Ohio State University quarterback J.T. Barrett gave us the latest example of why college athletes should receive some form of financial compensation. Barrett was cited for a DUI Saturday in Columbus, Ohio. Barrett was suspended for one game by Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer, and he will also lose some scholarship money for summer school.
I have no problem with suspending him for a game. But why would the school take money out of Barrett’s pocket for summer school, especially considering how much money he helps generate for OSU.
Let’s be clear, Barrett made a serious mistake for driving under the influence. Thankfully, nothing serious happened that would have made this situation far worse.
But what Barrett doesn’t deserve is the scrutiny over his life. What he doesn’t deserve is to have his mistake make national headlines, scroll across cable news and sports networks, and internet sites. Barrett does not deserve to forfeit his right to the youthful errors that often define college kids.
“I told him that’s the toughest thing you’ll have to deal with,” said OSU coach Urban Meyer. “Now there are questions (about) who you are. He’s never had to deal with that. How do you deal with 20 years of doing right and 30 seconds of doing wrong, or three minutes, or whatever it was? That’s real life.”
Barrett is 20-years-old. He did something that was stupid, and potentially deadly. But he is hardly the first dumb kid. Can you imagine if all your youthful mistakes were headline news?I know, some of you are saying he signed up for that when he decided to go to Ohio State.
OK, well, if you are going to say Barrett is in the big leagues, compensate him as such.
We scrutinized college athletes like Barrett for their performance on the field as if they are professionals. We cover their personal lives, as if they are professionals. But when talk comes around about compensating college athletes like Barrett, all the people who are making money off college athletics at the universities and the NCAA, cry foul.
Everyone makes money in big time college athletics: the coaches, schools, television networks, and the communities that hosts games. The only people they don’t are the stars of the show, like Barrett.
Yet, they are scrutinized like millionaire professionals? Well, compensate them.
Yes, I know these athletes earn a scholarship, and it can be used as a tool that leads to a successful life. However, there is so much money available in big time college athletics today, that the scholarship is no longer an equitable deal.
That’s especially when the mistakes of 20-year-old kids like J.T. Barrett is national news and will impact his every action for years to come.