College Football Players Weigh in on Life as a Student-Athlete

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.

Fantasy Football: A Positive Influence on Fans

Story by Alex Goff

Fantasy Football has become a huge part of today’s National Football League and it’s a great way for fans to become more involved with the NFL, even if there is no professional team in your state or hometown.

Chris Andrews, a fantasy football help line employee said, “Fantasy football gives everyone a chance to enjoy the NFL, it doesn’t matter how big of a fan you are because it’s not solely about the game, it’s about managing a team and playing against your friends or co–workers.”

Even people who don’t enjoy watching the sport can still participate.  Marquis Newman, a fantasy football expert and owner of five fantasy teams, said, “You don’t have to be the most knowledgeable football guru to know who the star players are, you just draft them and then hope you get lucky and they have a big year.”

The popularity of fantasy football has become so high that even ESPN has tailored some of their programs to appeal to the masses.  There are fantasy update shows such as fantasy football live that give viewers tips and hints about which players to start or bench.

Fantasy football has gotten to be such a big part of the NFL that people are even joining money leagues, where you have to pay to play and the winner of the league takes home a certain amount of money.  Newman said that he felt it was even more competitive when he thought of the money he could win.

Newman said, “It makes me want to watch every game, especially the ones where my big time players are playing.”

Colton Seely, a pharmacist in the state of Arizona and someone who had little knowledge of football before playing fantasy is now a statistics expert.  Seely said, “It’s almost like it’s not even about the football for me anymore, it’s like I’m playing a different game against my friends and it becomes much more enjoyable to watch the games.”

Andrews felt that people who play fantasy football are more prone to want to go to a live game, and he estimates that 50 percent of his calls are related to finding tickets for fans.  “People just want to go to games, it doesn’t matter if they like the team they’re watching or not, it matters that they’re watching their starting quarterback or their star running back,” Andrews said.

Fans in places like Utah who don’t have a professional team have been left out in a way.  There has never been an NFL team in Utah.  “That’s why I love it [fantasy football] so much, it helps me connect to teams more and really become a fan of specific NFL teams that before I really didn’t care for,” Newman said.

“I’m gonna do fantasy football every year, I look forward to playing when fall comes around and it’s fun to go out to a bar with a group of friends just to watch all the games,” Seely said.

Fantasy football has had a positive influence on fans so far because it helps everyone relate to the sport, anyone can sign up to play and you don’t need much knowledge of how football works, besides who the good players are.