Georgia Voices: Exploiting athletes and fattening college bank accounts
by The Savannah Morning News
October 01, 2013 12:12 AM | 1190 views | 0 0 comments | 35 35 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Are major colleges exploiting college football players to fatten bank accounts?

Should the NCAA do more to minimize brain trauma in contact sports and help current and former athletes who suffered brain injuries?

Should college athletes be paid a stipend in addition to the scholarships they receive?

These are just some of the provocative questions behind these three letters that some players from Georgia, Georgia Tech and other colleges wrote on their wrist tape Saturday:

APU. That stands for “All Players United.”

APU is an act of protest against the NCAA’s treatment of athletes, which some consider unfair. Behind the effort is the National College Players Association, an advocacy group for college athletes. It launched the campaign Saturday with an announcement on its website.

NCPA president Romogi Huma played linebacker for UCLA. He founded the organization, according to its website, after watching the NCAA suspend his All-American teammate Donnie Edwards for accepting groceries when his scholarship money ran out at the end of the month.

On the group’s Facebook page, there’s an item posted about an upcoming piece from Sports Illustrated. In it, Arian Foster, who plays pro football for the Houston Texans, says he accepted money while playing college football at Tennessee because he struggled to pay for food, while his coach was driving a Lexus.

Huma argues that, despite the billions of dollars that college athletes generate, the NCAA enforces rules that leave these athletes across the nation without basic protections. ...

College athletes are considered amateurs. Paying them would make them professionals. That’s what the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball are for. Scholarships have real value, too.

Just ask any parent with a kid in college.

However, pro sports have long considered the colleges as essentially free training ground for future players. And when it comes to value, there’s nothing like the value of TV contracts for colleges or endorsement contracts for college coaches.

This is an intriguing case. Big money is at stake. In the meantime, there’s a lot to like about any effort to reduce concussions and other injuries suffered on football fields.

So get used to seeing APU on wristbands on Saturday afternoons. And get ready for the debate they will prompt on campuses and among fans the rest of the week.
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