Friday, February 24, 2006

Attitude of Entitlement

That is one of the things that really grinds my cookies in the sports world today--the attitude of entitlement that star athletes develop. It starts when they are barely teenagers if they show some physical gifts early. They can quickly learn that they will be taken care of by people who want to benefit from their skills, and eventually the more talented ones come to expect it as their birthright.

The most recent manifestation of this is the class-action lawsuit filed against the NCAA. This lawsuit aims to have stricken the caps on scholarships for Division 1-A football and basketball players. If the plaintiffs win, schools will then have the right (although not the obligation) to pay for all expenses a student-athlete incurrs during his time on campus, including laundry, phone bills (that has been a problem for some programs who tried to circumvent the rules), and school supplies. Josh Cantor, the author of the NCAA's blog "Double A Zone, writes about the implications of this lawsuit in some detail, and it is worth reading.

Cantor, a former Division III baseball player, is understandably upset about this action, and supports his views with his personal experience as a student-athlete. The plaintiffs, however, feel since they are generating huge sums of money for schools, they should get a bigger cut. That is logically justifiable, but is also selfish and short-sighted.

There are billions of dollars flowing into big-time college sports programs these days, but that money is also flowing out as quickly as it comes in, even quicker at many schools. The additional expense that would be incurred if this lawsuit is successful does nothing but line the football and basketball players' pockets. There is no doubt it could do so at the expense of a tennis team or a wrestling team, sports that would have their budgets slashed if not eliminated to cover those costs.

This comes accross to me as an action advocating for a group of prima-donnas with no concern of the consequences for anybody but themselves. Unfortunately, from covering college sports, I'm all too familiar with that mindset.


At 6:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My first thought was "How long before the Title IX attorneys file suit for gender eqiuty?"

At 9:47 AM, Blogger D. Moore said...

I'm afraid I don't agree on this one. One thing to remember is that this would only return the standard to what it once was. In the distant past, these sorts of expenses WERE covered by the schools. Since the revenue generated by the schools has exploded since then, I don't have a lot of sympathy for the schools in terms of keeping their "costs" down.

At 9:52 AM, Blogger D. Moore said...

Also, as I re-read the article, I sense a lot of spin in how it's presented. There's no mention of the number of players who graduate with large debts incurred for the costs this would cover, nor is there any mention that these students are PROHIBITED from getting a job during the school year to cover their costs. If you don't have parents that can pay these costs for you, exactly how is this going to "line the...players pockets"?

At 9:59 AM, Blogger D. Moore said...

Hmmm. As I read the comments about this on the website you linked to (thanks Jim), I see comments indicating that student/athletes are NOT prohibited from working during the school year. That was certainly not the case when I was in school. Did this change? If so, when?


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