Loren Smith’s Sports Column: Super Dawg
Published 5:05 pm Tuesday, January 23, 2024
There will be a Georgia player in the forthcoming Super Bowl for the
23rd consecutive season on February 11 th in Las Vegas. This is a record
which is likely to continue, given the latent draft success of Bulldog players.
Alabama has the most players on NFL rosters of any school with 57.
Next is Ohio State with 47, followed by Georgia with 46. Rounding out the
top five, LSU has 43 players in the NFL and Michigan has 38.
Most sports fans are aware of the big paydays professional athletes
experience but also realize that many of them wind up broke as they make
far more bad decisions with their money than they do on the playing fields.
The best way to handle easy money is to not spend it, but there are
those sad tales that reflect mind boggling abuse of cash. Like the player
with the New Orleans Saints who owned eight cars at one time. “That
makes sense,” quarterback Archie Manning cracked. “That way he gets
fleet coverage with his auto insurance.”
A player shows up for “work,” and he is pampered throughout the
day. No cost for food and drink. There is smorgasbord dining in the locker
room from the time a player shows up and is available until he leaves at the
end of the day.
The payout for the players on the winning Super Bowl team this year
will be $157,000. Nice pay for a day’s work, especially when you consider
that only 15.5 per cent of Americans annually make between $100,000 –
When kids are on campus, they must work to keep up their grades for
eligibility requirements and time spent on the practice field is demanding
But think about what they have beyond the headlines. Most of all,
they get a free education if they want it. Unfortunately, too many don’t give
that opportunity priority. There has never been a greater tradeoff in U. S.
history than for a kid to play a sport and get a free education in return.
Let’s not lose sight of that wonderful circumstance.
Then there is free medical and free dental for athletes on scholarship.
They get a clothing allowance and a travel allowance. Cost of attendance
consideration means that they make at least $10,000 a year for playing
Then there are the Pell grants which for kids who come from tough
economic backgrounds, are given compensation to make sure they never
have to worry about the basics from Sunday night supper to toothpaste.
Then there is the latent name, image and likeness development
which brings about more financial opportunity. Who has it better on a
college campus today than a football player? It is the same for basketball
players and athletes in other sports.
There are players out there who are advocating for free agency for
college athletes. There are some who want to turn college programs into a
franchise type function.
While I am not sure where we are going, I know that I will never
accept such a concept. We need to make sure that the classroom remains
part of the process.
We should never lose sight of the fact that while times have changed
and we have had to make serious adjustments, it still resonates with many
of us that photos of our Saturday heroes decked out in their letter jackets
and walking the campus with books in hand and a pretty coed keeping
them company is a scene that should always be a constant.
Maybe we should remind ourselves of what the Ivy League did years
ago. They did away with athletic scholarships, but they still have football.
Harvard versus Yale is still a big deal. I have taken the T from downtown
Boston out to Cambridge for the big game.
The players were eager to perform for alma mater. The band had as
much gusto and enthusiasm as bands on any campus across the country.
The cheerleaders were delightfully fresh-faced and the cheering was as
lusty as it is in Athens, Tuscaloosa, Ann Arbor, Eugene, Lubbock, Austin
I certainly am advocating that, but I would much prefer that over free
agency and collegiate franchises. It is time for sanity to rear its most valuable head.