Bleach: College athletes not cash worthy

first_imgNot that I am telling you anything you didn’t already know, but the NCAA is a joke and today’s punch line is money.With millions of dollars changing hands in college athletics every season through bowl games, tournaments and those shady boosters pulling the marionette strings, the supposedly amateur sports are already about as honorable as a Nick Saban promise.Whether it is Reggie Bush, Derrick Rose, the Fab Five, O.J. Mayo, John Calipari (guilty by association), Kelvin Sampson or the SEC, each year we have a fresh batch of scandals where money dirtier than Pigpen is slid under the table.And those examples were just off the top of my head.Despite a culture that harvests deceit better than Voldemort, however, I still think the system currently set up is about as good as it is going to get. Though the phrase “student-athlete” is as accurate as the foul pole in baseball — where a ball that hits the foul pole is actually fair — the semblance of amateur athletics is still something I prefer to blowing up the system altogether.It is starting to appear that I am in a shrinking minority.A week ago, The New York Times ran a front-page article extolling the hardships star college quarterbacks such as Tim Tebow, Sam Bradford and Colt McCoy face every day. To save you 1,000 words of your time, let me sum up the article in one succinct quote.“[Michael] Oriard, a former Notre Dame football captain, said that college athletes, who are unpaid, experience the problems of celebrities like Tom Brady and Paris Hilton without the monetary payoff. ‘It’s the downside of celebrity without the upside of it,’ [Oriad] said.”And now the biggest newspaper in the U.S. is officially beating the drum to pay college athletes.On a more local level, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Michael Hunt has been campaigning for college athletes to receive a stipend for a long time. In his most recent column about the topic, Hunt wrote, “I know. I’ve beaten this gong before about the need to give the kids who produce millions for their schools a little something above and beyond a scholarship. Beyond the big-time recruit who gets paid under the table, I mean. Something totally above board, a set amount of pocket money each month so the kids who don’t have two dimes to rub together — and can’t work in-season by NCAA rules — can get a pizza or pay to go out on a date now and then.”Not to tell The New York Times and the most read columnist in Wisconsin they are wrong but… yeah, there is no other way to say it — you are wrong.There are three big reasons college athletes are doing just fine with the current setup, and giving amateur athletes a stipend will simply drive us deeper into corruption.First and foremost, let’s not exaggerate the hardships these students face. They get free tuition and essentially free room and board. According to an article WKOW published this April, full-scholarship athletes are given a monthly average of $1,009 per month for housing and food. I’m sure they have plenty of dimes (and bills) to rub together for a pizza or two.Furthermore, there are certain intangible benefits athletes — especially football and basketball players — receive that can’t be counted in a monetary way.Namely, women and booze.Now I’m not accusing all athletes of cashing in on these considerations, but you don’t need a fake ID to get into the Kollege Klub if you suit up in cardinal and white on the weekend and the term “jersey chaser” isn’t thrown around on Langdon Street for nothing. Scoff if you want, but playing football at a Division I college can pay in more than just cheeseburgers and a grungy apartment.Remember, they get all of this to play a game. Let me say it one more time, they are playing a game.Secondly, to address Hunt’s charge of handing out stipends, bringing more money into the system is surely going to bring more corruption.Think about it, when you were trick-or-treating and there was a bowl that said “please take one,” did you ever take just one? No, you reached in and stuffed a handful into your bag, unless it was full of Mounds in which case you cursed the inept homeowner who tortured you so.The same applies to these stipends. It is hard enough to keep dirty money out of college kids’ hands as it is — putting in stipends will just make cheating easier. If you think an SEC booster can’t figure out how to manipulate that system, I have a bridge over Mendota to sell you. Bringing in stipends may make life easier for college athletes, but it will also lead to a lot of Cuba Gooding Jr. copycats yelling “Show me the money!” at college coaches in their living rooms.Finally though, there is a very simple reason college stars don’t need more money than they already receive.They knew what they were getting into when they signed the scholarship.No one is forcing them to play football.If a stipend were such a big deal then the players should protest, form a union, refuse to suit up for a game — basically, do something to change the circumstances.Or how about this: If Tim Tebow really wants a stipend for his play, he should refuse to talk to the media for the season. Just don’t do any interviews as a sign of protest (which is perfectly in his rights as an amateur athlete), and I bet a whole lot of attention will be given to the topic.But no, the only ones going to bat for them are people not actually affected by the situation.Pro athletics are tainted enough under the influence of money — effing Yankees — let’s not bring the same problems to 18-22 year-olds.I’m sure Tebow has problems in his life. Getting rewarded for his efforts on the football field is probably not one of them.Michael is a senior majoring in journalism. Think college athletes need more money? Think Michael was an idiot for taking on The New York Times? He can be reached at [email protected]last_img