Last night I was cut off and brought to a stop while getting on the highway from an on-ramp by a highway patrol motorcycle officer holding traffic for a passing motorcade. I excitedly arched my neck to see who was so important to deserve a police escort down an otherwise almost empty highway at 7:30 pm. Suddenly two large buses cruised by- I squinted my eyes in excitement and made out the lettering of the University of Kentucky's basketball program. Really, the University of Kentucky basketball team gets a police escort? Is this really necessary?
According to an e-mail from APD spokesman Carlos Campos "The SOS Commander informed me the escort in question was an 'off-duty' function — which means the requester is responsible for paying." Campos later explained to me over the phone that police escorts are approved on a case-by-case basis in which the "compelling interest is public safety" when approving an application. I feel safer now.
Being cut off by a police escort of student athletes just adds to my outrage at college athletics and the raw exploitation in big time college sports.
The College Football Assistance Fund reports that an average of 20,718 college football injuries occur each year, with over 3,774 knee injuries and that 10% of all college football players sustain brain injuries. The cost of these injuries can be hundreds of thousands of dollars a year and millions of dollars over the course of a lifetime. Meanwhile Coach Calipari, coach of the University Kentucky basketball team recently signed a contract that is worth 4,500,000 or about $30,000 for every ten minutes of game time that he coaches. And he is not even the highest paid college basketball coach in Kentucky, that distinction goes to Louisville's coach Rick Pitino who make 7.5 million dollars a year.
In comparison the University of Kentucky basketball players, who actually score the points, make the plays, and risk injury receive scholarships that include room, board and books roughly $22,000 a year for an out of state resident or $13,000 a year for an in state resident, according to the University of Kentucky Admissions office (the NCAA recently announced that conferences will be allowed to give student athletes an additional $2,000 a year to meet school costs).
Meanwhile big time college sports pulls in millions and millions and millions for the universities. The SEC currently has a contract with ESPN that pays them 2.2 billions dollars for television rights to their games and in 2011 the BCS distributed more than 165 million dollars to teams that played in the five BCS college football bowl games. It is reported that CBS pays 770 million dollars for broadcast rights to the NCAA basketball tournament. The Georgia Bulldogs football team earns between 40 and 80 million dollars in profits per year. All this money and the students who make the plays and take the risks get a college scholarship from which many of them are unable to benefit.
While scholarships are seemingly great for student athletes, their practice schedule and commitment to their sport rarely leave time for them to complete their school work. A recent study found that the University of Georgia's basketball team graduation rate was 43%, compared to the schools overall rate of 82%. Is this raw exploitation or what?
The "Road to the Final Four" comes through Atlanta this weekend with 2012 South Regional games featuring Xavier vs Baylor and Indiana vs Kentucky Friday night and the winners facing off Sunday. All games are being played at the Georgia Dome.
"Watch out for that odd bedfellow"
You could wake up with fleas!
Lucy is a little busy right now:
"Am I asking to much to hope for something like this?" Kowloon is what you…
Watch out for that odd bedfellow, Libby.
No loss. It wasn't that great.
Requiem for a Dream