Kirk Cousins & Privilege

By DJ Byrnes on August 10, 2011 at 1:00p

About a week and a half ago, Nelson Mandela, the Dhali Llama, Martin Luther King Jr., and Liu Xiaobo collectively delivered one of the greatest speeches on world peace in the 21st century. It was critically lauded almost universally, except by Vladimir Putin, because, well, Vladimir Putin is a dick. In the trying times we seemed to be immersed in, it was the cool-cloth-to-the-hot-brow the streets needed.

Just look at what some of our foremost thinkers and philosophers had to say about Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins' speech at Big Ten media weekend:

CHICAGO – Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins received a nearly one-minute standing ovation for his speech at the annual Big Ten luncheon, and during the ovation coach Mark Dantonio can be seen mouthing the word “special” to new Minnesota coach Jerry Kill.
Greg Johnson, The Grand Rapids Press

Throughout his engagement, Cousins also laid down a few wisecracks to keep the crowd feeling light.

"If you want to break your finger, touch my bicep," he told the audience.
           - Michael Ferro, Michigan State Examine

People flooded Cousins and his parents in Holland with phone calls and text messages after the Holland Christian graduate’s moving message on July 29 about the privilege of being a college football player, among other topics.
             - Jon Schultz, The Holland Sentinel

It was an "awe-inspiringspeech in some corners of the internet. It appeared in various Tweets and re-Tweets on my Twitter timeline, usually with something like "WOW WHAT A SPEECH" or "WHAT AN ELOQUENT YOUNG MAN" attached to it. Now, my attention span only operates in about 45 second bursts; (people over 26 just wouldn't understand), so naturally, I hate speeches. The other night, however, I got bored of watching soccer goals on YouTube, so I decided to see what one of the sharpest minds of my generation had to say.



My first thought after reading/watching it was... really? This is what earns rounds of applause in a room of some of the B1G's most influential personalities? A speech that waxes poetic on what an honor it is to play football in the B1G 10? On what a privilege it is to play football in a stadium packed with tens of thousands of people? On what a privilege it is to play against a rival coach who is 85 years old and is one day going to be killed during one of his practices by the 16th collision he never saw coming?

What is so thought provoking and awe-inspiring here?

Few things. First, I think we're all privileged here. I'm a broke college student and it sucks. Am I privileged? Uh, judging by what's going on in Somalia (pictured to the left), I'd say so. If I were to give an entire speech on this concept, would it be hailed as awe-inspiring? I think this all goes without saying.

Secondly, the idea that this is a golden bullet in the "should college athletes should get paid or not" debate is as comical as it is ludicrous.


You could almost hear college presidents and NCAA President Mark Emmert cackling with glee.

I'm sure the NCAA elders are already cooking some half-baked scheme like "cost of attendance" scholarships, which will enable them to quell this debate for the next 25 years. Unfortunately, Cousins, who, all kidding aside, is probably in the 97% percentile of public speakers in the 18-24 demographic, missed a chance to actually change the obtusely framed debate.

The most frustrating thing, for me at least, was that he threw around the word "privilege" 23 times and never once talked about what privilege actually means in the current NCAA system.


To be clear, Kirk Cousins is probably a better human being right now than I ever will be. Hell, I'd wager he's better than most of the degenerates reading this article on their company's computer right now. (Use your personal smart phone to browse the internet, rookie).

But, this current system was built for kids like Kirk Cousins. He grew up in Iowa, a son of two college graduates (back when a Bachelor's degree was worth something), and like all white kids in Iowa (redundant, I know), grew up dreaming of becoming a Hawkeye star. He attended a private Catholic school. Of course after high school, he had but two MAC school offers ... until at the VERY LAST MINUTE... Mark Dantonio descended from the skies and offered him a scholarship to Michigan State. He red-shirted his freshman year, and now he's a fifth year senior leading a scrappy Michigan State squad (which will probably culminate in him losing 42-17 in the Outback bowl to the 5th best team in the SEC). He's also majoring in something called "Kinesiology".

He's basically straight out of the college football utopia some people like to pretend we live in. He's the projection from the fantasy about sports that are spun to us when we're little kids and so masterfully stroked by some writers today. (HELLO MR. WRIGHT THOMPSON, HOW R U TODAY, SIR?) These are the same people that let their kids look up to athletes as role models, and then gets shocked when some of them don't live up to their expectations. (And anybody letting their child grow up looking up to somebody because they can throw a ball or run fast, I have a mere three letters for you: L-O-L).

But Cousins is merely a diamond found in the sewers, which the the NCAA powers-to-be will hoist into the air and then tell us all (from their multi-million dollar retreats) that the system really isn't broken. Meanwhile everybody is still up to their thighs in feces.

What Kirk Cousins ignores is the fact the stadiums would not be packed with tens (and hundreds) of thousands of people if everybody had the talent level of Kirk Cousins. (Doubt me? Who would you rather watch? Cam Newton or Kirk Cousins? Ohio State-Alabama or Northwestern-Louisville?)

It's the kids who don't come from privilege who are set up for failure.

A lot of kids coming into NCAA football programs don't come from two parent homes. Especially two parents who are college graduates. They don't have the structure the seclusion of Iowa can provide. Some of them play their youth football in a Miami youth league where people openly deal drugs and gamble on youth games. Some kids don't come from private schools in Iowa, but are pushed through broken high schools which are more than willing to coddle them and bend their grades. Where was talk of that kind of privilege?

What if Cousins were good enough to garner national attention, so he got exploited by the likes of ESPN, Rivals, and "street agents"? (I'm still waiting on the definition of that term, though). And what if he didn't come from a nicely structured family? What if he had felt responsible for his entire family's welfare since the age of 12 due to his athletic prowess? What if he had some creepy old rich guy posturing as his "mentor"? What if the college he attended had lowered the admission standards to let him in--and thus, by definition, set him up for academic failure at the institution he attends? What if he came from a neighborhood where education isn't even considered as a viable path to success? What if he had been manipulated by people with dollar signs in their eyes for as long as he could remember? What if his dad's church had needed $250,000 of reservations to meet city code, and he could raise that money by simply signing to play a sport at the right school? 

No, there wasn't any mention of that kind of privilege.

              FUTURE OF SOCCER

In Argentina, there's a seven year old soccer prodigy named Leonel Angel Coira. This weekend, Real Madrid, the most successful sports team in sports history, signed him to a professional contract. As Michigan scumbag Ty Duffy elaborates here, it isn't as extreme as it seems, at least to anybody outside of America. "Leo", as the prodigy apparently goes by, will move to Madrid with his family, as his father has been lined up for a job by the club. There, instead of being sucked in by people trying to sink their sinister fangs into his potential net-worth, he will go to school and train with the club's under-9 team. (Yes, professional teams have youth teams over there. I'm looking at you, NFL, and your free minor league system you've carved yourself). There, he will go to school half the day and then receive some world renowned coaching. He will be educated, but there is no mirage of amateurism which is merely used by an organization of old dudes to exploit America's tax code (which is doubly infurating considering the current financial climate).

In America, our football players don't have that option. To make it professionally, because of the structure has been molded, coincidentally by those who benefit the most financially, they have but little choice but to enter the NCAA's realm and submit to their draconian rule book.

I'm still trying to figure out what is morally wrong with taking money that people want to give you. I'm still also trying to figure out what is ethically wrong about trading your signature for a fistful of cash? If my mother was having a hard time paying rent, and I could sell my signature to some clown for $500, I'm not supposed to do that so Mark Emmert's obese ass can get chauffeured around towns he jet-sets to?

If you're without privilege, the cards in America are already stacked against you. Not everybody was built for college, so can we just end that charade right now? We're crippling them as it is, passing them through our joke of an education system, coddling them, bending admissions rules because the coach says he's the difference between 10-3 or a Rose Bowl game, then shackling them by ridiculous, arbitrary rules.

The NCAA doesn't have to pay all the players--but the fact there isn't another option just hurts kids who already have a lot of the system stacked against them in the first place. Couldn't somebody like Terrelle Pryor--who was put on this earth to play some sport, but yeah, he needs to concern himself with geology classes--have benefited from getting professional coaching from an early age? What if instead of having to masquerade as a student for 16 years of his life and being surrounded by sycophants, his throwing motion was tinkered with every day until it was perfect by professional coaches? Would the sky not be the limit for Mr. Pryor then?

What about the privilege of having an NFL quarterback for a father--like Eli and Peyton both had? How good could Cam Newton have been if his dad was Archie Manning?

But no, there was no talk of that. People just fell for the greatest old-yarn-to-gold spindling since Rumpelstiltskin. At this point I don't even know why I get surprised.

It will just continue as it always has. The system isn't broken, but we'll always continued to be so flummoxed by a 22 year old athlete who can give a polished (albeit prepared) speech to a room full of people. Yeah, this system really works.


Comments Show All Comments

Bucksfan's picture

WOW.  I hadn't even heard of the speech, so I was a little in the dark.  But great article!

Menexenus's picture


Real fans stay for Carmen.

Denny's picture

People are quick to fawn over things like Cousins' speech because it's easy. It's a hell of a lot easier to listen to a well-spoken guy who comes from a background that's familiar to many (and still obtusely shoved towards us as 'ideal') than to listen to someone with whom we cannot relate.

The 'we' I refer to here is 'we' Midwestern folk who likely grew up white, at a minumum semi-suburban, and at least high school educated, likely college-educated as well. I'm comfortable saying this because that's exactly what I am.

It's easy to nod along and agree with someone making a speech like Cousins made because doing so speaks to our tendency to approve of humility. It's easy because we don't have to try to do anything but look at someone like Cousins and say 'well, he's just like me and that's awesome.' It's easy because nodding along with the notions that he's put forward quite simply don't require us to think -- all we have to do is picture ourselves as being in Cousins' shoes and it all seems quite nice. It's easy because rather than trying to think outside of our own life experience (again, I'm a 27 year old white guy from Northern Ohio) and understand how the system in place is exploitative of all who benefit from it, especially those from poorer backgrounds, we can just say 'well, Cousins sure is humble, isn't he?'

It's easy, and for many that's the best part. It doesn't require any sort of introspection, just head-nodding.

Really solid piece, DJ. 


The Stanley Jackson 5's picture

CHICAGO-New Michigan coach Brady Hoke received nearly a one-minute standing ovation at the Big Ten Luncheon after successfully finishing four plates of food  in under 10 minutes, and during the ovation coach Mark Dantonio can be seen mouthing the word “special” to new Minnesota coach Jerry Kill.

cronimi's picture

Well done, sir.  Well done.

Sarah's picture

When I read the speech, also in 45-second bursts, I thought two things: 1) SUCK UP! and 2) Are those shots at OSU? Dick move.

Anyway, thanks for writing such a great piece two hours before I have one due.

dmurder's picture

Was there no practice today?

Where are my practice notes???

"We have always had the best damn band in the land, now we have the best damn team in the land"- Jim Tressel 1-03-03

blazers34's picture

pretty obvious that he is the song bird of our generation

btalbert25's picture

I think it's just as exploitative to throw a 7 year old kid into a life of playing soccer every day until his skills level out and they have no use for him anymore.  The kids parents and the team are exploiting his talent.  His parents benefit and possibly the team, but the kid is still being used.  Especially at 7 years old. 

I'm not saying the NCAA is great, frankly there should be some sort of minor league in place, especially since the NFL is such a money making machine, but let's face it it's probably not going to happen.  At least if there were you could have a system like MLB and college baseball.  Go out of highschool or go after redshirt sophomore/jr year. 

RBuck's picture

Kirk Cousins has moxie until Oct. 1.

Long live the southend.

btalbert25's picture

I also think that the Kirk Cousins' of the world are more abundant than we care to think of.  Just as it's easy to nod and agree that Cousins is right because he's like us, it's easy to nod and agree with this article about how unfair the system is and how kids should be paid, because we just got caught in a scandal that likely never would've happened had these kids been allowed to make a little money off their names.

I'm not saying that either side is right or wrong, I'm just saying that if you look at all the kids playing football at an NCAA program of some sort, the overwhelming majority of players will never even get consideration to play in the NFL.  Most are looking at their opportunity as a priviledge, and a chance to better their lives while playing a game they love.  At schools like Ohio State, it's hard for use to grasp this concept, but at other schools many other players do view their scholarship as a priveledge and they do want to go to class. 

At 5 of 6 programs in each of the BCS conferences this may not be the case, and I can agree with that, but if you look beyond BCS conferences and look at the MAC, Sunbelt, WAC, and Mountain West, or even DII, you'll find a lot of guys who are just student atheletes, not poor exploited kids.

Again, I agree things need to change, but it's not the whole system that is broken, it's just the system at the top where all the money is concentrated. I think being fans of the program we love, we lose site of that a bit.

cronimi's picture

Agreed. Take out the top 25-40 football programs and football is about the same as soccer -- kids getting a free education for playing a sport they love and are talented at.  For those true student-athletes, playing sports is a means to an end (i.e., an education).  For football and basketball players at the top programs, playing sports is a means to a different end (i.e., a pro career). 

Kalamazoo Steve's picture

The NCAA will never pay them what they can make under the table. Thinking pizza money will stop the issues at hand is insane.

M Man's picture

For me, I feel privileged just to be able to listen to the words of Kirk Cousins on the internet.  It is a privilege, and an honor, just to able to absorb his words, and to be in the same state, with the opportunity to be breathing the same air, as Kirk Cousins.

He is everything that we have come to expect from Michigan State, including a massive chip on his shoulder and an inferiority complex so deep that it pervades every waking moment and every interview, piling up disrespectful newspaper and magazine articles like you were Bill Clinton creating your "Richard Jewel file."

Be warned; if you happen to be a supporter of another school's football program, don't introduce yourself to Kirk Cousins.  Not even at a wedding, where you are something like the friend or family member of the bride or the groom, and Cousins is in the wedding party.  Best to not even speak to Kirk Cousins, if you don't already understand that he plays for a reigning Big Ten Co-Champion.’-lack-of-respect

Shock-G's picture

Gee, I don't know, I'd probably get pretty annoyed if I was a starting QB of a team that had beaten their chief rival the past three years straight, was (up until this year) spanking them in state in regard to recruiting, and shared the Big Ten title.

It'd be like your worst enemy saying he slept with your sister.

Which, by the way ....

I wanna go back to Ohio State ... 

Kalamazoo Steve's picture

Which, by the way, Sparty still sucks? They are the Cubs of the B10. Every 10 years or so they can muster a share of a conference title and go on to lose a bowl game. Cousins should be annoyed he chose to play in E. Lansing.

Shock-G's picture

I don't think it's fair to say that Sparty sucks. The Bobby Williams hire after Saban's departure was bad for the program and derailed it long term. John L Smith was a joke of a coach (the first bomb of the Big East to Big Ten auditions) and it seems that Dantonio has turned the program around. Before you write Sparty completely off I'd venture to say what they muster this year, schedule benefits them (gets OSU before the tatgate guys return), good stable of running backs, a proven commodity at QB, a playmaker at receiver, and what ought to be a stout defense.

I wanna go back to Ohio State ... 

builderofcoalitions's picture

I knew there was a reason I keep reading this blog. Well done.

Because we couldn't go for three.

NYC Buckeye's picture

maybe right, maybe wrong, but either way good stuff DJ...

It was an impressive speech from a well to do kid (with a huge over reaction), considering at his age I couldn't get myself to a class before noon... 

Nitz25's picture

Every time someone on 11W posts a long article on some soap box moral issue everyone responds with "WELL DONE SIR!" "OMG amazing post!"

I'm going to be the dissenting voice here and say your article is way off base.  You have an agenda and you are just preaching that agenda.  You clearly don't think much of the NCAA and so you're quick to proclaim them profiteering fatcats and denounce their "draconian" system because it isn't the right fit for surpemely gifted athletes from poor backgrounds.

I feel I can offer a somewhat unique perspective on this subject as I logged 4 years of NCAA football eligibility at a small Division III college in New England.  The college I played at was one without scholarships and a 0.005% chance of a professional career (one guy I played with attempted workouts with the Ravens and Jets; eventually playing NFL Europe, AFL, and UFL for about 3 years before giving up).  Not only did I love the sport enough to play it with no potential for monetary gain later in life, but I paid (or more accurately my parents paid) approx. $45,000 a year so that I could do this while simultaneously bettering my education.

From this background I can say unequivocally that college football is not just a sport for you to watch on Saturday.  For those that actually play the sport it provides life lessons about leadership, integrity, perserverance, and loyalty that can't be learned anywhere else (except the military, where the cost for those lessons is potentially much higher).  These lessons are essential for the development of young men and therefore has a perfectly valid place on a college campus.  Paying players for their contribution to the game corrupts the entire value system that game promotes.  This is readily evident among athletes who have been handed things for their on-the-field performances all through life (Pryor, Clarett) and subsequently never really learned these values.

Going to college IS a huge privilege.  The academic/athletic platform at a good collegiate institution provides an unparralleled learning opportunity.  If gifted athletes from the poor backgrounds would rather get paid immediately, then by all means let's develop a minor-league system so they can bypass the annoyances of going to class and maintaining a 2.0 GPA, but as a former college athlete I have too much respect for the system to allow players to be paid for their on-the-field exploits.  I'd rather watch slow white kids play 3 yards and a cloud of dust than watch Cam Newton score 70 pts one Saturday afternoon and drive away from the football facilities that night in his brand new Escalade bought and paid for at the expense of the sport's integrity. 

DJ Byrnes's picture

You're right, FOOTBALL & THE MILITARY, the only place where somebody can learn integrity, perseverance, and loyalty.

And, sorry, I think you're in the very small minority when it comes to folks who would rather watch slow white kids run the "3 yards and a cloud of dust" offense over somebody like Cam Newton. For assurance of this fact, please examine the attendance numbers at a place like Fiesta Bowl vs. wherever it is they play Division III games.

And yes, I have an agenda and am writing from a certain viewpoint. Your entire post was the same.

Californian by birth, Marionaire by the Grace of President Warren G. Harding.

Roger's picture

That may have been a bit of hyperbole, but there are certainly some life lessons that may be unique to the gridiron or the battlefield.

DJ Byrnes's picture


Californian by birth, Marionaire by the Grace of President Warren G. Harding.

Denny's picture

There are life lessons that are unique to all sorts of instances. For instance, I just finished my PhD in chemistry; my educational path is rare, and my body of research is unique. I've learned all sorts of things from my work, both experimental and theoretical as well as philosophical. I'm not going to project *my* life lessons onto a totally separate thing (like amateur sports). Even though I could conjure up some vague parallels about technique and discipline and developed feeling which borders on art, at the end of the day they're totally separate things and I'd simply be projecting myself onto others rather than trying to learn from others' experiences. And that's just self-gratification.

That there are common life lessons between two things doesn't make said life lessons good, bad, or anything else aside from common.

And really, these life lessons not actually unique if they're common to two wholly separate cases (football and the military). /wordsnobbery


Roger's picture


Also, as to them being unique, that's why I used "or" rather than "and". #programmar #programmer

Denny's picture

Oh no, not boolean!


Nitz25's picture

Growing up there simply aren't many situations in which you absolutely have to work together unselfishly with other people to be successful.  Other aspects of our society incentivise and reward self-serving behavior at a young age.  I don't think it's a stretch to say that team sports, not just football, is the most effective and best way for teaching those values at a young age.  This is even more prevalent at the college level where you're surrounded by people who have been as dedicated as you to get to where they're at.

As for the popularity of college football, you're right.  It's popular because its explosive and fun to watch.  But the institutions that fund these teams and populate the rosters have a mandate.  That mandate is to educate, not just fill the stands.  If the two come into conflict with eachother, which one do you think should win out?

Roger's picture


In all serious, thanks for sharing your story and perspective. I play semi pro football in the GLFL and I do it for the intangible rewards, not for money. It would be a travesty to completely abondon the idea of amateurism as, in my opinion, amateur sports are really the purest form of sports being played.

btalbert25's picture

Great post and nice to hear your perspective. You basically summed up my feelings.  There are 100's of schools from FBS to D3 that the NCAA governs.  The system is fine all but 20 or so schools that make an absolute fortune off of football.  Sure guys from schools outside of the BCS or those huge programs make the NFL, but there's no one going to East Tennessee State to play football because they have to go to college and can't skip strait to the pros.  The problem isn't the NCAA and college Football, It's the BCS level of college football.  Tearing down the whole system for 20 schools or so just makes no sense.

What system could they put in place to make it better?  I hear everyone complain about the system being so bad, but no one offers solutions.  Paying players is not a solution either.  IT would criple athletic departments of even mid tier BCS programs, not to mention what it would do to MAC schools.  The only true way to make it more fair would be to have a minor league system in place and let guys make money off of their name.  Let a guy make money off of his autograph, or let him sell trophies.  They have fought the battles and earned the awards.  Outside of those 2 things, which probably aren't likely to happen, I don't see any way you correct the flawed system that the BCS level of college football has become.

Pam's picture

"Let's develop a minor league" Let us? Who is us? The NFL certainly will not do it since they have a farm system in place that costs them nothing same for the NBA.

I never played football (obviously) however I did learn about leadership, integrity, perserverance and loyalty. I learned those things from my father,a man who embodied those qualities and lived them everyday of his life until his death in 2002.

"Sports do not build character. They reveal it." John Wooden

Kalamazoo Steve's picture

As Charles Barkley has said, athletes aren't and shouldn't be our role models as children. Our parents should take that role. Otherwise having the ability to 'make it rain' would be the goal of our future leaders.

Bucks's picture

Charles Barkley said that? Really? I don't doubt you at all, just haven't erased him reading "I'm a dumbass" from a teleprompter yet!

Pam's picture

Everything I learned from parents was from what they did and not what they said. Of course I didn't realize it until I was an adult. My parents were polite and respectul to everyone. I remember going to Nationwide to visit my Dad's office on a Sat. I guess I was about 10 so 1963. We passed a janitor in the hall and he said Good Morning Mr. Mason and Dad said Good Morning Mr. "Jones." Dad was VP and took the time to find out what that man's last name was and give him his props when surely at that time a white man addressing a black service person would use their first name only.

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

Not playing football isn't obvious, Sammy Prahalis was a star youth player.

Pam's picture

I was in school before there was Title XI, so there weren't many options for female atheltes let alone football.

Bucknut-in-the-South's picture

DJ, I get what you are saying.  However, I am old enough to have a somewhat longer attention span than the 45 seconds you claim.  As such, I have to say that I was both impressed and saddened by Cousins's speech.  Impressed that he had the intellectual wherewithal to construct a speech of such logical consistency, depressed that his words, mostly platitudes, pass for depth and profundity.  When I remember Archie Griffin, Randy Gradishar, Doug Plank, Doug France, and other players of that generation who were student athletes simply because it was the expectation and, for the most part, the norm, it saddens me that someone like Cousins, an obviously talented and intelligent young man, is now the exception.  

BuckeyePops's picture

Well done DJ - you have insight well beyond your years!  However, your phrase "people under 26 just wouldn't understand" I suspect should have read "people OVER 26 just wouldn't understand."  Whaddya think?


Buckeye Chuck's picture

I guess that was better than Tim Tebow's "promise" speech, which has actually has its own plaque in Gainesville. But my spine stubbornly remained untingled.

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

iball's picture

DJ, you totally blew it out of the park. Even the fact that OSU fans commenting on the article that still don't get it makes me smh. Anyone ever wonder why Americas best athletes don't play soccer? It doesn't pay! Sure playing a sport for money is a privilege, but so is deciding where you as a sports fan spends your money.

“There’s one thing I have learned through all my adventures and conquests - it’s that some people are just wired for success. I had no choice when it came to being great - I just am great.” – Kenny Powers

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

I have no idea, but doesn't international soccer pay well?

Denny's picture

Extremely well, at the top. It hasn't payed particularly well for Americans because Americans aren't particularly great at soccer.


GoBucks713's picture

You do get paid for being called up to the National Team. It's obviously less for friendlies, but if you play in a tournament, you get substaintially more.

-The Aristocrats!

NC_Buckeye's picture

Currently there are two topics in cfb that tend to draw out the ideologues: (1) paying players and (2) BCS vs playoffs. People who follow cfb usually have set-in-stone unretractable viewpoints on both topics. So there's not much point in trying to convince you otherwise.

Having said that, I'll just say I disagree with you DJ. I think all college sports should continue to be amateur sports. I will stipulate that at some level athletes should be provided a stipend on the level of a high level graduate assistantship. I base that on the fact that most athletes are prevented from securing outside employment while on scholarship and also because of the inordinate amount of time that is required by their respective sports.

I also think that universities or the NCAA should not be able to profit from selling the names or likenesses of specific players. I would support trust-funds where any money generated in this regard would be turned over to players once their eligibilities expired.

In lieu of a minor league where players who have no interest in an education could be developed -- I think universities should adopt as their mission to prepare cfb & cbb athletes for life after their sport. Only a few of these guys are going to make it to the pros or make a living from their sport. So for me "teaching them how to fish" is a higher priority then paying them.

Denny's picture

I think the grad assistantship number is fair, but to go a little further into this idea: would they still get room/board along with it? If yes, I think it's pretty reasonable.

When I left OSU in '06 the graduate stipends in the chemistry dept were ~$21k - I'd guess grad assistantships have risen a bit since then, but 21-25k sounds pretty reasonable to me. It'd be livable, and with school/books/athletic gear covered it'd work out about right.

I have no idea what all of the current benefits add up to for student-athletes, but they may be receiving on the order of $21-25k already. If you keep the benefits they have now and up the stipend to grad-level, I think it'd be about as fair as you could imagine.


NC_Buckeye's picture

Yes, tuition/room/board plus grad assistantship-level stipend. I had an assistantship at Kent from 91-93 and we were paid about ~$16k. We were expected to put in about 15-18 hours per week. I'm guessing athletes put in about 20-22 (excluding gameday and travel). So I think the range you listed sounds fair. Might even go about $7-8k higher.



If the NFL started a development league, would anyone even watch it? Im sure people would follow it but not the way people follow college football. Really, who really watches minor league baseball? Who pays any attention to the NBA's "B league"? I honestly do not know if people follow Europe's soccer development leagues but I doubt it is nearly as popular as the primary leagues.

I feel like a development league would destroy college football, and I definitely dont want that.

Also, if I am a player who will definitely be an NFL player eventually, I would rather play college football in front of 100,000 plus for four years and get an education than get paid to play in some league that no one cares about. (I realize that one of the articles main points is that other people may have a different perspective: Its just my opinion.)