Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Unions For College Athletes?

The brainiacs on the Northwestern football team have cried foul and asked to be unionized.  The issue, of course, is $$.  In my humble opinion, they should be thankful for the money they receive.   The NCAA restricts scholarships to cover only tuition, fees, books, plus room and board - players do not receive reimbursement for transportation, entertainment and school supplies.  Based on the figures from NWU's website the costs for a year of attendance are:

Tuition: $45,120
Fees (health $200, ASG $162, Athletic $45) $407
Room and Board $13,862
Books and Supplies $1878
Cost for Attendance $61,267

As a teacher of over 25 years, they have my annual salary beat!   They will come out of the university debt-free and with a diploma (that is, if they really are student/athletes). 

They don't seem to get the idea of what non-athletes (let's call them NA's for short) go through to get their degree.   An overwhelming number of NA's graduate owing huge sums in student loans.  Many work part time jobs to meet the gap financial aid doesn't cover.   These athletes need a cold, hard dose of reality.  They need to see what NA's go through for their degree.   If  an NA's quits before earning the coveted piece of paper, it's money they threw down the drain.  If a athlete quits, they have been living on house money, nothing lost.

Do the universities make money off their football teams?  Damn skippy they do!   How do you think they pay for facilities, staff, and equipment?   Most football programs fund other sports programs at their schools that do not bring in enough revenue to be self-sustaining.  These non-revenue producing programs depend on this money.   It is sad to see that the footballers can't see that they are helping out others, must be awful to be so egocentric. 

Warren Zola, a sports law professor at Boston College, has proposed that the schools pay, in addition to what is already paid, $5,000 “cost-of-attendance stipend” plus catastrophic injury insurance and medical coverage  The $5 grand would cover the transportation, entertainment, and supplies not included in their scholarship.  Wait, entertainment, they are in college, shouldn't studies be at the forefront (OK, that was a ha-ha)?  I seemed to remember plenty of things to do on campus that cost nothing or next-to nothing. 

I agree with the catastrophic injury insurance, the schools owe it to kids who are seriously injured while participating in athletics.
OK, Prof, how about we add these clauses to the proposed "contract"?

* If a player leaves their respective university to play professional sports before using up all of their eligibility  they must pay back 100% of the cost of their attendance at that university plus 5% of their annual salary at the professional level.
* If a player uses up all of their eligibility, but does not graduate, they must pay 5% of their annual salary at the professional level to their respective university.
* If a player uses up all of their eligibility and graduates, they must pay 2.5% of their annual salary at the professional level to their respective university.

You will note that the only ones on the hook are the ones who go professional.   The others will be out beating the pavement looking for real work, let the pampered pro's foot the bill.

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