Gregg Doyel Is Shocked, Shocked to Find Athlete Per Diems

I'm not someone who dismisses everything Gregg Doyel writes out of hand. Sure, his tendency to write outrageous things just so he can go through his hate mail, cherry-pick the stupid and get another column out of it is impressive solely for being the only method I've ever seen of monetizing internet trolling. Even when he's not doing this, he writes a fair amount of stupid things, and he has a strange moralistic streak that seems at odds with the trolling, but he writes good columns as well.

Today he went with the morality side of things though, and argued that athletes shouldn't be paid. He threw in a couple of the standard arguments, like how you couldn't pay the quarterback and third-string safety the same (you could) and then attacks the straw man opinion that athletes are indentured servants. Look, I'm sure you can find someone on the internet saying that, but you can find anything on the internet. Idiotic hyperbole isn't really what you should be arguing with.

No, his major beef is that scholarships have housing, food and book allowances, and they can be more than what your actual costs are, and you can pocket the difference. Gasp. And while those athletes were living high off the shared-living-expenses hog, poor Doyel was selling bodily fluids for pizza, and walking uphill both ways to do so.

Of course, he could (and may, I don't know) have taken a work-study position to pay for school. Worked over the summer. The NCAA, of course, limits those types of things among student-athletes. (Although football players can get summer jobs playing professional baseball. That, I don't understand.) Athletes have their scholarships and per diems, and make do on that. As, come to think of it, did the cheerleaders, pep bands, and student journalists that traveled with the team. Nobody stretched a per diem further than the DTH folks.

I agree that the current misdeeds of folks like Marcell Dareus, A.J. Green, Kendric Burney and the like aren't poverty-related. Heck, Burney's family paid for his plane tickets over the summer, because they didn't realize the NCAA was going to frown upon Hawkins, and Dareus's family seemed pretty vigilant against these sort of things as well. But here's the thing. We've poured astronomical amounts of money into college sports, where it sloshes around to everyone remotely affiliated with it except the people actually competing. It pays for a lot of other sports, and it puts an incredible amount of money into coaches' pockets, but everyone is shocked when the athletes start acting like the pros everyone is treating them as. These sort of scandals are only going to continue at this rate, and castigating players for having a cushier college experience than your own isn't going to fix anything.

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