If you’re a sports fanatic chances are you caught ESPN’s 30-for-30 “Broke” last night. The documentary took a look at professional athletes’ financial woes after, or sometimes even during, their career. It didn’t matter what league it was or how long they played, the majority of athletes are broke just a few years after their playing days are over.
Reasons for the broke-athlete epidemic ranged from their social background all the way to blaming the surrounding parties of the athlete(agent, adviser, entourage). However, what was only touched on for a few brief moments was a way to fix or prevent the problem from ever happening.
Professional leagues already have rookie symposiums available to incoming waves of paid athletes. But where exactly is the NCAA and academic institutions during all of this. What, if any, role and or responsibility do they have to athletes they use for millions of dollars, only to be spit out of the safety of college after the player’s value has been squeezed to its very dry end?
Considering the NCAA is already busy deciding what their jurisdiction is and how badly their credibility has fallen, nobody should look to them for any problem solving ideas. But the universities don’t get off that easy.
As long as you’re a student-athlete playing a major money making sport(football, basketball) the school you’re playing for will make sure you get by for your 4 years of eligibility. Unfortunately, in more cases then not, after your eligibility runs out the school no longer needs(wants) anything from you. As a student-athlete that has invested 4 years in a money grab for a university, all your left with is a degree and very little direction on how to handle the upcoming obstacles of being a professional athlete.
Most schools don’t offer a general “check balancing” course, let alone any kind of lessons where a potential pro-athlete can learn how to handle the money and fame that’s about to come their way. This leaves the athlete in a position to fail.
I don’t think it’s a stretch to ask any university on any level to offer some form of general day-to-day life courses to ANY student going to their school. While such popular courses as “Organismic Biology” are offered, their everyday practices are far less practical then teaching someone how to handle a checkbook.
While most people watched the 30-for-30 for the train wreck that is athletes that made millions of dollars going broke, it’s actually not a surprise any of this is happening.
While it might get more hits for your blog, bring more viewers to your network, and more listeners to your radio show, the broke-athlete isn’t a subject that should be laughed at. When these athletes make their millions they are literally just kids. Imagine what you would do with 2 million in the bank at 21 years of age. If you’re not blowing it on booze, loose women, and good times, you sir are a liar or a priest.
Universities are supposed to be places of “higher learning”, what they’ve become is a business. Instead of these academic institutions using young people to make money maybe they should (at least) help them know how to keep theirs.
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