Thursday, February 26, 2009

FWG: Im Tryin' To Get Paid, Straight Cash Homie

I just got this month’s electric bill, and it got me thinking. First off I’m broke. Not “crippled by the economy” broke, more like “Keystone instead of Bud-Light” broke. Now I am graduated from college, making my own way in the world. This includes training to play professionally, which as luck would have it is in the middle of the day. Which makes my “earning” potential somewhat limited because I really can’t work a “real” job because I wouldn’t be able to take a regular shift. Also, who is going to hire someone if they know they will be leaving four months later anyway? But the story was the same when I was in college too. I was lucky enough to come from a family that could give me some spending money here and there, but for most of my teammates it was not the case. UCONN’s policy was that football players shouldn’t have job during the season. Well, then guess what?

I think college athletes should be paid. Let me riddle off some un-researched statistics for you. We get a free education (if we are on scholarship), which is valued at around $125,000 (for 5 years). Universities makes millions of dollars in ticket revenues, merchandising, television appearances (gotta love Wednesday night ESPN). Not to mention priceless exposure for our respective schools through bowl games and national rankings. You can order players' jerseys online or buy them in the book store. But because there is no name on the back, players aren't being exploited?

At UConn, our game jerseys don't have our names on the back, so I'd say that's pretty authentic. But there is some myth in college football that the NCAA and purist fan would like to hold on to: that college athletics (save the Olympics) is the last true form of amateurism. That's an unfair and simply untrue label. The NCAA only wants us to be amateurs when it suits them, just as they only want us to be "Student-Athletes" when it benefits them. What part about being a "student" means missing all your classes on a Tuesday, missing all your classes on a Wednesday, returning at 4am on Thursday, and then being expected to make all of that day's classes--all for the sake of a random Wednesday night game? So what do I suggest? Hold money for players from whom the University profits off their likeness (jersey sales) until after they graduate. And give players a stipend that allows them to live a normal college life outside of football. Holding a job and playing Division I is simply not an option. But some of my teammates can't afford to go out on the weekends or order food on a Saturday night. I don't want to paint a picture of the "unfortunate athletes" because we do get a lot of benefits (free gear, best food, chartered planes...oh, education), but something has to be done here. I have teammates who go out and rush for 200 or have 18 tackles, but at the end of the night can’t afford to grab a pizza with their friends? It just doesn’t’ seem right.

But I wanna know what YOU think. Comment here or Email
For all I know maybe I'm pissing in the wind here. Am I a spoiled-pampered college athlete?

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