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I have little pity …

By on May 7th, 2014 in Member Post 8 Comments »

ncaa-football-logoI will probably incur some wrath with this post, but it’s been on my mind too much lately, and I need to get rid of it. As a few know, I commented on the three meal a day debacle last week, and while not lambasted for my comments, it was apparent that I was in the minority of posters who felt that the NCAA may have made much ado about nothing (or a little something). 

I have considered the other replies and maybe even softened my feelings on the subject, but I am still not satisfied with the big picture thinking that seems to be prevalent…I believe that full scholarship football players get a really good deal.  While maybe the scholarship offer needs to be tailored a little better to fit needs, consider this: Out-of-state tuition, books, room and board, etc. at a major state university starts at about $40,000 per two semester academic year.  That’s for starters, throw in smaller schools or private schools and that number jumps significantly, maybe upwards towards $100,000 per year, and that is for two semesters, not three.  In addition, they get personal coaching and training to groom them towards a professional career, if they are good enough to move to the next level. 

If that doesn’t happen, they have the opportunity to walk away with a college degree – if they plan accordingly.  In all instances, they have a lifetime experience that few of us get to realize.  Add to all of this the circus show that is signing day / commitment day / “I’ve narrowed my choice day”, and it’s easy to see that nobody is holding a gun to the head of the student athlete to sign up for these benefits.

Yes, it is true that major college football is taking in lots of revenue in return for the exhibition of football games.  Why does that matter to the commitment made between the college and the student athlete?  As above, there is compensation exchanged for the commitment (some people call that a contract).  The university takes chances, hires employees, expends funds, etc. to make all of this work.  Last time I checked, we were in free market and if there was a wholesale better way to do it, somebody would have probably thought of it already.

Lastly, if you don’t like what I’ve written, or you don’t like the system, by virtue that you are at this site reading, you are probably part of  the problem, like it or not.  I put myself right in the middle of that sentence.  I (we) are the ones who obsess over college football, I (we) are the ones who pay silly amounts of money to attend, to follow the team, to buy a hot dog and coke, to fund scholarships,  buy pay-per-view, etc.

I am not complaining. 

8 Comments

  1. AUwaterboy says:

    Agree with what your saying about how much players already receive from being on athletic scholarship. But allowing them to have food anytime they feel hungry should have been part of their scholarship all along. As I understand it, schools have wanted to provide more food options but NCAA would not allow it. That to me was just crazy.

  2. DothanTiger DothanTiger says:

    You make some very good points Joe. I especially like what you said about, “they have a lifetime experience that few of us get to realize.” There are probably thousands of young high school players that would’ve loved to have had a scholarship to play college ball.

  3. audude audude says:

    Like.

    WDE

  4. AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

    No argument from me. I made some of the same observations here a couple of weeks ago. While I’m glad more food will be available to them, I have to plead guilty as charged. Yes I know with all the money and time I allocate to AU sports, that I’m part of the problem.
    Good post Joe. You need to write more often.

  5. au25432 says:

    We do make it what it is today. However, our feeling this way about this sport is not something that has blossomed only in the past 20 years. I have told people all over the country that have a hard time understanding why or how the SEC is consistently good to great at college football my view.

    That view is that it is simply that important to us. That importance was not born by the evolution of espn. This game was every bit as important to us when we sat by a radio holding our breath, waiting to be told if a pass was caught or if the back broke free for 10 yards. We didn’t have College Football Live every afternoon, but we had the sports section of the newspaper, even if only on Sundays. That constant dedication is unmatched.

  6. uglyjoe says:

    Here is the second part of my tirade, for what it’s worth. Please keep in mind I love college football and college athletics and I love Auburn. I think for me the recent process of getting a kid ready for college (and paying for some of it) has opened my eyes a little bit wider.

    An argument that I have heard recently is that for all the money that the sport generates, why can’t the colleges give the players spending money, a stipend, a salary, etc. My first answer is that they can, if they want…..however, per my earlier rant, I probably made it clear that I feel like they have a pretty good deal as it stands. Here are some thoughts:

    First, I don’t have statistics to support this, but I have to think that most athletes (I am specifically talking about football) do not just happen into a scholarship their senior year of high school. Many kids (parents) spend mega time and money preparing for an offer, and the kids that can’t afford the extra training and attention at least know that they have potential and the possibility exists. Speaking specifically of the kids who can’t afford the extras, I say planning is everything. They should know what a scholarship entails, what is provided and what is not provided, and the shortfall in money they will incur (spending money, subway after midnight, etc.). If a college scholarship is what they are after, there are plenty of opportunities during their high school summers to work for additional money. There are also grants, student loans, and maybe distant relatives that can provide money.

    If it sounds like I’m being picky or difficult, please compare the talented high school athlete to the really smart high school student in search of an academic scholarship. Full ride academic scholarships are few and far between, but partials are much more realistic. If a kid wants to go to college on an academic scholarship, he / she has to figure out how to work out the difference between what is offered and what must be paid. Why should athletes be different?

    Something that we (me at the top of the list) lose sight of is that the purpose of a university is not sports first, education second. Universities exist to educate people. In an interesting paradox, how does it make you feel when you’re told your college degree is inferior because Auburn had a bad football season…happened to me a year ago. I didn’t lose any sleep over it, but just the same, I think the collective mindset is a little skewed.

    And yes, maybe kids will be kids and they have to learn how to handle responsibility, but college is a great place to fail and pick up the pieces. Lets say a talented academic prospect on a partial scholarship runs out of money before spring semester. If no other source of funding is available, at worst case, they may have to drop out of school for a semester and get a job. That won’t make the paper, but I’m sure it happens everyday. Extend the same argument to a college football player and it will be on every network. If you think that is extreme….I refer you to the whole UConn basketball player going to bed hungry ordeal…..I won’t say he wasn’t hungry (he sure wasn’t starving), but if he had a buddy in the same situation that didn’t play sports, you sure wouldn’t know it.

    I know this is going to rub some of you the wrong way and I’m not just trying to stir the pot…..I think it is a worthwhile debate. I know sometimes I need to be grounded a little….hope you take it as such…..

    j

  7. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    ……Honestly, a cheap game-day experience can be done. I’ve never paid a cent to park in Auburn. (But put your walking shoes on!) I’ve brown-bagged onto campus homemade hoagies that cost pennies. Add in a bag of Golden Flake chips and some impromptu sour cream and ranch dip, and that’s a feast, to me!

    …..The Tiger Express on Samford and Gay sells bottled water for a buck. Just wear long enough socks to stick that bottle there, going in. They’ve got lots of water fountains in Jordan Hare, for free refills.

    ……It depends upon the game, of course. But tickets can be had for most games, without selling a car. Folks just about couldn’t GIVE tickets away in late 2012!

  8. KoolBell KoolBell says:

    The biggest change in the new rule isn’t just the food availability to scholarship athletes. The University has never been allowed to include Walk-Ons as a part of the food stipend. WTF!!!

    Now, thank goodness they are a part of the “athlete” family in the eyes of the NCAA.