show me the money

In Sports, Work on November 20, 2010 at 9:45 am

If you are unfamiliar with Cam Newton’s story, you can catch up here.  In short, Cam is a college football player who is being investigated on grounds he or his father asked schools for money in order to come play there.  This is against the rules.

For some reason, people are surprised when these kids ask for or take money from schools or agents or anyone who claims to have their best interests at heart.  College athletes are not allowed to have jobs while they are on scholarship.  They have their tuition, room and board, and books paid, and that’s about it.  Even if they were allowed to work, it would be difficult to do so- in addition to being a full-time student, a student-athlete has games, practices, meetings, and mandatory tutoring sessions.  They are lucky to have time to show up in class, much less to the job.

There has been a lot of debate on whether student-athletes should receive stipends.  Considering how many of these students come from a poor families, it’s almost a necessity to give them some sort of spending money.

As it stands, student-athletes don’t get stipends, they can’t have jobs, and they aren’t supposed to take the money dangled in front of them by agents or schools.  Any one of them is a blown knee away from losing their scholarship, their job prospects, and any chance of livelihood, but they aren’t supposed to plan for their future.

How many of these kids can afford to stay in school if they can’t play?  How close will they let them get to prosperity and keep them dangled on the string?  Schools make millions off of these students.  They are selling jerseys with 18-year-0lds’ names on them.  They have celebrities with all the fame and none of the money.

The president of the NCAA is new this year.  Because the NCAA is a non-profit organization, they don’t have to disclose the salary of their employees.  But, based on past tax records, he’s likely going to make close to $2 million.  The average football coach of a major college program is $1.3 million.  The kids who are leading with their cranium into oncoming traffic get free books and a meal plan.

I don’t know if stipends are the answer.  But as long as you’re putting kids out there without a backup plan, don’t be surprised if they have their hands in the pot.

Cam, I don’t care if you asked for money.  I just hope you got it.

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