Players deserve to cash in, too
Thursday, August 22, 2013
Let’s pretend we live in a perfect world. Just for a moment. Come on, close your eyes and envision it with me.
The U.S. Congress can pass laws. Time Warner will not only let customers have CBS and Showtime, but its going to slash your cable bill in half. I can grow an amazing mustache.
And Johnny Manziel is going to Texas A&M because he really wants to get a degree in business, one of the school’s five most popular majors, and he’s thrilled to be getting a free education.
Alas, that world does not exist. Your cable bill is going up. Congress is still doing nothing. My upper lip is forever naked. And Manziel, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner who is in hot water for allegedly receiving money for signing autographs, is studying more than just business at College Station.
Actually, the Aggies’ website lists Manziel as a sports management major, not a business major, but let’s not kid ourselves here. The reason Manziel is at Texas A&M is football. Since the NFL says he can’t enter the draft until three years after his high school class has graduated, he – along with thousands of other football players – has to ply his trade somewhere.
That somewhere is college, and the NCAA says while Manziel is a student-athlete, the only way he can make any kind of money is with a legit job. You know, like the one you had in college, waiting tables or tending a bar.
Except Manziel really can’t do that, can he? Not when he has to spend a whole lot of time studying and going to class and watching films and practicing and working out. Never mind that his face is one of the most recognizable everywhere that college football is larger than life.
Picture Tom Brady trying to serve drinks at the Nashua Garden, and multiply it by 10, because, you know, everything is bigger in Texas. It would be a zoo every night.
Make no mistake, Manziel deserves plenty of blame if the allegations are true. Rules are rules, even dumb, hypocritical ones. The biggest argument against allowing college athletes to receive payment – whether it be for play or appearances – has been that free ride. The people on that side of the argument say that a scholarship is payment enough, and perhaps it is.
But when a school like Texas A&M, which draws over 100,000 people for every home game, makes the profits it does (reportedly $26.5 million in 2011) off the backs of its student-athletes, why aren’t those athletes entitled to a part of the pie?
Maybe Manziel’s situation will finally be what changes the rules. Count me as one who certainly hopes so. I’d much rather be sitting here, talking about the possibility of a repeat Heisman winner for just the second time, than wondering if Manziel is even going to be allowed to play.
Joe Marchilena can be reached at 594-6478 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow Marchilena on Twitter (@Telegraph_JoeM).