A fair trade: You play, we educate

By John Pierre | May 01, 2014

What's this nonsense about some college football players wanting to unionize?  What I'm hearing is that they want payment for their athletic efforts.

Is it possible that they have lost their awareness of the value of a football scholarship?  From what I understand, a one-year scholarship represents several thousand dollars.

I expect four years of tuition at the University of Washington must come to near $50,000.  I'm not sure of that figure for two reasons: 1. I'm not an investigative reporter and 2.  It seems to change from one year to the next.  I can only write about what I hear from parents who are breathing a sigh of relief when their son is granted a four-year scholarship.

I can only imagine that some of the "ivy league" schools cost much, much more.  What does unionization do for these KIDS?  Bless them with even more money?

Where does this stop?  College baseball next?  Basketball?  How about the mumbly-peg competition in which some are involved?

While some of these young people come out of their college stint with a good education, one gets the impression that others, who are sometimes interviewed on television, if they happen to make it to the NFL, must have majored in finger painting.

One professional basketball player who had graduated from college was asked, "To what do you attribute your brilliant career?"  His response, "My mama raised me to have a good work ethnic."

I can think of many such ignorant comments by pro athletes (pretty much all of them with a college education) when being interviewed on national television.  It pains many of us who weren't able to attend college to hear that waste of a good education.

Methinks someone sold these college football players a bill of goods to start a new union which hasn't, heretofore, existed.

Now I hear that a small group of pro football cheerleaders are suing for minimum wage?  Years ago, I had a secretary who was one of the original Seahawks cheerleaders.  She and 40 or 50 others competed for the privilege of putting on a show for the fans.  They were volunteers and were not recompensed other than being provided a couple of seats for each home game.  They were proud to be accepted as cheerleaders ... and only a few made the grade.  My secretary did, for three years running.

Sad how times have changed.  The world has become a difficult place in which to enjoy the challenges that we once enjoyed.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Nathaniel R Brown | May 01, 2014 16:45

Thank Heaven times have changed!  Indeed, the world has changed, though some might seem not to have changed with them.


I speak as a life-long sports professional when I ask Mr. Pierre why the networks should make billions off the back off NCAA athletes, and heir colleges and universities millions - and the athletes nothing?


A few college athletes will go on to professional sports and earn well; many more will not and will struggle to enter the job market with everyone else, possibly never earning very much.  Why shouldn't they take some money with them for a good start?


Remember that these same college athletes are  banned from sponsorship payments, while their colleges and their select few professional athletes rake in more millions. This is fair, how?


"College baseball next?  Basketball?  How about the mumbly-peg competition in which some are involved?"  Sure - why not?  The first two work just as hard, though I doubt the mumbly-peg team put in quite as much.  The skiers, the runners?  They put in hundreds of hours of hard training (I knew one college cross-country skier who put in 600 hrs of training per year, studied and held down a job in order to attend school).  Why no helping hand?


Why, in fact, not an equitable wage for all serious college athletes.  (Mr. Pierre wanders off onto pro players, but that's not the issue.)


When I was coaching, the CEO of our sport made more than our team's entire budget, while I was making about $20 k, and spending 10% of that on equipment, and the athletes were waiting tables to keep going.  A fair salary for fair work?


Maybe the REAL problem, which Mr. Pierre ignores, is the enormous amount of money poured into sports in the first place.  Personally, I long to see us return to sport for the joy of it, though I recognize that this will not happen.  But while there are billions and billions going into sports, why shouldn't the people it's all about - the athletes - make a fair wage?  Someone once said that the laborer is worth of his hire, but it seems that some prefer to watch it all, cheer "their" team on, and enjoy it all without paying for it.


Yup, times have changed.  A few people are making money by the swimming pool full, while the ones playing the sport aren't.  Maybe the times haven't changed enough.

If you wish to comment, please login.