Story by: Chris Washington
Every Saturday, from the beginning of September all the way until early December, millions of Americans attend college football games. Millions of others, who don’t make it to the games, watch them on television. However, the difficulties that these student-athletes face while attempting to juggle two full-time jobs is often ignored.
An average workday for a collegiate football player is typically not considered luxurious. After a six-o-clock conditioning session, a player will generally have to attend approximately three hours of classes. However, it isn’t necessarily the classes that give players a tough time; it is the fact that the player must fit the conditioning, along with the classes, into their schedule before one-o-clock, at which point they would be preparing for another 4 hours of practice and meetings.
A general defense, and common misconception that is often attributed to student-athletes, especially football players, is the idea that athletes live like kings on campus. Chandler Johnson, a wide receiver for the University of Utah football team, didn’t agree with that.
“People always think that professors just hand out passing grades and that athletes drive nice cars and have plenty of money, but in all reality that couldn’t be more false”, Johnson said.
According to Johnson, not only do many professors treat athletes in a stricter manner, due to the perception that football players might be expecting unearned grades, but a lot of players have less money than regular students.
Johnson elaborated by saying, “Most students have time to get a job when they are short on cash, but we don’t even have time to get jobs, so we basically just have to live off of the $910 scholarship check that we get every month.”
Sam Brenner, an offensive guard for the Utah Utes, believed that things like weight demands can make it even harder to live comfortably off of the $910 monthly check.
“We are expected to weigh a certain amount every week, some players are told to gain like 50 or 60 pounds, so we pretty much have to spend around 300 dollars of our money every month on food. If you add rent and things like that into the equation, before you know it your whole check is gone”, explained Brenner.
Things like this are often not thought about when millions of people are enjoying their favorite team’s triumphs on the field.
Fortunately it is possible to gain perspective from both the student-athlete’s side, as well as the experiences of the regular students on campus.
“I’m not sure what life is like for football players, but I would imagine it is probably not that great other than when they are playing in games and signing autographs”, said Liz Anderson, a student at the University of Utah.
Anderson went on to explain how she has time to go to school full-time and also work as much as she needs to.
Despite Universities bringing in millions of dollars on the player’s behalf, athletes everywhere often struggle, both mentally and financially.
Although life can be very difficult for a college football player, it is a life that each player signed up for completely of his own free will.
The good news is that life is not all frowns for these guys. There are numerous benefits to playing football at such an elite level. Sam Brenner explained how gratifying the life of a college football player can be, by saying,
“Even though there are times when it’s hard, at the end of the day I am doing what I dreamed of as a child. That’s all that really matters to me.”
With the possibility of college players being paid to play in the future, people like Sam Brenner might be the last of a dying breed.