Column: Is game’s new ‘it-boy’ in over his head?

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The guys in charge might pretend to be pained, but nobody gets too worked up about amateur stuff like eligibility any more, least of all the kids on whose backs the empire rests. They, too, can see college football for what it’s become: the NFL’s de facto minor league. It’s great to have rowers, field hockey players and cheerleaders who will become engineers, accountants and marketing reps in the future.

They make for good commercials, and a good front for a non-profit like the NCAA, but they don’t make any money. They’re the farthest thing, in truth, regarding what college sports is really about.

Instead, it’s about kids like Manziel _ and Newton and Terrelle Pryor, too _ and keeping their sense of entitlement in check long enough to make a few dollars off their talent before they get theirs. If nothing else, Manziel already looks like one of those guys who’s going to make the higher-ups earn every penny _ plus more than their fair share of heartburn in the bargain.

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Jim Litke is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at jlike(at)ap.org and follow him at Twitter.com/JimLitke.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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