Random Thoughts: Serfs of the Turf? or Court?

Michael Lewis, in an Op-Ed article in the NY Times, has once again raised the concept of paying College Football players. Citing all the money funnelling into the big time programs, he puts forth the idea the players should "share the wealth" and get paid for playing. As you might expect, Coach Roy has a slightly different take on all this ...

Serfs of the Turf is Michael Lewis' call to pay College Football players a percentage of their school's athletic budget. Interesting idea, share the wealth, right? Well maybe not....Coach Roy obviously doen't agree.

OK Mr. Lewis:

We take some the of the millions that College football generates away from the other sports programs and give it to those poor exploited players.

All that does is make another class of "rich" student, one who's loyalties are not to getting educated but to just playing football. Big test tomorrow, aw blow it off - go down to the bar and party. Pay those kids enough money so they don't figure they need to learn anything!

Then we'll have an entire new generation of big, strong 22 year olds who can't earn an honest living except maybe working construction cleanup for minimum wage. Yeah, there are other endeavors they can get into, I'm sure their entrepreneurial spirit will lead some of them into organized crime, where they can eventually earn a .45 slug in the back of the head or a lifetime of room and board on the rest of us.

One of the things I do here in my town is coach under 13 football. Over half of my "kids" are probably of African descent, I assume that from their appearance, and contact with their mothers. Some of their dads get recruited to help me coach but I rarely see the other fathers except at games when I'm too busy then to pay much attention.

As a coach, looking to instill the idea of winning on the field [and in life], I actually could care less about their background or parentage. I just want them to learn to be successful - both in school and on the field.

You can ask any of my former players - I stress to my kids that they should continue their education and play football as long as they can at any level. The goal is to graduate.

You see, I have a son who is now pretty successful in the construction business - he's the youngest project Superintendent for a major builder in North Carolina. The only way we got him to go to college [and open up that door to management] was Div III football.

At one time I agreed with you Mr. Lewis. I didn't see the value of any organized sport in the development of teenagers.

But now I'm convinced that the salvation of this generation is going to be sports programs that stress the hard work it takes to become a winner, and the team effort it takes to maintain that winning tradition. It doesn't take a village - it takes mentors who are willing to work with any kid who is interested.

I think the old adage is that "nothing is ever accomplished without enthusiasm" - or as we preach "desire, intensity, enthusiasm."

The majority of College football players know this - they eventually realize what they've been given to enhance their God given athletic talents. [see Darnell Autrey]. If their exploits on the field [and court] help provide opportunity and experience for more kids in other sports, fine. Somebody has to pay for the Soccer fields, Tennis courts, etc, not to mention the value of the scholarships awarded.

If a kid didn't perform, would they get fired from the team? or the University?

The issue here is that America grew great by rewarding those who knew how to win - those who could build organizations to excel and provide goods and services to the rest of us. Football and its rewarding of coaches, is just a small reflection of that idea.

Paying student athletes will just encourage the attitude that all they can do is play football, I would suggest that many would become low paid university student employees and that's not what the "student athlete" concept is really all about.

-- da Coach

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