Earlier today, we took aim at Alabama coach Nick Saban for comparing agents who pay college football players to pimps.
As we asked, who’s closer to being a pimp? The agent who gives a player some money now and keeps only a small chunk of it later, or the head coach who makes millions from players who get shillings in return, in the form of an education they don’t want, and food and lodging they’d otherwise get elsewhere?
So maybe the ongoing controversy regarding college players getting paid, which shouldn’t happen, should spark a closer look at a system that makes it easy for players who are generating all that money to justify getting a small taste of it, even if it happens indirectly.
Jason Whitlock of FOXSports.com makes the case for attacking the root of the problem — a system of supposedly amateur athletics that funnels the money they generate to none of them.
That said, we’re confused by Whitlock’s position that he’s “infuriated” by the Reggie Bush story. Bush, if the allegations of Lloyd Lake and Michael Michaels are true, not only took money but stole it, refusing to repay cash and benefits given to him under the assumption that Bush would hire Lake and Michaels to be his agents. Then, once Lake and Michaels had the audacity to try to recover their money, Bush stonewalled and delayed and denied responsibility before finally settling the case under the threat of having to testify under oath, after maximum damage had been done to the interests of the USC program, and in turn to the interests of other football players who had hoped not only to play football for the Trojans but also to eventually, possibly, make it to the NFL.
That path, thanks to Bush, has now gotten more convoluted for them.
Still, we fully agree with Whitlock’s basic premise. To say that the system is broken implies that it ever worked properly. With players expending their effort and risking their bodies and lining the pockets of everyone connected to the process but themselves, the fact that our institutions of higher learning would engage in the lowest forms of exploitation has escaped widespread scrutiny for far too long.
So we’re with you, Whitlock. What do we do next?