California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

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College Athletes Will Accept Bribes Until Paid

Players from the University of Alabama are amoung those in hot water over bribes.

Well, it’s happened again.

After Ohio State’s debacle this off-season in trading Buckeye memorabilia for tattoos, the University of Alabama is now dealing with a similar situation.

For the past two weeks current Alabama football player Trent Richardson has been seen in now deleted Facebook photos signing Crimson Tide memorabilia at T-town Menswear.

The autographed items were then displayed in the Tuscaloosa clothing store, which is just a few miles away from the University of Alabama, according to

Much of the merchandise that Richardson, and many other former Alabama football players signed was then put up for sale at the mall where the store is located and online.

This story is just breaking and there is no official investigation yet, but it’s causing quite a stir on the internet.

My question: What’s the big deal?

Richardson, and every other NCAA college football player, are semi-celebrities to college football fans around the country.

But for the entertainment that they provide, they get nothing in return during their college career, except for an education.

For the student athletes playing at the division I level in big programs, football is life.

During the season they are constantly at practice, flying across the country for games, in the weight room, etc.

The college football season ends in January and starting in April players are back to spring practice, where the cycle starts all over again.

It’s kind of tough to have a job outside of school and football.

You could even argue that football IS their job.

According to the University of Alabama, the Tide’s total athletic revenue for the 2009-2010 seasons was $129.3 million.

With football being uncontestably Alabama’s most popular export, you can say with confidence that the boys on the gridiron brought in a hefty chunk of that income.

Yet it is wrong for players to sign autographs for non-monetary perks?

It is yet to be determined whether or not Trent Richardson or any other Alabama football player received anything from T-Town Menswear, but look no further than Terrell Pryor and Ohio State for a perfect example.

Pryor and some of his teammates signed autographs and received tattoos in return.

All the players were suspended for five games.

Their coach, Jim Tressel, was fired, and it looks as if Pryor’s college career is done.

All of that for giving away an item that belonged to them with a signature, and in return receiving a tattoo.

Not cash.

These players, most of whom don’t have time to hold jobs outside of school, who earn millions of dollars for their school, are penalized for being given a tattoo?

What is the difference between that and say, a high school football player being given a discount at the local deli?

Is that harmless?

We’re not talking about the Reggie Bush situation, where his family was given a house to live in and other perks such as cars.

It’s a tattoo.

Let’s be realistic, shall we?

To me there are a few simple solutions.

You can either drop all these petty rules that don’t allow players to trade their possessions for small items or services, or pay the players a small chunk of the millions and millions of dollars that they are helping earn.

Not the NFL millions, but how about about minimum wage?

Until one of these changes (or any other ideas NCAA official can come up with) happen, we will continue to see stories about student athletes receiving illegal benefits from somebody, whether it’s the school, an agent, or a local business owner.

It’s clear there is a problem.

Now it just needs to be fixed.

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College Athletes Will Accept Bribes Until Paid