Dear Crabby, Should College Football Players Get Paid to Play?

Dear Crabby,

Earlier this year some college football players wanted to form a union. I think most of them are getting a great deal with a free education. Why on earth should they get paid to play?


Tim Tightwad

Dear Tim Tightwad,

I hear what you’re saying — and you’re right! Aside from the free education aspect, DearCrabbycollege football players are getting a pretty sweet deal. They have a great ‘job’ with all sorts of perks: dorm rooms that look like five-star hotel suites, state-of-the-art locker rooms, free gear, and the love of thousands of adoring fans. After working my job for 40 years, all I have is a small pension, a house with a leaky roof, the same pair of pants I’ve been wearing for the last five years – and Mrs. Crabby doesn’t even clap when I do the chores around the house! So, I can understand why you and others are pretty upset that privileged college athletes would dare ask to be paid. I was thinking the same thing… until I did some digging around.

Turns out, the football players want to form a union for other reasons like:

  1. Funding research to help minimize the risk of future traumatic injuries. (‘Cuz an education ain’t gonna do much good if their brain has been turned to mush from rattling around inside their helmets.)
  2. Money to cover the total cost of tuition, books, etc. Again, these athletes are getting a nice chunk of their education for free, but what isn’t covered is where it becomes easy to accept money from boosters or sponsors and that creates a whole other mess of problems.
  3. Increase graduation rates. Wait. What? That’s right. Apparently these young men actually want to get an education. So why not invest some of the fancy TV revenue into educational programs for athletes? Ya know, to improve graduation rates.

When you put it those terms, I guess what they’re asking for isn’t so outrageous after all. But if the idea of a union is still too far-fetched, then how about paying them an ‘allowance’ during their four years? If they graduate, they get to keep the money they earned. If they leave early to seek fame and fortune in the NFL, the money goes into a scholarship fund to help the players that actually want to be there. No matter the outcome, it’s still a better deal then I got when I graduated college and it sure beats the heck out of the gold-plated watch I got when I retired.

Sincerely, Dear Crabby

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