Earlier this week, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence told the media he is not worried about his professional career right now because he enjoys being in college.
“It is cool that people that are playing football have to stay for three years,” he said. “In other sports, like basketball, they can leave after a year. I think it is good that we can stay three years at least. We get to make a lot of friends and experience a lot of cool things.
“So, I definitely love being in college.”
While Lawrence is enjoying college life, Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger is concerned he is not getting paid enough for being a college athlete. The Sugar Bowl MVP posted on Twitter Thursday evening a series of condescending tweets comparing college football to an unpaid internship.
I am not going to get into the debate of whether a college athlete should get paid or not. I understand Ehlinger is showing support for Congressman Mark Walker’s proposal. But does he really have it as bad as he tries to make it sound?
If the Texas quarterback hates playing college football for “free” then he can quit and go get paid. He has that option.
He can play semi-pro football now. He can go get paid and then take his chances in a few years and try to make it in the NFL when he is eligible.
Granted there is a risk for college athletes and college athletics is bigger than it ever has been, but what about the joys of being in college and getting a free education? I know college is not for everybody, but those guys don’t have to come to college now. If they want to get paid right now, then go get paid.
But don’t act like they are so mistreated as Ehlinger is suggesting they are. I am sure there are a lot of full-time college students that would love the benefits Ehlinger gets in his unpaid internship compared to the ones they get with their unpaid internship.
Also, what about playing the game for the love of the game?
Last year, Clemson defensive linemen Christian Wilkins, Clelin Ferrell and Austin Bryant all decided to return to Clemson for one more season so they could play together one more year and possibly help their team win a national championship.
They all turned down the opportunity to make millions of dollars in the NFL to come back and play college football for “free.” Wilkins and company never spoke out about their thoughts on if college athletes should get paid, but they did speak out about why the chose to return to college for one more year.
They all loved being in college. They loved playing college football and they loved their teammates and coaches. Like their young quarterback, they were not as concerned about the all-mighty dollar as Ehlinger seems to be.
The final result … they all won a second national championship and are now considered first- and second-round draft picks in April’s NFL Draft. By the way, they also graduated and if professional football does not work out for them, they have something to fall back on.
I am not saying Clemson’s defensive linemen would not like to have been paid while in school because I don’t know that answer. However, what I do know is that neither one of those guys made a political statement about such when they had all the opportunity in the world to do so.
Lawrence had the opportunity to do so earlier this week. But he chose to talk about how much he loves playing college football and being in college.
It just goes to show what Clemson players and head coach Dabo Swinney have been saying for years, the culture in the Clemson football program is just different than most places.
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