Student-Athletes Are Already Adults

By DJ Byrnes on April 29, 2014 at 11:36a
45 Comments

A few days ago, Sporting News' Matt Hayes, one of the hottest takers to ever saunter the Internet, dished another dandy; this time on student-athletes' attempts to unionize. (If you guessed there'd be a potshot at an Ohio State player... come collect your prize of 38 cents.)

I'm not here to discuss unionization or give Hayes' banality a point-by-point fisking. Rather, let's talk about the wretched, paternalistic headline and its implications.

College athletes want to be treated like adults? Fine, here are the rules

This implies that college athletes aren't already, by definition, adults. Are they wizened, wrinkled sages? No, but consider some of the things 18-year-olds can do:

  • Sign up to defend the United States and its interests, and die in distant lands like Afghanistan while doing so. 
  • Be sentenced to death for crimes.
  • Become an active member of our democratic republic through voting.
  • Sell themselves into financial servitude to further their education.
  • Own a handgun
  • Own a home.
  • Apply for a credit card. (Nobody under 30 balances a check book or even owns one, Hayes.)
  • Buy insidious things like cigarettes and porn subscriptions.

All of these actions (save signing up for Brazzers) carry much more weight than playing a game for the entertainment of millions of beer-swilling adults.

I'm done calling student-athletes kids. Kids are what I see when I log into Instagram. Kids still have recess scheduled into their school day.

Student-Athletes are not kids. They are young adults. It's time the media started treating them as such. 

45 Comments

Comments

tennbuckeye19's picture

I agree with your take on "student athletes" and all other college students already being adults and not kids. I cringe when people talk about college students and say "they're just kids." 

And while I think Matt Hayes is a complete dope, I do think he brought up an interesting point regarding the notion of college athletes as employees. At my job if I am caught doing something wrong, breaking rules, stealing, whatever, I would lose my job and possibly be sued. I would think a similar set-up would have to be established in college sports as well if the athletes are in fact employees of the university.

+4 HS
OSUStu's picture

At my job if I am caught doing something wrong, breaking rules, stealing, whatever, I would lose my job and possibly be sued. 

Or if you are really making big money for your employer you will be retained, maybe even promoted, or you will at least get a golden parachute.  Why wouldn't it work the same way for athletes?  (It pretty much already does in the NCAA and definitely does in the NFL.)  Those making the most money, the best players, would get away with much more or receive much more lenient punishments.

If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.  ~ Bruce Lee

tennbuckeye19's picture

I see what you're saying, but what if the player in question is not yet a star player and is not yet "making big money for their employer". If you take Troy Smith (the OSU player Hayes used as an example) : as a sophomore Smith was found to have taken $500 from a booster and was suspended for a bowl game and another game the next year. At this point Smith had taken over at QB for Justin Zwick, but he was not yet Troy Smith, Heisman winner, All American QB, 3-0 against UM, and etc.

+1 HS
Jack Fu's picture

What is this "Brazzers" you speak of? Why, I haven't the foggiest.

+15 HS
PoKeY21's picture

Is that the one with that black couch?...o wait

When my time on earth is gone, and my activities here are passed, I want they bury me upside down, and my critics can kiss my ass - Robert Knight

+1 HS
cinserious's picture

No, no, your thinking of casting c..... Oh nevermind.

Gone ham, be back soon...

Blackbeards Delight's picture

Is that a pile of Herbstreit kids?

Crunchy Peanut Butter Bitches.

- Me

 

+14 HS
buckskin's picture

DJ, thank you thank you thank you.

+2 HS
klfeck's picture

Some of us think that anyone under the age of 30 or so is still a kid, although the ones serving overseas are certainly exceptions.

 

I'd love for someone to do an "objective" study and see what all the perks of being a full scholarship football player at a school like OSU is actually worth. More precisely, how much does the University actually spend on each of those players including clothing, technology, education, tutors, trainers, training, etc. Obviously, this would vary by school and often by athlete, but it would be good to know what the real numbers are. I am sure they would seem low for some players like Brax, and high for others who may ride the bench most of their careers.

Kevin

OH!!!!!

Proud parent of a Senior at The Ohio State University

+4 HS
TheBadOwl's picture

I don't have monetary values, but off the top of my head...

  • Guaranteed residency in the best dorms on campus as freshmen (only non-athletes in the Neil complex/Worthington are upperclassmen, although there are usually a few sophomores, too)
  • Special, private tutoring area in Youkin (really just so they don't get bugged for autographs by freshmen)
  • Priority scheduling (absolutely necessary and it doesn't really steal seats from anyone, plus walk-ons get it too)
  • Access to trainers and therapists for injuries (again, it's necessary)
  • Alumni/Professional networking connections (although for normal students, it's pretty inexcusable if you go all four years without trying to network at all)
  • OSU branded Clothing / gear (not a big deal)
  • Extensions on assignments due to scheduling conflicts 
  • Class costs / academic costs / food costs (not sure if textbooks are covered)

So, yeah, they get a decent amount of cool stuff compared to the average student. But the average student doesn't have to spend 60+ hours per week working on football stuff, they don't have to travel to go play a road game ~ 7 times per year, and the average student can get a part-time job to supplement their own income. 

Would all of those perks be nice? Yeah. But people don't realize how much extra work goes into that. I'm not an athlete here, but I'm involved in a few clubs and I have an internship, so I work my ass off, but even then, what the athletes here do is on another level. 

When I walked in this morning and saw the flag was at half mast I thought, "Alright, another bureaucrat ate it." but then I saw it was Li'l Sebastian. Half mast is too high. Show some damn respect.

+5 HS
npeterson5's picture

I'm a student who lives in Worthington with these players. They also get an, iPad ($400) for "studying", Free parking pass ($600), unlimited meal plan (~$3,000), tutor areas that regular students don't have, Gear/shoes (but that one I don't really care about) , all expenses (class, books, room and board) paid for (~$40,000+)

 The fact that they get all this stuff only bothers me a little bit. But what bothers me the most is when you see football players rolling into class late, without a backpack, if they even show up at all. I've been in classes with them and the Cardale Jones tweet has a lot to it behind the scenes. 

+6 HS
TheBadOwl's picture

To be fair, they get punished if they miss a single class. Could you imagine if regular students got punished for missing a single 1100-level lecture?

When I walked in this morning and saw the flag was at half mast I thought, "Alright, another bureaucrat ate it." but then I saw it was Li'l Sebastian. Half mast is too high. Show some damn respect.

jamesrbrown322's picture

My Dad was in school with Randy Gradishar. In his Freshman English class (Gradishar was a Junior), he swears up and down that Gradishar showed up the first day of class and the day of the final. He then subsequently went on to be enshrined into the NCAA's Academic Hall of Fame. I guess he was just really, really smart.

 

"I can accept failure, but I cannot accept not trying." - W.W. Hayes

+1 HS
TheBadOwl's picture

I had a freshman-level class with Braxton Miller, Devin Smith, Steve Miller, Evan Spencer, Doran Grant, Christian Bryant and Laquinton Ross (I think a few others were in there, too). I missed that class a lot, but every time I was there, so were they.

I'm sure things were different when your dad was in school, but nowadays, at least at Ohio State, they have people who make sure that the athletes attend all of their classes.

When I walked in this morning and saw the flag was at half mast I thought, "Alright, another bureaucrat ate it." but then I saw it was Li'l Sebastian. Half mast is too high. Show some damn respect.

+1 HS
npeterson5's picture

These students are paying to go to school so they can do whatever the hell they want. When the school is throwing you 40k a year, is it THAT hard to just go to class?

yrro's picture

In state tuition all expenses paid for is a lot closer to $20k. Source: I was a student on a full ride academic scholarship.

sarasotabcg's picture

I had a class with a certain All-American OL that I won't name. He came to the first class then didn't return until the final. The professor told him to not waste his time taking it because he was going to fail him. Then he told the guy if he had a problem with it, 'tell Coach Cooper to call me.'

 

PoKeY21's picture

Ya we have all heard these stories. My aunt had a class with the Robert Smith, probably one of the smartest buckeyes to ever grace the field and he only showed up the first and last day. The thing is if you are smart enough to do that I don't see the problem with it. If you skip every class and still pass the final then You should pass the class. I'd say that the prof who told the Olinemen he'd fail him no matter what should have atleast given him the test first. 

When my time on earth is gone, and my activities here are passed, I want they bury me upside down, and my critics can kiss my ass - Robert Knight

npeterson5's picture

As a student at OSU and living in the football player dorm last year, there are PLENTY of perks for the athletes.

+3 HS
jamesrbrown322's picture

But they're starving during all of those hungry nights!

"I can accept failure, but I cannot accept not trying." - W.W. Hayes

+3 HS
hodge's picture

"You can’t be in the middle of a serious investigation of a program and find that, in another separate incident after the current investigation began, different players were taking cash in envelopes —and ignore a lack of institutional control charge because the investigative committee didn’t bring the specific LOIC charge to the committee on infractions."

Yes, Matt, because Devier Posey being overpaid by less than a hundred bucks for a job he actually worked clearly delineates the NCAA's most severe infraction.

+2 HS
Shangheyed's picture

~ As Americans we all have the right to purse happiness... that means to find a job... a 18 you are an adult as other mentioned can vote, serve in the military and subject to real adult taxes.   And many are expected to start to contribute to the household finances.

Hayes would rather see the schools (which collude with the NFL and NBA becoming defacto minor leagues~at no extra cost to the professional programs and a minimal cost to the schools F&B, books, and regulated stipend their min labor cost with NO guarantees if a life long injury, no graduation goal or requirements, and a degree that doesn't mean 50% of what the value was in the 50-70s) keep status quo rather than rid CF of rules that discriminate against fellow Americans.  He is in favor of the rules that keep people poor, restrict their hourly wages (unAmerican), don't allow you to sell your own property(unAmerican private property is yours to sell and is also protected in Supreme Court Rulings).   ~Bottom line is Hayes is more concerned with protecting the "fairness" of the college football game rather than what is fair to the individual.

Could you imagine a Math Schollarship student losing his scholarship because he was paid to much to work as a research assistant at a Think tank?   I think not...What is so wrong about a DB from Idaho State putting a few extra dollars in his pocket because of his local fame (that won't last more than the 4 yrs he attends school after that its real world)?  How would 500 bucks in his pocket derived from his fame (insert Paris Hilton here if she can make money off her name why not any American? ) impact the game on Saturdays.  In fact it may even keep players in school longer as they are not destitute and can afford to stay in school... their familes could live better too, in many cases if they were not in school they would be helping support the family,

Meanwhile every school has a woman's water polo team, again taking away the rignts of some individuals giving added benefits to others... but I am sure no one even the water polo team would argue that those two sports are apples and oranges.  So many things to spend the million dollar TV and Bowl moneys on... but not a dime goes back to the people who actually earned it.

I think people like Hayes will be look at like former segregationalists...Once the smoke clears and people forget nostaligia and look at the realities that are here today, Hayes or anyone's aguement supporting the last bastion of legalized quasi-slave labor will all be regretting their stance. 

 

-1 HS
German Buckeye's picture

My iPhone wouldn't scroll to the end of this, what was your point 

buckeyes7222's picture

People writing essays on here, give me a break

Shangheyed's picture

GO Bucks... is that better?   Haha when the HAYES button goes off... so do I... would love to meet him face to face one day, sorry you all got an "ear" full!

costinjr's picture

Maybe I don't understand this but if the players would be able to paid for their likeness wouldn't it follow suit that it wouldn't be illegal to get paid for autographs, boosters, cars as well as other benefits? I've always been of the mindset if you just open up the market, then everything should correct itself, especially if that "Bagman" article is true and the SEC is already in deep with this kind of stuff. Big schools are always going to draw more attention the MAC and Sunbelt schools in my opinion regardless of who has the big boosters. As long as scholarships are kept capped then I've always felt that it should sort itself out.

Something that has bothered me for a long time is the free education argument -- to me it gets less and less valid every year. I don't know how many people have graduated in the passed 2-7 years but unless you're graduating in math, business, engineering, MIS, or IT you're on a level playing field with people who have worked the 4 years you were in college. It seems to be much more cost effective to go straight to a trade school and get a degree as an imaging therapist or get an accelerated nursing degree. I can't imagine that this criminology major that most of these athletes take on is a field that is in desperate need of hundreds of college graduates from various institutions. I can't blame student athletes either, as it seems they have a full time job with football and basketball, and then to take on one of those elite majors would leave very little time to relax at all and actually enjoy the college experience -- obviously Aaron Craft is the exception. I hope this doesn't come off as a disgruntled post grad, but I'm tired of institutions acting holier-than-thou because they're giving away a free pass to shit job market. 

Ethos's picture

I believe the educations argument has more to do with not being saddled with a 6 figure debt when you graduate, vs how valuable that actual degree is.

"What do you need water for, Sunshine?!" - Coach Coombs, if you don't love this man, you have no soul.

+2 HS
costinjr's picture

Right, and that is fantastic that these guys aren't having to pay off loans for the next 30 years, but I think there's been a major shift from "I get to go to _____ university and get my degree for free by playing football/basketball." to "What's the easiest major because I'm dedicating all my time to football/basketball?" Wasn't there a case a year or so back about a recruit not going to scUM because they told him he couldn't major in engineering and play sports?

I_Run_The_Dave's picture

Kids still have recess scheduled into their school day.

I must have been an adult as of 7th grade.

+4 HS
teddyballgame's picture

recess ended for me after 4th grade...

 

+7 HS
npeterson5's picture

By the way, when a player makes a mistake, Urban refers to him as a "kid". It's seen in many instances.

+3 HS
tennbuckeye19's picture

This is true. It seems that when they're in trouble or they're struggling, they're referred to as kids, but at other times they're referred to as young men. 

+1 HS
TheBadOwl's picture

Post-college = young adulthood - adulthood

College = young adulthood

High school = mid/late teenage years

Junior high = preteen - early teenage years

I don't think there's necessarily a double standard going on, people just need to realize that the path to adulthood is a gradual one, there's not one set time where someone automatically becomes an adult. Hell, I know adults who hardly act like adults. I don't think that someone making mistakes in college and being forgiven for those mistakes means that there's a double standard going on, though.

When I walked in this morning and saw the flag was at half mast I thought, "Alright, another bureaucrat ate it." but then I saw it was Li'l Sebastian. Half mast is too high. Show some damn respect.

+3 HS
tennbuckeye19's picture

I agree. Just pointing out the terms are being used almost interchangeably. 

Shangheyed's picture

Hayes is a tool, we are just playing into his hand...

It its not tOSU, its Meyer... he has an agenda and it isn't to talk sports.  I used to go to sportingnews all the time... but I will not click on his article to read it... no need to support him in anyway...we already know what it says.

 

hit_the_couch's picture

I've been to combat twice (I won't elaborate on my opinion of the mission);Voting garners a risk of jury duty. No one should ever have to go through either of those.

And then I told her...i'm no weatherman, but tonight's forecast is calling for several inches!

+1 HS
NuttyBuckeye's picture

Not sure about the rest of the country, but potential jurors in Michigan no longer come from voting.  Anyone with a valid driver's license is where Michigan now pulls citizens for jury duty.

Marc Pocock (a.k.a NuttyBuckeye)

What's round on the ends and high in the middle? Tell me if you know!

Calvinist Buck's picture

No one is forcing college students to play sports.  If the benefits (scholarship, etc.) do not provide a sufficient return for the effort exerted (playing the sport), then don't play.

+4 HS
d5k's picture

DJ, please apologize for making those of us who clicked the link much dumber.

+2 HS
THEOSUfan's picture

When you get to a certain age, and I know because I'm pretty much there, college-aged people are definitely "kids" - even though they are legally adults.  I think Urban and I are close to the same age, so I understand why he refers to them as kids.

Matt Hayes is a real curious fellow.  I emailed him a few years ago.  I think it was about some really harsh, demonizing words he wrote about Jim Tressel.  Matt emailed me back.  He gave a considerable effort toward convincing me that he wasn't an Ohio State hater.  I think he said something about his wife attending or graduating from Ohio State or being from Ohio and a Buckeye fan.  He fancies himself as a truth-teller, devoid of any bias.  But when the subject of Ohio State comes up, or someone affiliated with tOSU, I can't recall a single positive thing he has ever written.  I'm no Dr Phil, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express once, and I think Mr. Hayes needs some help with identity and self-awareness.

+1 HS
hit_the_couch's picture

I don't know if it's still there, but he once posted a pic of an Ohio State flag he could see from his office. His caption was bitching about having to see it all year. I think he has some hatred for tosu.

And then I told her...i'm no weatherman, but tonight's forecast is calling for several inches!

+1 HS
Floyd Stahl's picture

Nice find with donotlink.com, DJ. Maybe you can create a forum post or article and give us a tutorial on how to utilize this so we don't give Hayes, Bianchi, espn, etc. the hits that they want for their articles.

DJ Byrnes's picture

It's pretty straight-forward. Just go to DoNotLink.com, paste in the article's URL, and then it generates a donotlink.com URL for you to use.

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

cinserious's picture

At a certain point, a person becomes responsible for one's actions, at least in the eyes of the law. If a crime is serious enough, a 14, 15, 16 year old will be tried as an adult. Someone of college age (~18-21 year old) is absolutely responsible for their actions, no doubt about it. I'm not that old yet but I bet back in the day, an 18, 19, 20 year old was a full fledged man in all aspects, but over time our society has become so overly pansified that teens and young men are increasingly coddled and unaccountable for their actions. I understand that its been ingrained in us to call these young men 'kids' but it really almost gives them an excuse to do what they please without repercussions.

Gone ham, be back soon...

GoBucks713's picture

 

-The Aristocrats!