Who Cares?

by kpmautner

1. On the front page of the Atlanta paper for the last couple of weeks has been guess what?  Ebola? Syria? ISIL? Ukraine?

Wrong on all counts.

Taking center stage in the “most important things in our lives” category is the NCAA’s hissy-fit about a University of Georgia athlete who took money for an autograph. Gee. Apparently this is not the first time this has happened.  Double gee.

I have many, many issues with this.

1. “Student-athletes” is an oxymoron and a waste of oxygen.  The athletes who take football scholarships to fund their college education are not getting a college education – they are participating in the NFL’s version of baseball’s farm team system.  Instead of calling it what it is, the NFL is getting free training for its budding professional players.  And the NCAA is milking this for all it’s worth.

Under NCAA rules, a “student-athlete” gets $100,000 education, room and board in exchange for his “valuable” services on the field.  He may accept NO other forms of payments (cars, drugs, girls, endorsement contracts, payment for autographs all have to wait until he’s formally part of the NFL (should he be that lucky). The NCAA sort of polices this – mostly by one school squealing on another about violations (true kindergarten-recess behavior).

Quick fix:  get these “student-athletes” out of the collegiate system and into a farm league where they belong. Alternately: hold “student-athletes” responsible for the same curriculum and grade-point standards to which their less-fortunate brethren and sistern are held. No special-ed classes, no private tutors (unless they pay out of pocket for them), no “just let it slide” attitude from the head of the Alumni Association so that a star player can play even though he hasn’t shown up for class all year and missed the final.

2.  My gripe number two:  paying for celebrity autographs.  Period.  I see this at DragonCon every year, where the Big  Name Stars (stage, screen, television, print) charge exorbitant fees for the privilege of an autograph or a photo op.  Even more so with sports stars, who won’t sign anything unless the fan  forks over a wad of bills. Yes, in a free-market economy the law of supply and demand rules, but still!!!

What irritates me most is the fact that WHO MADE THESE PEOPLE FAMOUS?  Who put money in their purses?  Why, the fans who bought tickets to the movie, to the show, to the game.  Where do the actors and players think that their retirement funds came from?  And to have the gall to demand yet more money for the privilege of having their autographs?  Bah humbug.  I vowed long ago never, ever, to pay someone to sign something for me.  If they weren’t gracious and savvy enough to realize that my wallet contributed, however little, to their success, then I’m not interested. The writers (and the one star) I respect enough to ask for autographs give them freely.

Which brings me to the hypocrisy of the whole situation:  this college student (well supposedly, although judging from the reports I get from local educators he hasn’t taken much – if any – advantage of the “student” part of “student-athlete”) asked for payment for an autograph.  My first question is: how can you be so stupid?  You know the NCAA rules on taking payments.  Second:  how can you be so arrogant  as to assume that you’re above the rules, or that you wouldn’t be caught?

Although, the more I think about it, res ipsa loquitur.