The College Football Rant
College football has become, over the past few years, the second most popular spectator sport after, you guessed it, the NFL. With the increase in popularity, money has been pouring into the various networks, conferences, and individual school programs. But there is a dark side to this popularity.
The students, whether they are players or not, are getting screwed. Student athletes don’t get paid. Yes, they get scholarships. But, from my understanding, those scholarships might not go far enough. Especially when it comes to discretionary spending. And seriously, could a student athlete really be able to juggle classes, practice, games, and holding down a job (even if it is part time)? Hell no. And the players don’t even own their own image, that is held by the schools.
Furthermore, there is the ever present danger that the player’s education is being neglected in favor of games. A recent article in The New York Times pointed out that the new schedules imposed by the networks play havoc with classes. A small number of student players will migrate to the professional level. But for the vast majority of players, the education they receive is infinitely more important than playing a game, no matter how much they love it.
I hope I’m wrong. I hope no university athletics program sacrifices the education of the players for the sake of the money being raked in. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the sacrifice is all too common. And if the schools don’t truly care about the education of their student athletes, then that is near criminal, in my book.
A few years back, Mack Brown’s signing a contract extension caused a huge amount of controversy for UT. At the time, I felt a sense of indignation that some coach, no matter how good, is making so much money when that money could be better used to improve the university as a whole.
I get it, though. UT’s athletics program makes money. A lot of money. And UT itself has an impressive endowment. So UT itself can afford to make Mack Brown one of the highest paid coaches at the collegiate level. But what about those schools who don’t have UT’s money? Can they afford to sacrifice?
And don’t get me started on Baylor’s replacement for Floyd Casey Stadium. Does the university need a new stadium? Probably not. Could the money be better spent elsewhere? Without question. Will the new stadium play a role in the revitalization of Waco? Yes, so I really can’t complain too much. And as I don’t really follow Baylor news, I really can’t say where the money should go. Then again, it is the most expensive university in Texas. . .
Let me be clear, I’m all about the education. If college sports demands a sacrifice to be made at the expense of education, then I say that sacrifice comes at too high a price. Especially for the students.
Where does the money go? I don’t know. I’m not a reporter. I’m ranting, One would hope the money goes to support the whole university. But I wouldn’t hold my breath.