Ripped From the Headlines #2

An article on CNN stated that on Tuesday the NCAA proposed that athletes receive unlimited meals and snacks. Shabazz Napier, a star player from UCONN told reporters that he sometimes goes to bed “starving” because he can’t afford food. Mary Mulvenna, a Legislative Council chairwoman stated they were taking action to provide student athletes with meals.

Get a job?  LOL.  I'll just wait for my millions.

Get a job? LOL. I’ll just wait for my millions.

Uh, what about other students? Regular kids don’t go to bed hungry? Or are they not as important as student athletes? I am not going to get into the age-old argument about student athletes and whether they actually earn their grades. I realize these students are accepted to a particular school to do one thing: play sports. I understand sports is big business and it’s not going to change any time soon. I also love sports too.

What I don’t understand is why the athlete (or celebrity) is so important. Why are they idolized? Why are they special? Because they are talented at throwing a ball, running or jumping? Why aren’t genius kids given unlimited meals? A genius has to eat too. If there’s a grad student working on an innovative method to reduce dependence on oil, why doesn’t he get to eat free? Rhodes scholars? Fulbright scholars? Nobel Prize candidates?

Shabazz Napier is a senior at University of Connecticut. He led his team to win the 2K Sports Classic Title and was named the Tournament MVP. He also was a candidate for the Wooden Award, Bob Cousy Award, and Naismith Award (all sports awards). UCONN Huskies defeated Kentucky for the championship in 2014. Napier was named Most Outstanding Player. (Source: Wikipedia)

Lindsay Lee, a Rhodes Scholar, is a senior at University of Tennessee, Knoxville with double majors in Mathematics and Spanish. She has done research at the National Institute of Mathematical and Biological Synthesis. She volunteers for the homeless at a children’s hospital. She has been diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. (Source:

Without referring to either student’s economic situation, who gets to eat free?

You know what? Forget them. Who cares about awesome basketball player and/or a student who wants to develop a fair and reasonable method for healthcare? Both of them are probably on scholarships anyway.

Can any of you throw a 60-yard spiral?  No?  That's why those bowls are empty.

Can any of you throw a 60-yard spiral? No? That’s why those bowls are empty.

What about elementary school kids going to bed hungry? According to an article in Forbes Magazine, the USDA suggests that 1 in 1000 children is hungry on a daily basis.  Some might have deadbeat parents, but a 9-year old child cannot do much to change his fortune. He can’t work, but a college student athlete can. Yes, I know he has to practice and go to class, but the struggle is real and every day all able-bodied working folk have to hustle. You know what college student athlete can do that a 9-year old can’t? He can also take out a loan—just like millions of other college students. Understand me—I absolutely loathe student loans and would never want anyone to go into debt, but that is the nature of our university system. Twenty-two year old kid trying to get ahead in life took out a loan to finance his medical degree. Mister Hot-Shot Basketball Kid can’t take out a loan to eat?

Created a feasible and affordable vaccine for HIV.  Discovered definitively the secret of the universe.  Pays for his own meals.

Created a feasible and affordable vaccine for HIV. Discovered definitively the secret of the universe. Pays for his own meals.

I’m only trying to figure out why the athlete gets special treatment. Twenty-two year old working on his medical degree could end up something as simple as being my general practitioner. Or, he could end up doing something amazing as curing a devastating disease. College basketball kid could play through college, have a good time, graduate and move on. Or he could end up in the pros. Don’t both deserve equal opportunities to follow their dreams?

I’m not really concerned about able-bodied adults, whether they can sing, dance, shoot hoops or do math problems. Everyone who has a dream should go for it, but realize you might have to take a detour in order to do what needs to be done.  Shabazz Napier and Lindsey Lee will probably go on to excellent careers in their respective fields.  Both of them, and everybody in between can get their own meals.  When we take care of the 1 in 1000 children starving daily, then you can talk to me about some basketball player.


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