Thursday, August 18, 2011

I Love Uneducated Crocodile Tears

Poor Kellen Winslow Jr. He really looks like he's struggling to make ends meet in college. Photo Courtesy of Yahoo! Sports.

By Matt Chandik

You could see this one coming a mile away. It happens every time an NCAA athlete tries to make money off of his name by selling memorabilia, taking money from a booster or whatever it is that Nevin Shapiro is offering up. (Actually, seeing as how he's in jail, he's probably offering up things he doesn't want to be offering right now, but I digress.)

Every time this happens, some people inevitably come out and claim that these poor kids are being taken advantage of and that the NCAA is just so unfair. They'll claim that the NCAA is a corrupt and evil institution (well, never mind) that is out to get these kids.

The one and only Ari Gold has my response to this.

Seriously, this response is as pathetic and laughable as it is ridiculous and flawed. First of all, no one's forcing these kids to play college football. Nowhere in the NFL rulebook does it say that its players need to have played college football. Hell, Antonio Gates is an All-Pro tight end and he never played a down of college football, though he's obviously the exception. Still, though, no one is forcing them to go to school. When a player decides to sign a Letter of Intent to an NCAA institution, he agrees to the school's rules, the conference's rules and the NCAA's rules. It's just the way it is. In exchange, the school provides way more than the NCAA's staunchest opponents will ever acknowledge. Room and board is obviously the first thing that comes to mind, but aren't books covered? Isn't tuition covered? Was that huge weight room at Michigan, LSU, Florida or whomever paid for by the student or the school? Does the school charge the athletes to use it? Does the school charge the athletes for the help that the strength and conditioning staff provides? All that working out must make a player hungry. It's a sad thing that athletes don't have access to something like a training table after practice. Oh, wait.

Players have access to state-of-the-art workout facilities, practice field and stadiums, none of which they pay a cent for. I'm sure the bills in the Big House are pretty expensive, but I'm confident that Denard Robinson isn't going to pay a dime toward them. It can't be cheap to make sure that the University of Alabama pays all of the employees that make a Saturday in Bryant-Denny Stdium the experience that it is, but I'm damn sure that Trent Richardson isn't paying the beer guy in Section 128. Mack Brown makes a gazillion dollars a year, but I'd venture to say that Garrett Gilbert isn't footing the tab even if he's getting paid by the turnover. Those professors that are teaching the kids who actually go to class have paychecks with the school's name on it, not the All-American quarterback's name.

These kids aren't anywhere near the “slaves” that some try to categorize them as. For every example of A.J. Green not being allowed to sell his jersey or Shapiro dishing out $100 bills like he's Chris Paul, there are 50 guys who blew out a knee, stuck around for five fruitless on-field years before going on to not even sniffing an NFL contract. Where's the public outcry for how those kids got screwed? Nonexistent, because they didn't get screwed.

Like I alluded to earlier, there is no one holding a gun to these kids' heads forcing them to play college football. If the rules are so unfair, so ridiculous and so hard to follow, don't play college football. Don't get your education paid for. Don't get your cutting-edge workouts, books, some food, surgeries, physical therapy and everything else that is covered by a scholarship paid for. Stop crying your fucking crocodile tears about how unfair life is and skip college. It might be tougher to reach the ultimate goal of playing in the NFL, but that's irrelevant, isn't it? Who wants to be tied down with these barbaric rules?

According to this, the average out-of-state student at the University of Michigan pays just north of $50,000 per year (which, holy fuck, dude). That number includes the tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board and personal and miscellaneous fees. Tack on everything extra that a Michigan football might get and it's not out of the question to pay roughly $70,000 per year PER PLAYER. $70,000 at 85 scholarship players is nearly $6 million. Six. Million. Dollars, or in a measure that might make some Ohio State fans show all eight of their teeth with a broad smile, more than a million dollars for each of Rich Rodriguez's wins at Michigan. This is clearly an institution out to screw players out of a chance to making a lot of money down the road.

I'm not going to pretend like the NCAA is perfect. It's not, and I rip on it every chance I get. However, this whole crock of shit that its athletes need to be paid because they're all poor kids from the ghetto (which, HALOL) who are merely trying to provide for their families (I'm not sure how you provide for your family when you get a free dinner, a hooker to do a key of blow off of and a wad of $100 bills that mysteriously never finds its way back to the player's family, but anyway.) is just that- a crock of shit. It's really sad. No one's forcing college athletes to play. If they feel they can handle the rules, then by all means, go ahead and play. If not and they want to continue bitching, then perhaps we can compare and contrast our list of school loans that we still have to pay back.

Oh, wait.

Matt Chandik can be reached at and on Twitter at @MattChandik. 

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