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Friday, July 23, 2010

Pasing The Buck

It's always amazing to me how people with little or no "real" experience comment or write on certain subjects. Which is why I think some of the comments being written or said about college players taking money or going to parties is completely ridiculous. Of the people saying anything about it, how many have been in the same position as these kids ? Do they know what it's like to be in there position ? Sure, they may have an idea, but do they really know ? Do they know anything about these kids backgrounds or family situations ? Financial situation ? I think not.

I'm from Monroe, Louisiana. Monroe and West Monroe combined has a population of 13,250. Where I lived was still pretty segregated. Not even 5-10 minutes or so away was a house or town hall where Klan rallies were held. I know for a fact there were drug transactions going on at the house next door to me and on the other side of the street about 10 houses down. My parents worked very hard to take care of me. They sacrificed a lot to make sure I was staying out of trouble. In my neighborhood it wasn't, "when I grow up I wanna be a pro sports player, or doctor", or anything like that. It was be the Scarface of the neighborhood, and then the city. Thats not me saying it for someone, these are people I hung around everyday, they were my friends. Fortunately for me, my mom and dad decided to move to Dallas because they could see what was going on. And it saved me, it gave me opportunity, to be something.

I read an article that was in the sporting news that said, the kids are the real culprits. They are cheaters not victims. It also made reference to the comment Nick Saban made that "using runners to entice kids to take money, gifts and other benefits while still in school is ridiculous and it's entrapment for young people at a difficult time in their life." This person's response to that was, they are college level athletes, "the big men on campus", are brought into a multi-million environment where they are treated like kings, so if being a college football player is the difficult time in their lives someone on campus isn't doing their job right. There are parts of this I agree with and other parts not so much.

Yes these kids, just as I was once, are brought into situations where they have the opportunity to create a life for themselves. Whether it be sports or something else, a free ride is a free ride, and college educations don't come free. Agreed. Now being the "big man on campus", that doesn't happen to everyone. Sure you're known just because of the media and the schools itself putting it out there, but unless you are a stud star player, you're just another kid on scholarship. And as mentioned in the article, these kids being plucked from terrible domestic situations, how do you think they are going to respond to fame, money, and catering of all sorts. Do these people think all of a sudden the kids understand how to manage these issues when arriving on campus ? All of a sudden, straight laced "student athletes." Most kids that come from these situations see only one thing, a way out and a way to take care of their families. Period. A small portion may realize that life is more than sports, however, that comes to light when they go from high school star to a back up.

Student athletes bring in infinite amounts of money for universities. I know the response is, "we provide a place for you to grow and we present opportunity." I agree. Problem with that, is these athletes see the huge amounts of money steadily being piped into these schools. Many times over than the $40,000 used to pay for a scholarships. And for the record, between 3% and 6% of high school seniors who play on their schools major sports teams can expect to make it on an NCAA roster as freshmen. 85 scholarships a year are allotted for football, lets just multiply that times $40,000 and you get $3,400,000. University of Texas, on their own, cleared a $65 million profit in 2008-2009. Thats 20% up from the previous year. The athletes see this, I definitely saw it. Just like me and other athletes that played in college, we ask ourselves do we deserve more.

I can speak from these kids position. Seeing the chance to make it to the NFL. And thats all it is, is a chance. 1% of college football players make it to the NFL. A chance to get some extra trips or cash just in case doesn't sound so bad considering the odds. If you're projected to be a high round draft pick, the money is just fronted. College players are governed by a different set of rules. I agree with that too. But to think that any player in college wouldn't at least be enticed at the opportunity, by a runner or agent flashing some cash and them taking it is crazy. Colleges do the same thing in some form to get recruits. Even if a kid does take the money, why does the NCAA care ? They surely aren't missing out if a kid takes a $300 dollar airline ticket, or even if a kid did take $100 grand. The NCAA just signed a 14 year $11 billion dollar deal. Word ?

I do agree that some agents and runners go to great lengths to get athletes signed. The kids are not out there chasing them down, the agents and runners are chasing them. So to just flat out punish a kid, and the school for being around is ridiculous. If this was a new issue at hand, I'd understand. This is not a new problem, and it will continue. Question is how big is it going to get and who is gonna regulate what. Student athletes are responsible for abiding by NCAA rules. However instead of solely blaming the athlete, the NCAA and NFL need to step in and do something about it. When it comes down to it, these organizations are the ones who let them in anyway. So what are they responsible for ? Where is their accountability ? They are definitely passing the buck in more ways than one on this one.

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