by now, the ohio state buckeye football situation is familiar to most of us. if not, the skinny is that 5 players (including stud quarterback, terrelle pryor) were suspended for 5 games of the 2011 season as a result of selling merchandise, such as game-worn jerseys and awards. the players apologized and were allowed to play in the sugar bowl this past week, which is of great debate. why not suspend them immediately? money, that's why. this whole thing is about money. my comments are particularly in regard to the money in the pockets of these players, or rather the lack thereof.
i've always been one to prosecute scholarship athletes. they are being paid with a free education, which costs an average of about $20,000/year for the rest of us average folk. not only that, many of these players tend to receive favor in terms of grading to make sure they remain eligible and graduate. why should we have sympathy for them?
then came a brief portion of the press conference with ohio state head coach jim tressel and athletic director gene smith. in the statement, smith made a very interesting point that these student-athletes may want some spending cash for going places, taking a girl on a date, or buying music, the same things we all want spending money for in college. the difference for these students is that they have a tiny amount of time available for a part-time job (think about your full-time class schedule plus a full-time job with occasional travel). on top of that, so many of these students are coming from low-income households where they simply cannot ask mommy for money to go to a movie on the weekends. this leaves players like terrelle pryor with no spending money and no time to make any.
so what do we do, pay these players? i've never been in favor of it, but it seems only natural that these individuals should be allowed a stipend. many phd programs allow their student-researchers a cost of living stipend while they go to school and work for the university, so why not throw a couple hundred dollars out of the scholarship into their pockets? let them take loans out for those few hundred dollars and pay it back later when they're in the nfl or working at the job they've been allowed thanks to their free education. i rarely have sympathy for these students who are receiving a free education, but with the thousands (or millions) of dollars they're bringing in for their university, they should be allowed a little of the cut to try to live a normal life in college like the rest of us.