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Marcus Lattimore's Injury Highlights Tragic Injustice Suffered by College Stars

COLUMBIA, SC - OCTOBER 01:  Marcus Lattimore #21 of the South Carolina Gamecocks against the Auburn Tigers during their game at Williams-Brice Stadium on October 1, 2011 in Columbia, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Richard LangfordCorrespondent IOctober 16, 2011

The injury to Marcus Lattimore is the exact reason that college football makes me sick. College players need to be paid, and star players need to be paid well.

Marcus Lattimore lay on the turf in pain clutching his knee, and boatloads of cash began speeding away like they were being chased by Miami vice. Lattimore was widely regarded as the best NFL running back prospect in all of college football. 

Hopefully, the injury is minor and Lattimore makes a quick and speedy recovery. And those piles of cash start floating back to him. But the principle of the injustice remains.

Star players like Lattimore literally make millions for their University. They sell tickets and jerseys. They bring wins and big paydays in college bowl games. And they do not get paid. They get used.

The NCAA hides behind the notion that these guys are amateurs and their college education is ample payment. This is wildly insufficient to a player like Lattimore.

Football is a violent game. There is a tiny window for of prime earning years for these guys. They need to be allowed to capitalize on that any way they can. That starts with letting them sign endorsement deals.

If some outside entity wants to pay a person to represent their product, it is wrong to keep people from that money.

I believe the universities should be playing these players, but at the very least they should provide insurance. A policy that would guarantee a player the estimated loss on the value of a rookie contract due to an injury suffered in college.

Obviously, this opens up a whole new set of problems for college athletics and recruiting.

So what? Deal with them. It is the right thing to do for the kids involved.

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