Deadspin’s Barry Petchesky has a good take on Jadaveon Clowney, arguing that he shouldn’t play another down in college. Like others, he notes that Clowney watched his teammate, running back Marcus Lattimore likely cost himself significant future earnings due to injuries suffered while playing college ball so that Steve Spurrier could keep pulling in five million a year.
The piece includes some tweets from Coach Spurrier, thanking Clowney for all the money he’s made the school and for coming to SC at all. Spurrier’s no dummy – if he wants to recruit players of Clowney’s talent in the future, these are the right things to say.
Most interesting, though, was this exchange in comments:
So he won’t be attending the school anymore then correct? While you can debate the value of the scholarship in comparison to what the school makes from the athlete, the fact remains that he was given a scholarship in exchange for playing for the school. If he’s going to “shut it down” then he should be leaving campus and no longer attending classes correct? Tuesday 2:30pm
Right. I mean, why should a guy who’s personally brought in millions of dollars in revenue be permitted to retain the remainder of his roughly $20,000 resident scholarship? That mooch. Tuesday 2:57pm
I’m sure he’d really miss attending classes, and be very sad about the degree he wasn’t going to get anyway.
A scholly isn’t worth $20,000 just because a school says it is. Its value is whatever it’s worth to the person receiving it, which in the case of many big-time athletes, is zero. Tuesday 3:04pm
Petchesky’s last point is key. Whatever the scholarship costs the university (and as I’ve said before, many defenders of the NCAA greatly inflate those numbers), it doesn’t follow that the player receiving one is receiving much of any value. And when it comes to the recruitment of elite athletes, the scholarship doesn’t exist primarily to benefit the player. It exists to satisfy NCAA rules requiring that athletes attend school full time and meets what the NCAA defines as “approved compensation.” This isn’t a favor to the Clowneys of the world. It’s part of an elaborate fiction that allows the schools to insist that they are engaged in a great, noble mission while making boatloads of money and dispensing crumbs to those most responsible for the revenue generation.