The shocking truth behind the Cam Newton scandal
… the even more shocking truth behind the hypocrisy underneath the NCAA criminal exploitation of child labor for hundreds of millions of dollars.
… and the even greater hypocrisy of the sanctimonious university presidents who control the NCAA, and thereby deliberately foster this exploitation of child labor for these millions of dollars of profit for their university
And not just ordinary labor, but hard labor … and worse than that. It is a labor that is life crippling and life threatening. At least 25-50% of college football players get injured playing football, and spend the rest of their lives disabled from a knee injury, a shoulder injury, spinal and brain injury, and though rarely, sometimes as a paraplegic, or pay even with their lives.
I was not even 20 years old, still in my teens, when I had three major operations (foot, knee, and 6-inch pins put in my shoulder, the same day as the legendary pitcher Ted Williams had the same operation with pins put in his shoulder, see below), and two serious concussions, all of which plagued me for the rest of my life. (I later was to have one more major operation and concussion before I stopped playing football.)
I will never forget the shock I received when I had to take a pay cut from the amount of money I was receiving to play college ball to go into the pros, to join the camp of the then Chicago Cardinals professional team.
I had to take a pay cut from $20,000 a year to $15,000 when I went to play professional football.
Every society and every civilization known to man has had to keep a constant vigilance against the corruption inherent in its institutions, inherent because its institutions were run by human beings who list among their human frailties greed and the lust for power. First and foremost among
How do I know this? Because I was a full participant in it, first as a 17 year old high school football player who was paid under the table money to go to school – called a “scholarship” – and then as a payer of secret and disguised ways of paying college athletes to go to a school I felt an obligation to help.
First, as a player.
First, I was paid through what is hypothetically called a “scholarship” to go to
My first “job” at
But that’s not all. I was also granted four roundtrip train tickets from the University to my home for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and the summer holiday … and there’s more. The clothing store! I was allowed to go to a clothing store of a booster and receive a suit, a jacket, two pairs of slacks, two sweaters, and an outdoor coat or jacket – for free. (Clothing stores seem to always play a role in this disguised, under-the-table cash payment as I’ll explain in a moment.)
All in all, the amount of money I was being paid by the university to play football for them totaled $20,000 in 1950 dollars! But my roommate, who was one of the most highly sought after high school All Americans, got much more. He got everything I got, plus, plus, his dad was given a job as a janitor in a steel mill in
And the hypocrite running the NCAA and university system hypocritically insists they don’t pay athletes.
But I was offered even more to transfer to the
I met with the head coach and the assistant coach offensive coordinator under the stadium at
The coaches asked me where I was going to live after I got out of college – in
A few weeks later I was flown to
I was later offered a “better” deal to transfer to
In addition to all the other lucrative perks of my two previous scholarships, I got a real job – or sort of. I was given the job of cleaning up a very successful tavern right across the street from the campus. I’d go in at 8-9:00 in the morning, clean the place up, and restock the refrigerators, and everything else that needed restocking. It paid extremely well, but it was real work – except I didn’t always do it. Because it paid so well, I was able to hire other guys to take my place and clean it up while I slept in, still getting paid as if I was doing all the work.
Oh, yeah! Another perk. I was allowed to take a couple of cases of beer a week out of the stock room and go to local liquor stores and have my pretty girlfriend go in and tell the clerk this was left over from a wedding and could she turn it in for cash? It worked every time.
And then I went into the camp of the Chicago Cardinals’ professional team, now the Arizona Cardinals. There I had to take a pay cut. The starting salary – and you’re not going to believe this – was a mere $15,000, a serious drop from the approximately $20,000 I was being “paid” to play college ball. Johnny Lujack, the superb all-pro of the Chicago Bears, was the highest paid pro football player in those days at – believe it or not - $25,000 a year.
(An interesting “scholarship” anecdote about my boyhood friend, Harvey Keene, who went on to become an all-star for the Detroit Tigers, and later, a manager of the Milwaukee Brewers, playing in the World Series championship – affectionately known as “Harvey’s Wallbangers”.
(We went to grade school a few blocks apart, and while in high school,
And that is what I learned just on the receiving end of the disgusting, hypocritical way universities cheat their college athletes out of a fair salary to exploit them to make tens of millions of dollars a year for their universities off the backs of these kids, many of whom get injured, and some even crippled for life, earning that immoral lucre for the university presidents.
Now the other side of the coin – my wife and my experience as “boosters,” people playing the under-the-table game of finding sophisticated ways of paying college athletes without being caught, such as “hiring” them to give lessons to our children and friends, hiring them as extras on movies and TV shows where they could earn as much as $500-$1,000/week depending on the “business” they were given to do, and that is for both male and female athletes, in not only football, basketball, tennis, etc.
An example that will make this clear happened to me when I was trying to help our friend, Dick Vermeil, then the coach of UCLA, later the pro-bowl coach of the St. Louis Rams, to recruit a highly sought running back from Ohio w ho went on to be a collegiate All-American and an All-Pro. Though Delores and I were both sitting on the Chancellor’s Committee at UCLA, I had an absolute rule on being asked to recruit a player, whether it be a football, basketball, tennis player, whatever. I would take the kid aside and tell them man-to-man – or in Delores’ case, woman-to-woman – while we would love them to come to UCLA, that didn’t matter, and they should not take that into consideration in making their decision. The only thing that mattered is what was in their best interests, what they wanted to do, and where they got the most beneficial home for their college education.
After telling them this, this heavily recruited high school All-American, confided in me he had already decided on
There are hundreds of ways boosters can get money to players without being caught, without breaking the rules.
A typical way is to hire them for dozens of different jobs and pay them, in cash, under the table, an outrageous sum of money above and beyond what you would pay someone else to do the same job. For example, every Saturday we had between 30-50 friends for an afternoon of tennis, a beautiful buffet, and an evening movie. We’d hire athletes as lifeguards to watch the children in our small pool, where you would normally pay a college kid to do this $5/hour, for it required no lifeguard training because the adults were sitting all around the pool, we would pay them $25-$50/hour in cash.
To give an equal amount to women athletes, which was a demand of Delores’, we would pay the tennis players $100/hour to give lessons to our kids, or to our friends, some of whom were very famous movie stars or sports stars. Usually, with the stars, the lessons would last for ten minutes, and then they’d play “hit-and-giggle” doubles, as Evonne Goolagong called it.
A very lucrative way available in our business, and available in every other business – car business, construction business, retail store, plumbing business, etc. - has their own equally lucrative way of getting under-the-table money to athletes they are supporting – is to hire athletes as extras on movies or television shows. Extras get $50 to $100/day if they just are ordinary extras, but if they get what’s called a “piece of business,” like open the door for an actor, deliver a package, etc., they can make up to $1,000 or more a week – and if the director gives them a line, even to say “Thank you,” or “Here’s a call for you, Mr. Jones,” it can be a lot more. Of course, the surreptitious method of “extra” payment goes on forever in the country where movies and television shows are being shot, on location or in a studio.
The motive! Not just tens of millions of dollars, but hundreds of millions of dollars.
College sports, in every case football, and in big schools, basketball as well, make millions, to tens of millions, to hundreds of millions of dollars off of their football and basketball programs – millions of dollars they could never otherwise get from alumni.
A few years ago Notre Dame received over $100 million from NBC to televise nationally all Notre Dame games, and every other major college also has these outrageously lucrative television contracts they make to televise their game – not one dollar of which they would receive if they didn’t have 18, 19, and 20 year old kids out there risking their arms and legs, brutally damaging concussions, and even more damaging paralysis – dangerous, even life threatening, labor for comparative pennies, compared to the money the university receives for the show these kids put on, and without which the universities would receive nothing.
And there’s more, much more!
The TV windfalls do not take into account the oftentimes greater windfalls from ticket sales, concessions, parking fees, and merchandise sales.
If a major player has a stadium of 50-75,000 people, and the average ticket price for a big game is $60, that’s $3 million to $4.5 million per game – and that’s just from ticket sales. That doesn’t include the much more revenues from concessions, parking, programs, and memorabilia – and that’s per game. Some of the giant stadiums exceed 100,000 people (
Do you know how many alumni dinners or cocktail parties a university president would have to attend to raise just the amount of money he raises from just one Saturday’s football game? It’s not possible. He could spend years attending alumni dinners and luncheons every week, and he still couldn’t raise anywhere near the money he gets from just Saturday afternoon football games – from exploiting Saturday afternoons child labor, which is not as safe and secure as working in the cafeteria, or the bookstore, but from idealistic kids risking their lives and becoming permanently disabled so the self-righteous presidents can make these tens – even hundreds - of millions of dollars.
A way to see how much value university presidents put on their football and basketball programs is seen by looking at the salaries they pay their coaches, as opposed to the salaries they pay their top professors and teachers. At the smallest schools, football coaches salaries range from $150,000-$250,000. And at the major universities, they range from $1 million to $2 million and even more per year – and that does not include the very lucrative salaries they receive for hosting their own “Coach’s Corner” on the local radio and television programs.
At these same universities, the college presidents earn from $250,000 to a mere handful earning in the million dollar range. The average median pay in 2009 for 419 colleges and universities was $358,746, and Associate Professors and faculty earn an average of $50-$75,000 per year, and that’s at the bigger colleges and universities.
Using the magnificent principle, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” as our guide, we’re forced to ask the simple question of the NCAA officials, and the sanctimonious university presidents who reap these humungous profits from the labor of these kids, “Why not treat them as fairly and as lucratively as you treat yourselves?”
Why not pay them?
You’re paying them now in a way that allows you to pay them unconscionable amount of money for the fruits you reap of their labor, why not openly and fairly compensate them for the millions of dollars of profits they generate for you and your university – for the incredibly dangerous labor you exploit to reap millions, labor that could, on any play, at any second, result in a severe concussion, spinal injury, or destroyed knee that could disable them for the rest of their life?
You’re paying them now in the hypocritically disguised form of a scholarship, which is real cash being given to them to come and work for your university, scholarships for football players, and basketball players that are far more lucrative and filled with perks than the scholarships you give to science students, music students, or medical students – if you give them at all.
Why is it more honorable, moral, ethical, or even honest to pay them in the phony way of so-called scholarships instead of paying them a fair amount, an amount commensurate with the profits they generate for you by the fruits of their life-risking labor?
What could possibly be wrong with paying every one of the 60 members of the football team room, board, books, tuition, and student fees, not just for now, but for as long as they wish to attend the university, even after their playing days are over, and they wish to improve their chance of making a decent living? In addition, pay each member who makes the squad at least $1,000 a month. How can that possibly be wrong in view of the humongous profits their labor produces for you and your university?
This is a pittance to pay for the hundreds of millions of dollars a major football or basketball program generates for the university. For small schools, it would be, at most, a million dollars a year. For large schools, with a full 60-man scholarship roster, it could be up to $2 million a year. Less than the amount of money generated by one home game. And in some cases, not even half the amount of money generated at a home game.
Sticking to the greatest moral principle ever known to man, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” “Love your neighbor as thyself,” it’s time for university presidents and everyone involved in education everywhere to “do unto others” – student athletes – “as you would have them do unto you” – willingly and lovingly risk their lives to generate millions of dollars for you and the university or college they love.
Let’s get off the sanctimonious self-righteous attempt to indict Cam Newton when everyone involved in the university and every sports fan knows the real culprits are the NCAA and the university presidents who control it. Their sanctimonious pretense of shock at the still only alleged payment of this one grain of sand on an entire beach of presidential corruption, one snowflake in a raging blizzard of hypocrisy and lying by the NCAA and the university presidents has got to be exposed for what it is, and stopped once and for all. (Their sanctimonious, hypocritical shock and determination to “clean up this mess” has caused them to go to the astonishing length of calling in the FBI to investigate this absolute trivial and irrelevant incident.
(The FBI??? At a time when Al Quada is sending to synagogues time bombs into the United States on airplanes, these deceiving, two-faced presidents and officials of the NCAA asked the FBI to investigate an innocent kid, and possibly destroying his life for something that thousands and thousands of athletes all over this country are guilty of doing right now, and doing with the full knowledge and deliberate cathedral of lies and deceptions to continue to be able to savagely exploit these kids for their own and university’s profit.)
It’s time to pay these kids fairly, and put an end to the elaborate criminal subterfuge and pretense that college is not an extremely profitable farm system for the professionals, to put an end to the cathedral of deception and duplicity designed for the sole purpose of taking advantage and exploiting the labor of desperate, innocent kids, in many cases trying to crawl their way out of poverty and desperation, and restore the college athletic system to a meaningful integrity and clean stepping stone for young men and women to get an education, and more if their talent deserves it.
Pay the kids now.
Note: I had two six inch pins screwed into my broken shoulder the same day and date as Hall of Fame slugger, Ted Williams, had pins put in his shoulder. A week later, I was still in my sling, slowly and gently moving my hands in the sling just to wash my face, when Ted Williams went out and hit three for five in a Sunday game. In the press conference afterwards, he was asked how he could do that with these pins still sticking out of his shoulder. Ted said, “Well, it hurt!” I then realized that Ted Williams, as Joe DiMaggio said was the greatest striker of the baseball that ever lived, on that day he became, to me, the toughest baseball that ever lived.