From The Inbox

Pay for play in college? Not so fast, my friends

Economics lesson lasts a lifetime

So, Titleist wants to pay a college kid some money while he/she is attending school (“California pokes NCAA’s golden goose,” Sept. 24). What’s the problem? If McDonald’s had wanted to pay me during my college days, there would have been zero discussions.

The NCAA is a huge part of what is wrong with our colleges today. It costs a gazillion dollars to attend, massive student loans cripple our kids, bankruptcy does not absolve student loans, and our kids are getting brainwashed with “America is evil” propaganda. What the heck happened?

I graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1976 with a civil-engineering degree. The cost was $1,000 per semester, which included out-of-state tuition, a dorm room, and all meals except on Sunday night. So, essentially $2,000 per year times four years, for a total of $8,000 to get a degree with which one could make a decent living. I had a football scholarship for three years, so all but $2,000 was paid by Arkansas. I tallied up the hours spent for a year on the football practice field, plus games played, training, weightlifting, etc., and divided this lump sum into $2,000 per year, and it came to $2.15 per hour, which was the wage at McDonald’s at the time. Literally, instead of playing football, I could have put myself through college working at McDonald’s. This is not an embellishment.

Back in the 1970s, you had a possibility of getting burned by hot coffee at McDonald’s, but invasive knee surgery and concussions were 100-percent guaranteed by playing Southwest Conference wishbone football for four years. I blame my parents for misguided life coaching, even though dad did want me to become a large-animal vet. I had no sons, but my three grandsons are not playing football. They are playing golf.

Today, annual costs are roughly $25,000 in-state and $50,000 out-of-state to attend the University of Texas, which in the 1970s as a Dallas resident would have been cheaper for me than Arkansas. Today, Ivy League colleges start at $60,000 per year.

From the 1970s to today, I will concede a three-times inflation factor. Yet, college-attendance costs have had a 10-times inflation factor in 40 years. What happened? Kids were given free money to attend college through student loans supplied and backed by the federal government. College facilities and salaries prospered from the billions of loan-dollar income via student loans.

One would think colleges would be grateful and teach our kids great life skills so that paying back the loans would be effortless. That did not happen, nor did it ever have a chance to happen with free money. Instead, colleges failed to do their part, and even worse, felt entitled. Accountability is not part of the entitlement mentality. Anybody who has a different point of view is a “deplorable.” This is what colleges teach our kids.

Colleges should pay off all student loans for useless degrees.

Free money with zero accountability breeds entitlement, and entitlement breeds contempt.

Andrew J. Walters
Duluth, Ga.

Unintended consequences?
What would happen if a can’t-miss college player, who competes for a school that is provided with Manufacturer A’s equipment, wants to sign a lucrative image deal with Manufacturer B’s ball? (“California pokes NCAA’s golden goose,” Sept. 24).

If the school blocks it because of its contract with A, does the player sue the school that is providing him or her with a full scholarship because the school is denying him or her the right to income provided by the law?

Charlie Jurgonis
Fairfax, Va.

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