College Conspiracy: Why NCAA Football Players Should Shut Up About Money

Bleacher ReportSenior Analyst IJune 23, 2011

Terrelle Pryor
Terrelle PryorMatthew Stockman/Getty Images

The recent events with quarterback Terrelle Pryor and Ohio State University have evoked a series of topics that I would like to address.

Those being: college football, college tuition and whether college is still a necessity in this day and age and whether students and colleges should adapt to the changing landscape.

I should also preface this by saying that I love to give complex meaning to clichéd sayings.  Why?  Because, ultimately, everything is a cliché. The only difference is what it means to you, and what meaning that you attach to it.

Such as knowing, "When to say when."

Some people have asked whether college football players should earn more money from their schools so that the player will be less likely to take banned gifts.

Even the unblemished Tim Tebow has argued that college football players should make enough money for a scooter or to eat at a restaurant.

Here's the problem.

First of all, there would be no guarantee that college players would spend cash on sensible things. 

Secondly, if the college makes an alternative decision to, say, provide gift cards to players for restaurants or wherever it is that you would buy a scooter, then it would only open the door to more and more demands.

(Side note: You would think that college football players would be athletic enough to handle the rigors of walking around a college campus rather than require a scooter).

But don't get me wrong. 

My headline is abrasive, but only because I think people need to be shocked on this issue.

The reality is, only 22 Football Bowl Subdivision schools made money between 2009 and 2010.  There are over 4,000 colleges or universities in the United States alone.

I can't feel sympathetic for students getting a free ride through school on a scholarship.

If an athlete spends four years at an university where the annual cost of all related expenses is an average of over 25,000 per year, then it doesn't take Kurt Gödel to figure out that, players on full scholarships are being paid the equivalent of, in some cases, a full-time job with less than part-time work.

Also consider that, a football player on a scholarship will leave their institution without debt from student loans.  Some students will leave school with debts that are equivalent to a mortgage but without the house. 

It doesn't take Albert Einstein to figure out that someone who graduates debt-free will have the financial capability to take chances in business or buy a more expensive house and invest in equity, rather than take the first job that comes along, just to pay towards a lifetime of debt. 

In other words, that athlete is in better position to make more money in the long-run, even without playing professional sports.

(More on that later.)

Moreover, we all know the truth that they dare not speak of about college athletes, and that of course, is for lack of a fair word, the pressure on instructors to prevent players from failing. 

Add the fact that college athletes are the big men on campus who get all the social perks, and I must ask: What are they complaining about?

Oh, right.

They got caught with their hand in the cookie jar and we're supposed to bend over like sheep and pay to fix the temptations of future players.

I said "we," for the simple reason that, if colleges started paying players, it would surely result in higher tuition rates that would ultimately be covered by tax-payers via student loans.

All so that a bunch of spoiled athletes *might not* fubar their sports program by taking banned gifts.

Paper Tigers

We've been told that college graduates make more money in their lifetime than people without college degrees. 

Here's the deception. 

As the National Inflation Association points out, people with GEDs are included as "high school graduates," yet a person with a GED likely spent a significant period of time making much less money before attaining the GED, and thus, are skewing the average. 

I decided to look for a report on lifetime earnings of college graduates through Google.  I found one issued by the US Census Bureau in July of 2002 entitled, "The Big Payoff: Educational Attainment and Synthetic Estimates of Work-Life Earnings."

My observations are as follows. 

The reports on lifetime earnings are based on the, "average annual" earnings, and not the net profits of the person. 

Meaning that, on paper you're earning a larger amount, but then consider the cost of debt from loans, but also consider the costs necessary to maintain a job with an impressive degree. 

Would your degree require that you live in an area where the median home price is over $500,000? Employers in an area with a lower cost of living, probably, will not hire someone with a Ph.D., because you would expect too much money.

Would your job require conspicuous consumption in order to keep up an image with colleagues (i.e. buying a new BMW every three years)?  Think about it.  Would you drive to work at a law firm in a used car and still command or even expect respect?

The report also does not consider how the student financed their education.  Did the student have scholarships, grants, or gifts/support from family; or did the student rely on loans?  What were the costs of living for the student? 

I would want to know the answers, because as I mentioned, it would affect the lifetime net-earnings, rather than annual income.

Most importantly, the report does not consider how the degree was attained.  For instance, did the student earn the degree in the traditional manner through credits, or was the degree honorary?

Turn On, Tune In, and Drop Out (?)

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has seven doctorate degrees and all of which are all honorary.  Gates of course, dropped out of Harvard in 1974 after he spent too much time on computers (thank you, Wikipedia). 

I only bothered to include, "Microsoft co-founder" because I have always had the mindset that, "All input is evil."  Any user (or reader) is not to be trusted to know what I intended (sometimes I don't care and just call it humor or art). 

Nevertheless, I will assume that you have carefully read the written words in a single article and proceed to use irony or sound as if I know what you're thinking at a given point.

Here's a story that I believed when I was 15. 

I stipulate that, "I believed it" (and still do) simply because it is based on hearsay.  While I was playing the, "Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time," my friend told me this over the phone.  His mom's friend used to work in tech-support back in the 1970s.  It's impossible to create suspense for this, but as the story went, a daily-caller for tech support was none other than Bill Gates.

Perhaps it was only a falsehood that led to a truth, but it dawned on me that you can learn valuable information almost anywhere so long as you're looking, asking questions (even stupid questions), and actively searching for information rather than just, you know, playing video games.

If you do, you just might find a mother-load of information that someone gave away for free or let slip through the cracks.

The Internet presented access to an, "amazon," of free information and different perspectives.

Well, okay, maybe Gates is the exception or Harvard drop outs in general, but even so, consider this:  If a drop-out from Harvard can go on to be the richest man in the world and earn seven honorary doctorates, I would think that an average high school graduate could make a reasonable living without an advanced degree through course credits, so long as they work hard and put their mind to it.

Just ask Rush Limbaugh.  Okay, don't ask Rush Limbaugh.  Ask Brian Williams instead. 

Or Steve Jobs...

But there are the dirty words ... "work hard."  Did I send a chill down your spine or make you convulse?  College students seem to think that a college degree is a, "Get out of Hard Work Free" card.

Our parents' generation... you know, the one that college instructors will suggest or outright claim was overrated, actually had the capability to graduate from college debt-less, regardless of scholarships, grants, gifts or loans. 

As the National Inflation Association points out, back then you could simply work a full-time job in the summer or a part-time job all year.

We have been told to want something new, something better than the previous generation.

I would contend that the Internet age is just that. The reason it's ironic is because, we got something new and more advanced.  It just turns out that those very professors aren't included.

Computer geeks like Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Sergey Brin, Larry Page and a host of others have collectively made most 4-year degrees (not all) obsolete. 

In my opinion, there's really no reason to seek a four-year degree, unless your major emphasizes mathematics (such as engineering) or you plan to practice medicine, or work in research and development. 

Even then, you can attain quite a few degrees just as easily via online courses.

(Side note: Yeah, I would even throw lawyers under the proverbial bus.  I included, "proverbial" because otherwise, a lawyer could read this and decide to construe my statement as a threat).

Unless, of course, you can finish without debt from student loans.

Otherwise, don't bother or just suck it up at a city college.  Besides, many good students will simply Google it anyway.  And that's not to reduce Google.  If anything, I say that to indicate the value of Google as a resource.

Paul is Dead / Idiot Wind

The only reason left to attend college is the, "experience."  Here's where I will surely annoy and greatly anger many.  If you're attending college for the "experience," you've joined a cult. 

The word "cult" pejoratively refers to a group whose beliefs or practices are considered abnormal or bizarre. The word originally denoted a system of ritual practices. The narrower, derogatory sense of the word is a product of the 20th century, especially since the 1980s, and is considered subjective.

It is also a result of the anti-cult movement which uses the word in reference to groups seen as authoritarian, exploitative and that are believed to use dangerous rituals or mind control (Wikipedia).

Think about it. 

You want the "experience," because it gives you a sense of belonging, a sense of innocence, or simply a sense of being at home.  You feel transformed by ideas that are new to you.  You seek fulfillment.  You understand that the lack of a degree will exclude you from the group.  You feel compelled to conform because of misleading information and even outright lies. 

You attend a college for the chance to participate in abnormal or bizarre practices such as Spring Break, Burning Man, post-punk revival "music," fraternities, sororities, tearing down goal-posts, or dangerous rituals like chugging beer bombs, drug-use, pornographic videos, sex trains, or the obligatory flash-mob that shows up every time there's a meeting of the world's economic powers.

I dig ya. 

You do all of that, "ironically."  It's ironically awesome to be an adult who indulges in immaturity.

To add insult to injury, you will either a) spend your life savings for that education, b) be in debt for the rest of your life, or c) the only way out is death or to simply jeopardize your life by enlisting in the military in order to cover the cost. 

Ipso facto, you've joined a cult.  Congratulations, that sure is ironic.

(Side note: If you're interested in enlisting in the military, do so for the right reasons, not because you're in debt from college).

If you really wanna join an expensive cult, try the Church of Scientology.  At least there, you might meet celebrities (if any Scientologists are reading this, I'm only teasing).

The underlying purpose of this new religious movement that has infested most, if not all, colleges is the desire to progress towards a new and better society by, well, killing God because the iniquities and values of the previous generation were rooted in the hypocrisies and delusions of religion.

Be honest.  That is what you're trying to do.

The twist is that, the Children of the Corn, excuse me, the Flower Children of the '60s believed that they were "enslaved" or repressed by the weight of reality and that they could be set free with sex, drugs, and rock and roll by tuning in to a different reality and subsequently creating that reality.  If you don't believe me, read Tomorrow Never Knows by U-Mass professor (and Ivy League graduate) Nick Bromell.

Today, college students have the mindset that they will be set free by accumulating massive debt in order to attain a degree that will, in effect, make them an indentured servant for life.  All because the previous generation believed that we are enslaved to an oppressive society.

Now, we have Ivy League graduates with massive debt and no ethics or even an attempt at morality, who, in turn go to Wall Street and fubar the economy, because well, they too have a whole lotta debts to pay, appearances to maintain, and places to see and people to be (you read that right).


To return to the premise of this article, I must reiterate that college athletes on scholarships really do need to Shut the F*** Up about money every time someone is caught taking banned gifts.

At least in the past, we could all blame an ethereal concept when things went wrong.  These days, we don't blame anyone because that would question our collective awesomeness. 

And yet, we all pay the price and refuse to know when to say when.


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