Two nights ago, a top high school football recruit announced live on ESPN–during the "Under Armour All American Game"–that he will go to Alabama for college. The video of him being interviewed is pretty amazing. His mother, sitting right next to him, follows up her son's announcement by declaring immediately afterwards (still on national television) that she disapproves, and that LSU is still #1.
Probably because I'm watching Friday Night Lights (I'm in Season 3 – it's awesome), the thing I thought of when watching the interview was, "What happens if this big recruit gets injured and there's no NFL jackpot? Or what happens if he goes pro and then gets injured or has a short career? Then what?"
The Atlantic had a cover piece the other month titled The Shame of College Sports. It was a well-written argument for why college athletes–who generate billions of dollars with of revenue for companies and their universities–should themselves be paid. I think they should, given the circumstances. They are hardly "student-athletes." Stripping away the veneer of the NCAA–and for that matter, the false promises of universities everywhere–is an important project. And for some reason, the commericalized "recruiting announcement" broadcast on ESPN the other night I think helped in that effort.