Let it happen.
It sounds contrite, but it’s what many — thousands, actually — college athletes who are struggling more than the usual college student with financial aid are thinking.
“I need more money. I’m just like the guy sitting next to me trying to get his geology degree.”
All right. Not all college athletes are concerned with money.
Most are, and it’s not surprising that the 18 to 22 year olds have money as a priority. Your average college student does, and then picks up a crappy summer job mowing lawns, bagging Big Macs, waiting tables or — worse yet — delivering pizzas to old people in Tampa Palms.
I’ve seen it a thousand times.
These athletes, with practices longer than a mini-series on TNT, struggle because they aren’t paid, and not only can they not receive money, if they are good enough to go pro in whatever sport they play, they can barely watch the sport on TV without being scrutinized or punished.
Because of the amateurism of the sport? For tradition?
There will be arguments about how college players get perks. Cars. Free clothes. Those are allegations that people feel are more a reality than a joke at a bar on Fletcher.
What about scholarships, though?
That’s how they buy that expensive geology book to drool on after a practice that ended later than the evening news. Tuition gets covered. Living expenses, too.
But there is an easy solution — an option really — that can be proposed not only to attract the better athletes to college instead of the NBA Draft or the minor leagues, but keep the athletes in check once they get to the university, because I know the rest of you are tired of seeing athletes and their mug shots plastered somewhere.
The proposal: Let them get jobs.
It’s that simple. They have free time. What better way for them to stay out of trouble and make money than picking up a job at the local Starbucks, which is probably on campus?
Better yet, give them a job on campus, or even in the Athletic Department answering phones or licking envelopes.
Anything to earn money.
And let them be in commercials. There’s easy money to be made there, and you’d better believe it’s not some overpriced university president who’s drawing in new students. It’s the athletics — those players winning awards and breaking records.
They’re the real moneymakers — and they’re not making any money.