Blood money, pt. 2

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by Aubrey Bruce
For New Pittsburgh Courier

Last week I attempted to impart some insight regarding certain NCAA coaches having little or no regard to honoring contracts or commitments to the universities that employ them and the student-athletes that perform for them.

Parents are tickled pink when their child is awarded a scholarship to attend an institution of higher learning because of their athletic prowess. I did a little legwork for you guys and dolls but I need you to figure the rest out on your own. I am confident that you will. I will give you just a few examples of tuition costs and coaches salaries to serve as indicators of how perverted and unbalanced the economics have become in college athletics.

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According to americasbestonline.net and colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com, the cost for an out of state resident to attend the University Southern California annually is $39,124. For your young adult to roam the halls at the University of Florida, look forward to shelling out over $23,700. If the Crimson Tide of Alabama is where you charge is headed, look at around $30,000, and if your kid has eyes on being a Buckeye, it will cost you $22,000 or more.

Before ex-USC coach Pete Carroll jumped the Trojan warship, he reportedly raked in close to $4.4 million every 365 days. Florida’s Urban Meyer has his palms greased to the tune of $4 million annually. Nick Saban at Alabama collects $3.9 million clams per year and Jim Tressel of Ohio State cashes in on $3.5 million yearly.

The cost for USC to educate your child and reward them with an athletic scholarship for four years is approximately $160,000. Compare that paltry sum to the amount of “rubles” Carroll made. I need your help now because the math is starting to get a little fuzzy for me. Now let me see. If USC played a 12-game schedule, not including bowl appearances, then Carroll stood to make over $366,000 per game.

However, the powers-that-be would have you believe they are being philanthropic and benevolent by “granting” student-athletes a place to reside for four years while sharpening their athletic skills. If an athlete attends class five days a week for eight months, he or she is in class approximately 155 days a year. Now, multiply that amount by four and the sum equals 620 class days if the student completes a four- year term. Divide $160,000 by 620. That adds up to approximately $258 a day that is spent on the average student-athlete playing football at USC. Also, let’s not forget walk-ons who are paying their own way in hope of receiving a scholarship some day. Now that is a travesty. The walk-on is for all intents and purposes, “paying to play.”

There is cheating and skullduggery on all levels, here’s why. Most schools know which athletes are going to go for the dough or the ones that are going home. In a 2009 USA Today article by Marlen Garcia titled, “One-and-done players leave behind mess for colleges,” the author says, “For every raucous cheer Derrick Rose elicited from fans of the University of Memphis men’s basketball team in his one season in 2007-08, he now draws a different cry.”

Garcia points out that Rose, a rising star for the Chicago Bulls and the rookie of the year, is the second one-year player who left a scandal at his school—in this case allegations of academic fraud—on his way to the NBA since the league began requiring in 2006 that Americans be at least 19 and a year out of high school to enter the draft.”

Last week I pointed out how asinine some of these eligibility requirements were. Some of these “rules” are just insidious deterrents for the economic prosperity of a percentage of athletes that do not fit the traditional definition of “scholar” because the majority of them are there for their physical gifts, not their intellect. In the case of Rose, he survived the media firing squad and got away just before they tightened the noose. Former Ohio State running back Maurice Claret was not as fortunate. He was socially, economically and mentally castrated by Ohio State, the NCAA and professional football because he ratted on the university in regards to their unscrupulous recruiting and athlete maintenance.

When Claret “snitched,” he was socially and economically drawn and quartered. This is the same Ohio State that according the Garcia, “was hit with an academic setback that led to a reduction of scholarships after one-and-done players, Greg Oden in 2007 and Kosta Koufos last year, [2008] departed for the NBA and failed to complete third-quarter course work.”

There is a mess in college sports today but it was certainly not created by the athletes. It’s time for the pseudo-dream weaver, otherwise known as the NCAA, to be abolished. The organization is at best a purveyor of flesh for professional athletics and at worst, a modern day athletic slave-trader.

(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: abruce@newpittsburghcourier.com, 412-583-6741)

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