed in a vulnerable position to be exploited by any nonsports agency or business that can decide to essentially use 'awardsÓ to highly visible and popular college athletes arbitrarily as a marketing tool, or access to legitimacy by association, and with the NCAA's tacit approval? What prevents gambling casinos, illicit-drug promoting magazines, commercial sex entertainment "sports bars" or dehumanizing sexually-explicit magazines from declaring a pre-season All-American team without any clear selection process or no known panel of experts or career sports authorities?
          Athletes can be bribed with first-class airline tickets to plush resorts for party weekends and photo sessions. If pro-scouts are hired to give input, there can be conflict of interest for the college student. He may not be comfortable with an association with the awarding business, but is reluctant to decline the award because of the potential for negatively impacting the pro-scouts who can exercise influence over the player's potential professional career and contract negotiations. Collegiate and professional athletics are extremely competitive, and players feel pressured to accept any recognition so as not to lose any possible competitive edge. For ethical reasons, etc., if one does not accept the award, another player is given the spot and the original player is essentially punished by missing another title on his resume, whether a bonafide award or not. Institutions have actually encouraged students to accept questionable awards for perceived national recognition for that institution.
          With controversial or exploitive awarding corporations, college athletes are caught in the middle and lack freedom to really choose from an adequately informed position free from outside pressures.
          While regulating many aspects of collegiate sports it is a glaring omission that the NCAA not protect its student-athletes from commercial exploitation so they can be free to make appropriate choices.