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.
3 comments on “NCAA Student-Athlete Commits to Alabama”
I had never thought much about this issue before seeing –of all things– a South Park episode “Crack Baby Athletic Association”. From the wiki:
It is ridiculous that the universities can profit so much from the players.
The idea of the “NFL jackpot” is itself a myth. According to Sports Illusrtated, ~80% of NFL players are broke within 2 years of retirment. And I doubt that includes practice squad players, who are basically anonymous fodder. Once you include the odds of making it to the NFL, you might as well as buy these high school players lotto tickets. At least lotto tickets don’t cause nagging, lifelong injuries.
If people are uncomfortable with the realities of the NFL, then they would cringe at the realities of paying college players. You would likely see big paydays for a handful of high-profile players. What would Donny or Donquis Benchwarmer get? Maybe two grand a month? Is there any reason to think any of these players would save this money? Probaly not.
The best advice someone could give these kids is to forget about the NFL. Instead pick up a trade from a community college and retire with a higher net worth. But considering their fathers are likely absentee (or worse, man-children who stick around to project juvenile sports fantasies onto their sons) I wouldn’t hold my breath.
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