Join 3,558 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


"Do you hear that, Marcus? Do you hear it?" I yell. "You know what that is? That's Hollywood, baby. Hollywood's calling. You gonna answer the call?"
October 12, 2010 5:07 PM   Subscribe

"I will never forget the first time I paid a player." Former sports agent Josh Luchs confesses to paying 30 college football players early in his career.
posted by availablelight (51 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Pretty fun to see who turned it down and who took it. As someone who cannot stand the way the NCAA takes advantage of players (in lock step with the NFL denying entry until an arbitrary age, denying player of potential millions) I cannot wait for all of this to blow up big style. This won't be it, but maybe in the next decade.
posted by dig_duggler at 5:14 PM on October 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


The NCAA is ridiculous. How can the concert tickets thing with Jonathan Ogden be a violation? It's just a dude going to a concert with another dude.
posted by King Bee at 5:21 PM on October 12, 2010


"I will never forget the first time I laid a player." Former It Girl Clara Bow confesses to laying 30 college football players early in her career.

Not really.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:21 PM on October 12, 2010


In addition to money, Luchs gave players meals, trips and concert tickets

Imagine owning the Yankees and paying Derek Jeter with meals, trips, and concert tickets (and even that being against the rules.)

NCAA players need to form a union, strike for one season, and then have a real "grown-up" round of collective bargaining.
posted by three blind mice at 5:35 PM on October 12, 2010 [7 favorites]


pay them to... what? like... bribe them?
posted by brenton at 5:36 PM on October 12, 2010


pay them to... what? like... bribe them?

Yeah. It's laid out pretty precisely in the first few paragraphs of Luchs' article, where he details his dealings with Kanavis McGhee.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 5:41 PM on October 12, 2010


I'm shocked, shocked! that this kind of thing happens in the NCAA.
posted by RakDaddy at 5:45 PM on October 12, 2010


NCAA players need to form a union, strike for one season, and then have a real "grown-up" round of collective bargaining.

Yeah, the whole 'unpaid minor league masquerading as an extracurricular activity' thing needs to end. The NBA and NFL need to just buy out Div I and end the charade.
posted by jedicus at 5:53 PM on October 12, 2010 [11 favorites]


Yeah. It's laid out pretty precisely in the first few paragraphs of Luchs' article, where he details his dealings with Kanavis McGhee.

Yeah, I'd read that... The whole article seems to assume some context or fact that I'm unfamiliar with, because none of it made sense to me. This is why I never read about sports, which is also why I'm always super confused when I do.
posted by brenton at 6:00 PM on October 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


This situation with never change. Everyone with power has a vested interest in the status quo:

- The NFL (and to an extent, the NBA) get a free, high quality minor league.

- Division 1 schools get a cash cow and unpaid labor.

- Current professionals get reduced competition for roster positions

- Fans get to see professional quality athletes wearing their school colors.

The only losers are the "amateur" athletes. And this can be glossed over with a patronizing "at least this way they'll go to college".
posted by auto-correct at 6:09 PM on October 12, 2010 [12 favorites]


Yeah, the whole 'unpaid minor league masquerading as an extracurricular activity' thing needs to end.

Definitely. U.S. sports should take a page from European leagues, where promising young athletes are put in developmental leagues. We could deal fairly with players (who get compensated) and do away with the 'student-athlete' charade at major universities.

Of course, the resistance from the NCAA and major universities, which make massive amounts of money off of the athletes' unpaid labor, would be hard to fight off. That, and the alumni of these schools, the ones giving students gifts, the ones demanding winning programs. Gah. College was a long time ago. Let it go, folks.

(Of course, I had the joy of watching MSU gut-stomp Michigan the other day, and one of my favorite parts of the game was the crowd footage of Michigan fans looking like they'd been forced to watch their puppy eaten by a bear.)
posted by Ghidorah at 6:11 PM on October 12, 2010 [7 favorites]


I would like a big insurance fund for college players who get injured and can't go professional.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 6:12 PM on October 12, 2010 [1 favorite]



I would like a big insurance fund for college players who get injured and can't go professional.


My idea is that each student athlete should be given a scholarship covering at least all schooling (and maybe room and board) until they graduate from college in a program of their choosing.
posted by drezdn at 6:19 PM on October 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


You know, I have trouble granting these kids much sympathy. Yeah, they have a talent that will earn them millions in time and it may seem unfair that the NCAA limits their college earnings, but you know what those kids are getting for free? A free ride at some very expensive Universities. While future doctors and scientists take on crippling debt, football athletes get a free ride and all sorts of special attention and resources. Worse yet, is the number of athletes that don't take their education seriously in the least (I know a variety of people who tutor athletes at big schools and whoa, the stories they tell).

Ultimately combining a money making sport with Universities poisons everything. Agents are tempted to pay under the table. Players are tempted to cheat or take agents money while being encouraged to look to future millions and not their educations. Schools ignore the shenanigans because the football program make tons and deep pocketed alums love it. And the NFL and NCAA clearly have entrenched interests in keeping these profitable players playing without paying them outright for their labour.


Separating Universities from big money sports would improve both.
posted by boubelium at 6:21 PM on October 12, 2010 [5 favorites]


...you know what those kids are getting for free? A free ride at some very expensive Universities.

Yeah, with 40+ hours of training/playing per week, including flights around the country half the weeks, after which they graduate with a C- average in "Communications" or "Kinesiology" and no actual knowledge or experience that could get them a job.

And there are about 350 Div-I schools with a corresponding number of football teams; there are 32 NFL teams and so just mathematically they can't all make it in the pros. Similar issue for basketball.
posted by rkent at 6:33 PM on October 12, 2010 [6 favorites]


Yeah, with 40+ hours of training/playing per week, including flights around the country half the weeks, after which they graduate with a C- average in "Communications" or "Kinesiology

I know it isn't an easy situation, but neither is it for all the students who work 40 hours a week at some menial customer service bullshit for the same privilege of attending University. Stadiums don't cheer for them though.
posted by boubelium at 6:44 PM on October 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Part of the problem, though, is this has been seen in the recent Reggie Bush scandal, is that a lot of these players are being paid basically to support the family back home because they can't support them themselves for four years.

Though I might be biased. I grew up in an SMU family during the Mustang's heyday, right before the death penalty that punished them individually for what every ranked program was doing at the time (and still is.) And do we imagine for a second that Reggie Bush was the only recent Heisman winner to have gotten kickbacks? I'd be more surprised to see the list of those who haven't.

As for separating football from universities, there's something to that, sure. But then you look at the powerhouse programs and you have to wonder what is going to replace them in their market? Nebraska? Arkansas? Boise State? Alabama? People go to these games, and support the teams like crazy, because they love sports, which is only natural. But these are basically the only teams in their region that can put on a show. What do you replace it with, that the area can uphold?
posted by Navelgazer at 7:15 PM on October 12, 2010


pay them to... what? like... bribe them?

More like an investment, I guess. He's paying these kids in college in hopes that they'll hire him to represent them when they turn pro. And as you see with Ryan Leaf, the kid is really under no obligation do to so. In fact, it's implied at some point in the piece that some players are getting money and gifts from multiple agents vying to represent them.

NFL agents' commissions are capped at 3%, but even so if you hit the jackpot with a top draft pick you're looking at a nice chunk of change. Leaf, the biggest name in this story, signed a $31 million rookie deal, including a guaranteed $11 million signing bonus. That's $330,000 for the agent, right off the bat. Leaf, of course, was a huge bust—he lasted only three season with the Chargers and never saw much of that $31 million.

The entire system is corrupt and nauseating, on all sides. But I don't foresee it changing much. It's been like this for a century, and Americans love their fall football Saturdays and their March Madness.

Of course, one school did have the balls to abandon big-time college athletics.
posted by stargell at 7:20 PM on October 12, 2010


My idea is that each student athlete should be given a scholarship covering at least all schooling (and maybe room and board) until they graduate from college in a program of their choosing.

Student-athletes who suffer career-ending injuries get medical scholarships, which allow them to complete their educations. They also typically get access to the team's medical staff for rehab, etc.
posted by snickerdoodle at 7:24 PM on October 12, 2010


Wait. This isn't allowed? I had a friend in HS who got all sorts of stuff to entice him to attend (and play for) Harvard. He definitely got a few very expensive meals and tickets to go do stuff in Boston on the school's dime.

Hell. I even had a few friends who ended up going to Div 3 schools, where the coaches "sent positive words of encouragement" to the admissions office, and they got their acceptances about a month before the rest of the students. (Oh, and they were more often than not completely unqualified to attend these schools)

I'll go out on a limb and say that this happens everywhere.
posted by schmod at 7:30 PM on October 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


boubelium: You know, I have trouble granting these kids much sympathy. Yeah, they have a talent that will earn them millions in time and it may seem unfair that the NCAA limits their college earnings

If by "they" you mean the tiny, tiny fraction of all NCAA Div-I athletes who land a professional contract, then sure.
posted by mhum at 7:39 PM on October 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


"I will never forget the first time I paid a player."

Wow. That turned out to be entirely different than what I had thought originally. I thought it was another story from Karen F. Owen(s?). God Bless her and Duke University, btw.

Keshawn Johnson, though, is kinda an awesome guy for not taking money from the slimy agent.
posted by hal_c_on at 8:11 PM on October 12, 2010


schmod, I attended a D-III school, and I can tell you from first hand experience I knew students that could not have gotten into the school on an academic basis. Furthermore, at D-III, there are no athletic scholarships. None. Strangley, a non-small percentage of athletes at my school were on full academic grants (no minimum grade needed, unlike a scholarship), covering tuition and board (above $20k at the time). I had some entry level courses with some of them, a couple of whom couldn't read. In one (incredibly basic) course, the teacher padded the class by having students read out examples. The first day, he called on the bright young track star of the school. It took the kid three minutes to read a simple sentence, after which the teacher never called on him again.

Strong college sports programs, however, are a lot better at getting alumni to write checks. It's not going away any time soon.
posted by Ghidorah at 8:13 PM on October 12, 2010


"NCAA players need to form a union, strike for one season, and then have a real "grown-up" round of collective bargaining."
posted by three blind mice

"Yeah, the whole 'unpaid minor league masquerading as an extracurricular activity' thing needs to end. The NBA and NFL need to just buy out Div I and end the charade."
posted by jedicus

As far as I can tell, the football players at my big DIV 1 University have no trouble eating, finding a place to sleep with the most generous scholarship on campus. We as a society expect our great athletes to provide a positive role model while providing resources to academic institutions I fail to see why this is a bad thing. As funding for higher education dries up in so many states and students see things like doubled tuition and required classes without required professors, my heart, it bleeds for the athletes.
posted by Blasdelb at 8:28 PM on October 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


that comma should be an "or"... My associateship for an edit window...
posted by Blasdelb at 8:30 PM on October 12, 2010


Strong college sports programs, however, are a lot better at getting alumni to write checks. It's not going away any time soon.

More and more often though, those checks are for the sole benefit of the athletic programs.

The school in my town (though not my school) has received multi-millions of dollars that are earmarked for football, basketball and track.
Meanwhile, tuition is going up again.

And this is one of the few programs that can claim to be entirely self-supporting (if you use a very creative definition of support).
posted by madajb at 8:44 PM on October 12, 2010


madajb, that's true, but those sports programs still need a lot of alumni cash. If the alumni cash isn't there, then who pays for the AD's exhorbinant salary? How many D-I coaches make more than $1 million? If the checks stop coming in (because of a lousy season or two), the coach still gets paid.

It's all okay, though, right? I mean, who really needs a humanities program?

/hamburger served by a humanities major. Would you like fries with that?
posted by Ghidorah at 8:49 PM on October 12, 2010


As far as I can tell, the football players at my big DIV 1 University have no trouble eating, finding a place to sleep with the most generous scholarship on campus. We as a society expect our great athletes to provide a positive role model while providing resources to academic institutions I fail to see why this is a bad thing.

How is "Work for free while others profit immensely" a positive message for society?
posted by delmoi at 9:06 PM on October 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


The NCAA is probably the last great bastion of 19th-century amateurism, which was a heavily class-laden thing from the outset. Amateur sports have always been suffused with "shamateurism" -- W.G. Grace received payments both above and under the table as a "gentleman" cricketer -- and the NCAA is no exception.

The college sports that feed professional leagues are fundamentally dirty; however paradoxically, they also have some of the rawest competition and most intense support base and rivalries in American sport. Elsewhere, I've made the comparison to professional road cycling, and the "love the sinner, hate the sin" attitude towards doping.

U.S. sports should take a page from European leagues, where promising young athletes are put in developmental leagues.

In association football, player development is built around the idea that you should be ready to play professionally in your late teens: it's only now that the US is jettisoning the idea that college should be part of the development process and instead exposing players to top-level play at the same time their European peers are signing contracts with clubs. I can understand the desire to keep teenagers out of the NFL (less so the NBA) given the physical toll, but it still comes at a tainted price.

The bullshit amateurism of college sports also perpetuates the Cult of Coach and its dodgy narrative of how boys are turned into men by their benevolent dictator. When the players are African-American and from poor backgrounds, the narrative is that they're somehow civilised by Coach and college. When they're white and from relatively comfortable backgrounds, they're scholar-athletes who are honed by Coach. That can go away right now, as far as I'm concerned.
posted by holgate at 9:28 PM on October 12, 2010 [7 favorites]


- The NFL (and to an extent, the NBA) get a free, high quality minor league.

Is this really true anymore? I'm only a casual observer, but my sense is that the gap between college athletes and pro athletes is getting wider. In the NBA, it'll be interesting to see if more US players opt for some playing time in pro European leagues instead of US college ball à la Brandon Jennings.
posted by mullacc at 11:08 PM on October 12, 2010


A university setting is the perfect place for a future pro player to learn the ins and outs of sneaking banned substances past detection.
posted by telstar at 12:45 AM on October 13, 2010


boubelium's previous related statement: "You know, I have trouble granting these kids much sympathy. [B]ut you know what those kids are getting for free? A free ride at some very expensive Universities."

I totally understand that line of thought, and used to agree with it, that's just not really the way things work.

When student athletes (a term I am using very loosely but officially that's what they are so it works for now) get their school and living expenses taken care of that's all they get. A dorm room and meal plan or the money so they can live off campus.

That in itself causes a lot of complaints. I'm making up numbers for the sake of easy math, but I think it'll work. Let's say I get $5,000 a semester for room and board. This is based on my alma mater's room and board cost. A fair amount of athletes will cram people into a house because then end up paying a lot less a month when the rent is shared. So that's maybe $200 a month over the course of a regular academic year (Aug-May) coming out to $2,000. Food is hard to figure out since different houses will have different arrangements, but even taking the family of 4 number of $200 a month that I've heard somewhere just makes it so they're paying $4,000 for the academic year. Utilities and stuff go in there too, but there's no way that's going to eat the rest of the $10,000 they get for the year.

These kids have regular class schedule when they bother to go and do the work, and I know that's a huge assumption in some cases, and the team schedule on top of that. They don't really have time for a job on top of all that anyway. Then throw in the fact that in all actuality they can't have a job because almost any job they get will at least get some NCAA official looking into it to see if the athlete got the job because of their status as an athlete.

I do know one person who had a job in college while being an athlete. He worked at the university's newspaper. Nobody else had one that i know of, although I will admit that it wasn't usually something that came up in conversations.

So let's say that a student athlete lives on campus, thus not getting the money we talked about previously. Doesn't have a job because he can't for various reasons. So there's no extra money sitting around.

Can't go out with friends to do anything that costs money. He doesn't have it to spend and paying for him risks an NCAA violation.

Can't buy himself stuff because he doesn't have the money. Room and board is great, but if clothes get messed up that's not covered by the school. Let's only hope that room and board coverage also includes laundry in places where you have to pay for that.

Can't take his girlfriend out because he doesn't have the money. And as stupid as it seems, her paying for everything risks an NCAA violation.

So where's a college athlete supposed to get spending money from? About the only two places left are family and selling stuff.

Family doesn't always have money. Even if they do, let's consider the NCAA investigation as portrayed in The Blind Side. If your family is considered boosters then people are going to watch what you get. Stupid? You bet, I should be able to get my kid a Christmas present or send some money without fear of NCAA violations. But when things get serious enough kids get suspended by the NCAA just in case. And on top of that, a lot of schools will voluntarily hold a kid out of games just in case because they don't want to have to forfeit games later.

AJ Green proved that selling stuff doesn't work. Anyone buying it can be considered a booster. Plus, what is a student athlete supposed to sell? All of that extra stuff that he couldn't buy with the money he doesn't have?

I'm not sure where I saw this, but one of the best ideas I've seen lately is to give them a small stipend. A couple hundred a month even would let them be able to act like real people.
posted by theichibun at 5:43 AM on October 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Admissions preference is absolutely permissible according to the NCAA. One of my best friends was a big recruited athlete in both Football and Lacrosse. I remember working on our Stanford Apps together - his got sent to a different address. The admissions office at one competitive school (actually where I ended up going) told him "1050 and 3.0 and don't even worry about it" - this at a school with median SAT's in the 1300's and an acceptance rate less than 30%. Other friends of mine went to DIII schools for Lacrosse - I remember two buddies of mine - one had good not great grades and mediocre SATs, the other had mediocre grades but good SATs. They were given "Academic Grants" for high grades and high SAT's respectively - even though both their grades and SATs were below median for the accepted cohort at their school. And their families could have easily written the check for tuition. The flip side is that admissions help and a little grant money is really all that most non-revenue sports kids can get - even the biggest star in college lacrosse is getting maybe a half or a quarter scholarship - and that's just for tuition. I imagine its the same in soccer and maybe track.

But that sort of stuff is small beer compared to what goes on in the D1-A Football and D1 basketball. But the biggest problem is all these kids have is that they all show up as Freshman having been told for years that going to "the league" is a foregone conclusion - so they never take school seriously, don't care about their education, and piss away the benefits of a free education. This gets exacerbated by the coaching staffs disinterested in making sure their players get a real education - in their mind those kids are there to play their sport. Once you view it in this light you can totally understand why things like this agent scandal happens. I mean the hypocrisy in an SEC coach calling agents "pimps and whores" is truly stunning.

BTW if you really want to weep for our system of developing athletes I suggest you read Play Their Hearts Out the AAU sleeziness makes this stuff look like a bed of roses
posted by JPD at 5:52 AM on October 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


mullacc- the whole race to the Euroleague things had end up being more smoke then sizzle - partly because most hyped American recruits end up being undercoached due to the awful AAU system. Jennings got over there and all of a sudden he was just a crazy athletic point guard w/no skills playing against guys who are 1/3 the athlete he is but who had been getting quality professional coaching since they were 13 or 14. He basically got no PT once he got there - now granted he massively outperformed once he got to the league but if there is one thing you can consistently bet on is that given the choice between being a star but not improving as a player, vs being a bench player but making big steps most of these vaunted phenoms take the easy way out.
posted by JPD at 5:58 AM on October 13, 2010


BTW - the title reminds me to rec another book about this cesspool - maybe THE book.
"The Courting of Marcus Dupree"
posted by JPD at 6:03 AM on October 13, 2010


I need to know, for all time, for all that is holy, that Barry Sanders never took a dime.

Please.
posted by grubi at 6:23 AM on October 13, 2010


OSU in the 80's? the SWC was basically destroyed by corruption. The only plausible explanation for him not taking any money is that it wasn't offered to him because he was Thurman Thomas' backup until his junior year. But I don't know why that diminishes him as a person or player - I wouldn't judge a man for taking money was he was a broke 19 y.o. Its not like auctioning yourself off.
posted by JPD at 6:33 AM on October 13, 2010


eh I'm an idiot - they were in the Big 8 weren't they - well still yes he probably saw some cash. Actually didn't Hart Lee Dykes get in a bunch of trouble? smoke and fire as they say.
posted by JPD at 6:34 AM on October 13, 2010


Saint Sanders never did anything wrong. Rest your weary, nervous head. All is right, and Wayne Fontes eternal damnation is assured.

Oh, imagine what Sanders could have done with an offensive line. With a decent, steady quarterback? Pardon me whilst I rend garments.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:36 AM on October 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


The system is so exploitative that I don't begrudge any player for taking any amount of money ever (as long as they're not throwing games or shaving points.) Why shouldn't they take money? They should be paid for their labor. Who is the NCAA to say that it's wrong?

The whole system is a sham. Colleges take athletes who would never be admitted if they weren't athletes and ferry them through a sham of an education -- and for what? So we can pretend that they're college students and not minor league players. First of all, why can't they be both? You're allowed to go to college and also have an internship in a company, right? You're allowed to go to college and also have a full-time job. You're even allowed to go to college and be paid to teach there! Why can't you go to college and also be a paid college athlete?

It's a travesty and a joke and it's unfair. There are poor kids working their asses off whose value is at least in the six-figures (as determined by what people would pay them) and they can't so much as buy a nice jacket, let alone send some money home to their families.

And why? What is so great about "amateur status" that makes this sham worthwhile? The pretentious rich fans get to pretend that they're watching a "college team" instead of professionals? They're the only people who even remotely benefit from this exploitation. Fuck them.
posted by callmejay at 6:41 AM on October 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


well still yes he probably saw some cash

DON'T SAY THAT.

Saint Sanders never did anything wrong.

It's not that he's a saint; he's just always been such a class act, and for a long time now, he's been one of my few heroes. I don't like the idea that he would have been paid to play, but if I was to deny that it happened in the face of actual evidence, that would be insane. I just hope that he was at least able to do what Keyshawn Johnson did and say No to the bribery.

Oh, imagine what Sanders could have done with an offensive line. With a decent, steady quarterback? Pardon me whilst I rend garments.

I have been able to make a decisive case for Barry Sanders as the best (or second-best) running back in NFL history. Certainly superior to Emmitt Smith.

For all the TDs Emmitt put up, he only averaged one more TD per season than Barry. In addition, Emmitt's average TD length was 8 yards -- meaning, on average, the Cowboys would be on the 8 yd line when he'd take the ball in for the score. Barry's average TD length was 20 yards. He had more to overcome (in addition to no fullback, tight end, a QB with any other offensive options, or an O-line).
posted by grubi at 7:10 AM on October 13, 2010


The whole system is a sham.

So fix it.

What is so great about "amateur status" that makes this sham worthwhile?

We enjoy our myths. We like the idea of thinking that these men and women are playing primarily for the purest of reasons: because they love the game. Whether you think that is valid, that's up to you, but if you really want to know why... that's it. It feels less mercenary if they're amateurs.
posted by grubi at 7:12 AM on October 13, 2010


You can be a class act and still make decisions that other would view as bad when you were 19. Him taking money (if he did) diminishes absolutely nothing he has accomplished. Taking money to buy food or put gas in your car shouldn't be a crime.
posted by JPD at 7:35 AM on October 13, 2010


Granted. But it would still be nice.
posted by grubi at 8:03 AM on October 13, 2010


What is so great about "amateur status" that makes this sham worthwhile?

For that, you really need to appreciate the role of amateurism in the creation and codification of modern sport, with its ties to the Victorian upper classes, the ethos of the officer corps, and a mythical reimagining of classical athletic competition. The original disputes that divided rugby codes or separated gentlemen cricketers from players weren't over whether it was appropriate to pay players, but whether it was acceptable to compensate them for time off work. Of course, once it became clear that working-class competitors threatened the dominance of the upper-class originators of those sports, a strict enforcement of amateurism became a way to keep the ruffians in their place, both financially and socially.

Those same tensions can be seen in the NCAA, and if you look, for instance, at Avery Brundage's tenure as head of the IOC, the behemoth of American college sport embedded an edgier and more extreme commitment to maintaining the pretense of amateurism. After all, what about the children scholar-athletes?

After Brundage, the Olympics slowly dispensed with shamateurism, partly out of a desire to introduce sports like tennis where the pretense was unsustainable; rugby union abandoned the conceit in 1995, with the World Cup portrayed in Invictus being the last played under amateur auspices, even though most competitors were full-timers.

Golf and boxing are notable exceptions in their ability to sustain relatively healthy amateur competition in the shadow of lucrative professionalism, but that's because their respective governing bodies are good at maintaining separation; there isn't the structural bleed-through that's an inevitable consequence of the draft system in the US, and the massive budgets and TV deals available for Div I football and basketball.
posted by holgate at 8:57 AM on October 13, 2010 [5 favorites]


We enjoy our myths. We like the idea of thinking that these men and women are playing primarily for the purest of reasons: because they love the game. Whether you think that is valid, that's up to you, but if you really want to know why... that's it. It feels less mercenary if they're amateurs.

Actually, it evolved out of a need to keep the working class out of sports because somebody who rowed for a living would seriously smoke an upper class dilettante oarsman.
posted by srboisvert at 10:45 AM on October 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


theichibun, what you seem to be saying is that these guys live pretty much just like me (and everyone I knew) in college, the only difference being that someone else covered their primary expenses so they left school without the massive debt we all did.

Yeah, still no sympathy.

(BTW, I don't know how other schools work, but mine (IUP) had all sorts of extras for the football team -- use of cars, nice housing, free scooters, regular catering, etc. It's shocking -- and a little saddening -- what alumni money will buy for those who bring it in.)
posted by coolguymichael at 10:59 AM on October 13, 2010


The difference is that you and me had a chance to go out and get a job to have some extra money. They don't. It's not even really that I say they deserve sympathy, just that things aren't as great as they seem.
posted by theichibun at 11:21 AM on October 13, 2010


always been such a class act, and for a long time now, he's been one of my few heroes. I don't like the idea that he would have been paid to play

Dude. As a long-suffering Lions fan who had a lot of hopes pinned on Barry Sanders at one point, that is a messed up thing to think about your "hero." I won't go so far as to say I hope he broke the rules and told the NCAA where to shove it, but I also think it is odd (to say the least) to affirmatively wish him a pauper's life amid a sea of corruption, just for your own psychic comfort. Particularly when you ostensibly respect and even revere him.
posted by rkent at 12:07 PM on October 13, 2010


The NCAA is ridiculous. How can the concert tickets thing with Jonathan Ogden be a violation? It's just a dude going to a concert with another dude.

Where I work, this would be clearly against the rules. Broadly, you don't accept gifts from someone who has a financial interest in something you have control over. Yes, this means you don't accept many gifts.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 1:50 PM on October 13, 2010


I also think it is odd (to say the least) to affirmatively wish him a pauper's life amid a sea of corruption, just for your own psychic comfort.

A pauper's life? For two-to-four years of college life? Jesus Christ, most American 18-22 year olds are poor to some degree.

And what's with the snarkiness about my admiration of the man? Did someone piss in your cornflakes this morning?
posted by grubi at 2:39 PM on October 13, 2010


« Older The Roman de la Rose Digital Library...  |  Russian cosplayer demonstrates... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments