“Oh, and I say it again, you’ve been had. You’ve been took. You’ve been hoodwinked. Bamboozled. Led astray. Run amok!”—Malcolm X
I get the feeling that if Malcolm X was around today, and someone explained the NCAA system of athletics today, that pays the coaches, television networks, commissioners, university presidents, but not the athletes who play the game, that he would revive his famous ‘hoodwinked’ speech.
Every college football player in the country should take note of the fact that:
The Alabama coaching staff earned a reported $1.5 million (so far) in bonuses as a reward for the Crimson Tide winning the FBS National Championship.
And, what did the Alabama football players, who busted their asses for a year, played with pain, risked concussions and serious injuries to their bodies, get as a bonus for winning the National Championship?
A tee-shirt and a cap.
That, is a damn shame. This is wrong is so many ways. Actually, it is wrong in 1.5 million ways.
I am sure the defenders of this system, and the traditionalist, will say these men get a free scholarship for displaying their talents.
That simply isn’t so. Ask any scholarship player, at any level of college athletics, and they will tell you how free their education is.
And they will tell you about the days, months, and years of sweat equity they have put in preparing in-season, and off-season.
And we aren’t even speaking of the illegal practices and ‘voluntary’ workouts you better not miss. I assure you, it won’t be long before the returning members of the Clemson and Alabama teams are back working out for the 2016 season.
After all, kickoff is only nine months away.
Really, I wonder if a coach has ever thought about how unfair the system is? Alabama’s Saban already makes $7 million in salary, not counting his other perks. And when the calculating is done, he could earn another $700,000 in bonuses. He even gets a bonus for his players graduating.
I would hope that one of these days a coach is going to look at how ridiculous this all is.
Saban has the power to at least speak to it, and make people debate it, as the game’s premier coach. But I am not sure if he even thinks about how come his staff gets $1.5 million in bonus money, and his players get a cap and tee-shirt.
I am telling you, college athletes, especially in the money making sports of football and basketball, you guys are being used.
Don’t let these people keep ripping you off. You are the stars of the show. Yes, Saban is a hell of a coach, as is basketball’s Tom Izzo.
But, people don’t pay to see them coach, they pay to see you play.
And, while there was a time when your scholarship was a fair trade for your athletic abilities, that time has long since passed.
You all need to stand for change, the way the Missouri football team stood up for what they believed in.
Consider that everyone is getting paid but you. I know this more than about money. The friendships, experiences and lifelong bonds you develop from being part of a team, are priceless.
Hey, I understand being a National Champion is a lifelong honor. Being a National Champion, and earning thousands in bonus money is even better.
Consider, the NCAA, the conference you represent, the university you attend, and the coaches that coach you, got paid in full. Hell, the Alabama strength and conditioning coach got a $92,000 bonus.
And the best you can get, aside from your tutition, which undboutedly is important, is a cap and a tee shirt.
Investigate the Northwestern University movement from a couple years ago that challenged the school to be considered employees. Look into some of the coalitions such at the College Athletes Players Association (CAPA), take courage from the men at Missouri.
I’m sure a lot of athletes say their time in school is too short to make a change on how things are done. Just remember, that is precisely how the ‘powers that be’ are hoping you thinking.