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Money or Degree? That is the Question by Todd Fountaine

When an inner city male is blessed with an athletic ability, the first thing that is thought about is them being able to do it at a professional level. The thought of making it to the pros is just as delightful as making it to heaven. But, in most cases before he hits the pro level, he has to go to college, hopefully on a scholarship in order to cultivate his talent and learn the fundamentals of his sport. Some may view it as a way to achieve a higher education and gain some much needed experience. Colleges send recruiters out to high schools all over the country to woo and sway potential star athletes to attend their schools. They promise the best athletic programs with academics being a distant second on the list. If a high school student is fortunate enough to get chosen to attend the school of their choice, it seems like the battle is partially won. Here is the catch.

Most big time universities with these great sport programs make so much money off of these athletes that the free tuition given by the scholarships is nothing but a drop in the bucket. If an athlete has gained national attention after a year or two, and pro sport teams are trying to court them, they have one of the biggest decisions to make. Do they stay and get their four year degree or do they leave and go for the big money in the pro league? Keep in mind, education is important, but being poverty stricken can alter a person's mind. While the schools rake in tons of money from TV, merchandising, and other marketing ventures; the athletes economic status doesn't change.

Now you may say the potential to make lots of money will come after they graduate. But, what happens if the athlete is injured? What happens to their hopes and dreams when they are no longer able to perform at the highest level? I'll tell you what happens. They are discarded like anything else that is no longer a valuable commodity. If the money is being offered after a guy's first year, I feel he should take the offer and finish school in the off season. These schools are pimping these kids and draining every drop of talent they can get as long as they are healthy. If the ultimate goal is to get themselves out of unfavorable economic conditions, then they have to think smart and go with the choice with better odds. It's their passion for the sport that drives them, but it's ignorance as to how cruel life can be that will be their down fall.

Published July 15, 2010

More by Todd Fountaine ...

  • Why We Do the things We Do? November, 2009

  • Marriage Business, Is it love or trust? December, 2009

  • The State of Black Folks in America January 15, 2010

  • Are we trying to get to heaven, or stay out of hell? March 15, 2010

  • Club Etiquette 
  • April 1, 2010

  • Sex in the Workplace                   
  • May 15, 2010

  • June 15, 2010

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