Jordan Spieth struggled Sunday afternoon at the Barclays and slipped into a tie for 19th place. For that, the Dallas native received a check for $93,600 to run his 2013 earnings to just over $2.7 million.
Meanwhile, the investigation into whether Johnny Manziel made $15,000 for several hours of autograph signing continues.
Yes, it is richly rewarding to be 20 and athletic in this land of ours, as long as you pick the right sport.
If it took a rich white kid (I’m talking about Manziel, not Spieth) to make us realize college football’s stars deserve more than tuition and books, that’s unfortunate. It’s beyond unfortunate, really.
But at least we are getting to the right place sometime in the near future when college football becomes something more than the seediest of our guilty sporting pleasures.
Why is it OK for golfers such as Spieth or NBA first-round picks to be “one and done” in college, able to cash in quickly on their considerable talents, while football players — toiling under more difficult and dangerous conditions — must wait three years after finishing high school to apply for the NFL draft?
Forget Manziel for a moment and consider the second-most famous college player of 2013. You think South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, entering his junior season, wasn’t primed and ready for last spring? He would have been the first pick in the 2013 draft without question.
But that’s not allowed. So Clowney takes out insurance and his mother makes Doritos in a factory. And everyone waits and hopes nothing goes wrong on either side of those violent hits he delivers, one of which captured the ESPY for “Play of the Year.”
Why shouldn’t Clowney be under NFL contract right now? Why shouldn’t Manziel or Clowney or Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater or any other college player whose autograph has value (check eBay; there are plenty out there) be allowed to cash in on that value?
The explosion of television money in sports is making coaches and bowl officials and those who administer the game rich beyond their wildest dreams. You can argue it’s creating nice jobs for the media on new networks, as well.
The players? They try to stay within archaic rules and maintain eligibility for three years before hoping to cash in at the end of the college ride.
There is no groundswell on behalf of these players because, frankly, we love it.
It’s great to know the names of the star players coming back to your favorite team, whether it’s Baylor running back Lache Seastrunk, who finished 2012 on an incredible roll, or LSU running back Alfred Blue coming back from torn knee ligaments.
We know the “one-and-done” rule is fair and just, but we think it ruins college basketball and renders the game star-less except for coaches. Christian Laettner vs. Jamal Mashburn in March? We don’t get that anymore.
As soon as this weekend’s games commence, our focus shifts to the stories that unfold on our big screens. Is Kliff Kingsbury set to save Texas Tech? Does Oklahoma have a quarterback? Is TCU the real deal in the Big 12 or simply fodder for mighty LSU at Cowboys Stadium?
The TV ratings soar. The game triumphs. And the great players who provide us all those thrills pray that they stay healthy through January.
One of the reasons I was always opposed to an eight-team or 16-team playoff was the hypocrisy in demanding more games from athletes (all entertainment for us, mostly risk for them) in the postseason.
At this point, the playoff adds only one extra game for two teams. Maybe it stays that way. Maybe that’s the tip of the eight-team tournament iceberg.
Three years ago, we exhausted our voices (and a lot of newsprint) on stories of Auburn quarterback Cam Newton’s father seeking money for his son’s services from Mississippi State. Newton managed to keep his eligibility and won a Heisman and a national championship.
And Gene Chizik, the coach who would get fired not long after Newton left as the program fell apart, got a $7.5 million buyout.
Where’s our outrage over that? Why do we care so much more about $15,000 worth of autographs and not at all about that kind of money for a head coach with no track record?
As guilty pleasures go, I worry about my propensity to watch violent shows (Boardwalk Empire, Breaking Bad, Homeland, The Americans) and derive only pleasure while giving little thought to the carnage and mayhem.
I tell myself (maybe correctly, maybe not) that’s just Hollywood. It’s not real.
I don’t have any excuse for our tolerance of all the people on the fringes of college football getting rich while the real people doing the dirty work merely hope it pays off somewhere down the line.
Don’t bring the “tuition and room and board” argument in here. Maybe that held up when we were all amazed at Jackie Sherrill’s $267,000 salary 30 years ago.
That’s about one game for Manziel’s coach in 20I3.