College Football Update
We don’t like athletes who don’t say anything. We don’t like athletes who do say something. You can see why so many college football programs limit media access to their “student-athletes.” One of the kids might actually say something.
Josh Rosen did. The UCLA quarterback, in an interview with Bleacher Report, discussed what he saw as the incompatibility of football and academics. The time demands and effort required don’t always lend themselves to a nice, neat schedule, and what, exactly, are the students in college for anyway?
Many, of course, are there to play football. Many are trying to get an education and play football. In the Power 5 conferences, the demands are out of hand. The Power 5 last spring put time limits on what the program may demand of the athletes, but the athletes know that they must make those demands of themselves or they lose playing time, their starting positions, maybe their scholarships.
As Rosen observed: “Look, football and school don’t go together. They just don’t. Trying to do both is like trying to do two full-time jobs. There are guys who have no business being in school, but that’s the path to the NFL.” We don’t ask NFL quarterbacks to go to graduate school while they are playing, do we?
Rosen has been vilified for stating the obvious, which is a shame. He’s right. Coaches get paid millions for winning (and losing) while student-athletes get a scholarship but must satisfy two masters – the football coach and the academicians. In the 1932 Marx Brothers takedown of college football in the film Horse Feathers – see, this is not a new problem – Groucho Marx, as the president of Huxley College, notes that the school can no longer afford both a college and a football team. So he decides to tear down the college.
For the championship contenders, football is big business and the players are the cheap labor. Classes get in the way of weight training, practice, film study, travel, winning, glory.
It shouldn’t be that way, as Rosen pointed out.
The system won’t change much, but it’s a pleasure to see an honest man speak up once in a while.
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman