Those in charge of college athletics attempting to exert incomparable levels of control over the athletes they barely pay is nothing new. But even by the very low standards by which athletics directors should be held, Alabama’s Bill Battle and North Carolina State’s Debbie Yow said some some dumb shit today.
The setting was a New York City conference discussion on cost-of-attendance scholarships, which are the small stipends (typically a couple thousand bucks) that most athletes at most large universities now receive. Clearly bitter that their schools now have to barely pay the labor that generated $33 million and $7 million in profit respectively, they had this asinine exchange:
What right do these nincompoops—who were each paid over $600,000 last year out of the tens of millions of dollars of revenue generated by the very athletes they are bitching about—think they have to even comment on how their underpaid athletes choose to spend their money?
Realizing he’d stuck his foot deep into his throat, Battle attempted to clarify his comments to AL.com but only succeeded in further clogging his larynx:
“That was the Jim Tressel thing I guess,” Battle said, referencing the scandal at Ohio State that led to Tressel’s resignation in 2011. “The thing that students in general, not just athletes, spend money on is those kinds of things sometimes. That’s what we hope to educate our student athletes that those are not wise investments and they ought to be spending their money on those that add to the experience or the collegiate experience.”
Christ, not everything needs to be a wise investment. Does Battle ever eat at fancy restaurants? Go to a movie? Buy tickets to a sporting event? Take a nice vacation? Not very wise investments, those. His contract should restrict him to only being allowed to spend money on basic necessities or a safe, low-return investment vehicle. This is basically the same argument knuckle-draggers make when they attempt to control how welfare or food stamps recipients spend their money, laughing at them whether they try to buy cheap, calorically-dense junk food or healthy organic stuff.
If these ADs actually cared about athletes making and saving money and weren’t just paying lip-service, they could force the NCAA to lift the asinine restrictions on athletes capitalizing on their own likeness. The failure in the system here isn’t 19-year-olds spending money on things that seem wasteful to out-of-touch dumdums, but that the entire system itself most closely resembles Russian serfdom and everybody in power toils to keep it propped up.
And frankly, you know what would’ve added to my collegiate experience? A fucking hoverboard, that’s what! Instead of schlepping myself around campus on a broken-down bike, I could’ve ridden in style. That would’ve been awesome.
Anyway, don’t ever listen to anybody making off like a bandit at the expense of barely-paid labor.
Photo via AP