Posts Tagged ‘Terrelle Pryor’

For the Love of the Pay

By: Aaron Watson


If Terrelle Pryor gets his way, he would have me feeling sorry for him. Sorry that he was forced to take money and benefits that destroyed his college eligibility. Sorry that Ohio State University made millions off of his image while giving him nothing in return. Sorry that he is being punished for something that was beyond his control.

But you know what, I’m just not buying what he, Reggie Bush, and countless other diva athletes are trying to sell. I’m sick of former players and commentators giving me sob stories about how college athletes can’t take their girl out to Chili’s on a Friday night, and that’s why they broke NCAA rules and took thousands of dollars from boosters and cheats.

First, there is simply no excuse for blatantly breaking the rules and lying about it. Are there arguments that exist that raise the question as to whether or not athletes should be compensated for their services to universities? Certainly. But the fact is that student athletes already receive more than their fair share of compensation for their services.

Athletes receive benefits that other “peasant” students can only dream of having! Preferred housing, free tutoring, special treatment from teachers, and above all, a signed diploma without having a cent of debt to their name. That is, if they don’t already have millions in their pocket from a professional contract given to them before they graduate due to their performance at the school’s facilities and under the school’s coaching.

But what about the gobs of cash schools make off of these amateur athletes? Well there are several arguments against that line of thought.

First, athletes receive thousands of dollars in benefits attending institutions that they are rarely even qualified for academically. From facilities to academics to coaching to the national platform athletes receive to showcase their abilities, the benefits given may not be in cash, but they certainly provide more opportunities to athletes than their academic capacity often warrants. And the money universities make from their respective athletic programs allows them to maintain the national spotlight that allows athletes to be recognized by professional scouts.

Second, institutions are allowed to make a profit off of the students who attend. In fact, the goal of universities is to churn out successful alumni who will in turn give back to the school and whose name can be used to assist in recruiting. Since when is it a crime for a school to seek a return on its investment? Giving athletes a platform for fame and fortune is an opportunity they can’t find anywhere else! Sure they can try playing football in Canada, or in an arena, or for the UFL. But no organization has developed millionaires more effectively than the athletic programs of universities like Miami, USC, Oklahoma and Ohio State. So be humble about your opportunity to earn a degree while auditioning for one of the greatest jobs on earth.

Athletes believe their popularity entitles them to special benefits. And it does and should. The scholarship and benefits they receive upon arriving on campus more than qualifies as “special benefits”. The problem exists when they feel entitled to more and start manipulating or just flat out breaking the rules to serve that coddled spirit. If you want money to take your woman to Chili’s on a Friday night, get a summer job. Or a spring job. Save and spend your money wisely, like most other students in that school have to.

As ESPN’s Doug Gotleib put it, “No one, athlete or non-athlete, has a lot of money in college. And rules do allow for athletes to earn some spending money. Those who are totally financially destitute can get Pell Grants, as well. The payoff is in the end, after school, much like the future doctors, scientists and businessmen and women with whom you attend school. College is about sacrificing, learning and growing as a person. The reward for all students is the memories and experiences gained in the short term and benefiting from them in the long run.”

Sorry, TP. I’m just not going to feel sorry for you. And despite what your agent is spewing, no NFL team feels sorry enough for you to take you anywhere near the first round of the supplemental draft. Unfortunately, the destruction you are leaving behind at Ohio State will continue to impact the university long after you flame out of the NFL.  But in case you do make millions at some point in the future, should OSU consider sending you a donation letter? I’m going to go ahead and presume you could care less.

Aaron Watson saw his NFL career cut short when his pee wee coaches informed him he wasn’t very good. So he turned his attention to writing, studying journalism in college while blogging for several sporting blogs since 2005. He and his wife currently live in Richmond, VA, one of the worst sports towns in America despite the short lived hype during the Final Four. When he is not at the local sports bar pursuading the owners to put the Buccaneer or Gator game on the big screen, Aaron serves as the Director of Staff Development for TeenPact Leadership Schools, a non-profit training teens to impact their nation through government, business and ultimate frisbee. He has also stayed in Tim Tebow’s house.