I am huge sports fan, especially of football. This week my beloved Texas Longhorns travel to Pasadena to play Alabama for the national title. Notwithstanding my love for the game, I keep a wary eye on the physical and mental sacrifice made by the players. They sacrifice plenty too.
Certainly, they receive compensation through scholarship money. However, I have met plenty of players and trust me, most barely get by. The NCAA has strict limits and despite whatever story you hear about paying players with a car or a non-existent job (see stories on Joe McKnight or Rhett Bomar), most players barely have enough money to get home on the holidays.
Most of the players will not live their dream. They will not make it to the NFL. Each year, there are roughly 2,550 seniors in the 120 major college FBS programs, but the NFL drafts just 224 each year. Knowing this, most play to get a chance at an education they otherwise would not be able to afford. Now, I am a realist here. I have seen plenty a student-athlete fritter away perfectly good opportunities because they get caught up in the, "Look at me, I'm a star athlete," lifestyle, and then they fall back to Earth - hard, when they go undrafted and no one cares about them anymore. Their name is not in the paper anymore - last year's news. Those are sad stories, but not the entire story.
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