Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Closer: Arian Foster took extra money while at Tennessee...WHO CARES?

The biggest headline to hit the NCAA and college football this past week had nothing to do with what happened on the field. It wasn't that #4 Ohio State shutout Florida A&M 76-0 or that #7 Louisville shutout Florida International 72-0 (tough to play football in Florida right now if you aren't FSU, Florida, or Miami). No, the biggest headline had to do with a player that finished the college game 5 years ago: Arian Foster, running back for the Houston Texans.

Foster played his college football at the University of Tennessee. This week, he said, that during his time in Knoxville, he received extra money from "side people", and some meals from coaching staff. What makes this story line that much more intriguing is how strongly Arian Foster feels about the topic (see below).

"I just feel strong about the injustice that the NCAA has been doing for years," Foster said Friday. "That's why I said what I said. I'm not trying to throw anybody under the bus. ... I feel like I shouldn't have to run from the NCAA anymore. They're like these big bullies. I'm not scared of them. They really have us hoodwinked into thinking taking money is wrong as a college athlete. It's wrong for us, but it's not wrong for them. That's not wrong, but it's wrong for me to get $20 to get something to eat? Dez Bryant couldn't get taken out to dinner by Deion Sanders, his mentor, he sat out a whole season because of that? It's not right."

In recent memory, I cannot remember a professional athlete that played sports at the collegiate level in a revenue-generating sport speaking so strongly about the topic of Pay-for-Play. This media plea for an end to the muse of amateurism in college sports may be at its peak.

Mark Emmert and the NCAA continue to make bold, generalizing statements about the current state of college sports, particularly the governance of sport at the Division I level. From Penn State, to mishandled investigation(s) at Miami, to the current mess at Oklahoma State, to this past weekends rebellious antics at Georgia Tech (and other schools) in support of student-athlete welfare, the NCAA is the hottest topic in the sports world.

With all of these public displays of displeasure, it is clear current college students are ready to band together in solidarity, take a stand against the NCAA and galvanize some much-needed change. In response to these actions and the countless current events surrounding this topic, Mark Emmertt said, "I've said publicly on a number of occasions the only thing everybody agrees on with Division I governance is that it doesn't work."

At the end of the day, the guy making the millions and controlling thousands of student-athletes is Emmertt. Maybe, just maybe, as we come towards a possible conclusions to the O'Bannon lawsuit and high profile names such as Arian Foster continue to come out in support of student-athletes, and the media continues to cover these stories, something will change. As Brian Leigh from BleacherReport.com said yesterday:

"But eventually, after enough time, the NCAA will find itself in a circumstance it can't talk its way out of. Have we finally reached that moment?"


Kevin Murray is a Pre-Junior Sport Management Major at Drexel University. He is originally from Havertown, PA, a small suburb of Philadelphia. He worked in the Drexel Sport Management Department as a Research Assistant focusing on the Penn State scandal, equity in collegiate sports, and Title IX.  He completed his first co-op last spring with Drexel Athletics External Relations Department. He is currently a Resident Assistant in University Crossings, a member of the Undergraduate Student Government Association, and Vice President of SMTSU.  You can follow Kevin on Twitter @kevinj_murray.

 Connect with Kevin Murray on LinkedIn.

1 comment:

  1. Nice piece, Kev. I'll have a look at the APU movement from a media standpoint tomorrow!