Stanfords Superstar tailback, 2017 Heisman Trophy runner-up, and 2018 Heisman Trophy hopeful Bryce Love is the latest big-time college football player to embarrass himself and his university with his scandalous off-the-field behavior.
Love was a no-show at Pac-12 Media Day, which he skipped so he could go to class.
Thats right. Class.
Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports reports that Love, a human biology major, excused his Media Day absence by saying he is trying to graduate in December. Hence, he made the unwise choice of signing up for more summer classes. And hence, he decided that going to class was more important than actually being at Pac-12 Media Day. He Skyped in, but that just isnt the same.
Has the world gone so insane that a student at one of the worlds great universities draws criticism for skipping Media Day so he can go to class?
Shouldnt this be the one thing, perhaps, a student-athlete can do that cant draw criticism? More generally, if theres any truth to the idea of the student-athlete, Love should be applauded and held up by Stanford as an exemplar of the campus intellectual culture. The University of Chicago takes it as a point of pride that it once demolished a football stadium and built a library on the site. Our Heisman hopeful skipped media day to go to class will probably be part of Stanfords recruiting pitch someday. Im stunned, though, that his decision to skip media day so he can go to class is called a bad precedent.
The big money sportsfootball and mens basketballare big business, and theres nothing inherently wrong with that. There is something wrong with the fact that the players arent paid what theyre worth. As the economist Damon Jones (a Stanford grad) put it on Twitter, You demand professionalism, pay professional salaries.
Yes, a full ride to Stanford is very nice, but Bryce Love is worth millions of dollars to the University. And Nick Saban is great and all, but one of the main reasons the University of Alabama pays him so much is his ability to convince people to work for him for...not quite free, but close to it.
I enjoy college footballits surprisingly easy, as an Alabama gradand other college sports. Ill be there with everyone else wondering first who my beloved Crimson Tides quarterback is going to be: Jalen Hurts, 2016 SEC Offensive Player of the Year, or phenom Tua Tagavailoa, who threw a perfect touchdown pass to win the national championship game and who as of a few days ago was tied with Love as Heisman Trophy betting favorites? Ill argue about why the committee made the right decision by picking Alabama over Ohio State in the College Football Playoff last year (protip: if you want a title shot, dont get blown out at home by one of the playoff teams and later lose by 31 points to a team that finishes 8-5). Ill hope against hope that the Samford Bulldogs beat Florida State on September 8, and Ill make the arrangements my student-athletes and Mock Trial participants and Debaters and others at Samford need to excel on the field and off.
I wont, however, be surprised or upset when a student-athlete puts the student part first. Ill applaud when student-athletes do what they need to do to get the job done in the classroom first. And furthermore, Ill cheer loudest when athletes like Bryce Love, Jalen Hurts, and Tua Tagavailoa are the ones getting rich off their on-field performance.
|Art Carden is a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute and an Associate Professor of Economics at Samford Universitys Brock School of Business.|