Yesha Callahan

Should The NCAA Have Unions? UConn Champion Says He Goes To Bed Starving

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Last night, University of Connecticut held off Kentucky to win NCAA with a score of  60-54. That win became the school’s fourth NCAA men’s basketball national championship. But there’s one player making headlines today, and it’s not because of the win.

Shabazz Napier is added to the NCAA’s critics and supports of organized unions for college athletes when he recently told reporters he sometimes goes to bed “starving” because he can’t afford food, despite that UConn’s student-athlete guidelines include provisions for meal plans.

“We as student athletes get utilized for what we do so well. We are definitely best to get a scholarship to our universities, but at the end of the day, that doesn’t cover everything. We do have hungry nights that we don’t have enough money to get food and sometimes money is needed,” Napier told the Mirror. “I think, you know, Northwestern has an idea, and we’ll see where it goes.”

“He says he’s going to bed hungry at a time when millions of dollars are being made off of him. It’s obscene,” Lesser said. “This isn’t a Connecticut problem. This is an NCAA problem, and I want to make sure we’re putting pressure on them to treat athletes well.”

And millions is an understatement! How about over $700 million a year in revenue from team sports?

A basketball player is going to bed hungry. According to UConn’s student-athlete handbook students can eat in any residence hall between 7 a.m. and 7:15 p.m.

“If you live off campus and your grant-in-aid includes meals, you may use your stipend to purchase an on-campus meal plan. … This will entitle you to eat in any of the facilities,” the handbook states(PDF).

As someone pointed out in another comment section, a student meal plan only allows 3 meals. The food also cannot be removed from the cafeteria. With the practice and exercise athletes do on a daily basis, why would anyone think 3 meals a day is enough?

Let’s also take a look at what the coaches and the university gains from their players running a ball up and down a court.

From Think Progress:

  1. April 8, 2014 - Reply

    yep. ncaa been living large on free labor. & the schools aren’t innocent either, they get paychecks for the same jerseys & balls that have the school logo & admission fees to the games & on & on. millions of dollars change hands & all these kids have to show for it is a degree that don’t necessarily mean they learned anything over the 4 years b/c they get to take classes where you can turn in 1 paragraph as your whole semester’s work & walk away with an a- so they have more time for practice & exercise. & then you got all the osha violations. smh

  2. April 8, 2014 - Reply

    This is disgusting. I remember a Big 10 coach came under fire, probably a decade ago, for letting a basketball player stay with him because the kid didn’t have money. So not only are NCAA machine making money off of kids who may not come from rich backgrounds, they penalize people for trying to help them… I can’t help but think this has something to do with the relatively high number of lower-income black people that play collegge sports.

  3. April 8, 2014 - Reply

    This is similar to slavery. Making 10s of millions off of young men that don’t see a dime of that money. People say, “they get a free education.” Not really, the school wants them in basketball practice, not class. They don’t have time to work if they need more money. They’re taking advantage of mostly poor young men who come from families that can’t afford food.

  4. April 8, 2014 - Reply

    This kid can go cry me a freaking river. He is getting a full ride through college…something most blacks folks can only dream about….and all he has to do is shoot a damn ball through a hoop.

    Ain’t nothing “free” about his “labor.” It’s an even exchange of goods. He gets a free education (which isn’t cheap) and the opportunity to play ball…and hopefully go pro. The school gets publicity, endorsements etc from their ball team. Seems fair to me. He could be pushing a broom at the welfare office. He needs to count his blessing.

    If he is sitting around hungry he needs to blame mom and dad. When I was in college my parents were constantly sending me food and money. His parents dropped the ball here. If they are too poor to provide he can go apply for foodstamps. I knew people in college who were on foodstamps while getting their education.

    • April 8, 2014 - Reply

      @Ask_Me

      You can’t give someone a pittance AND keep them from going out and getting a job.

      .ooooosomething percent of all college athletes go pro. and what about the sports where there is no pro league, like women’s softball?

      and like the pp said, it’s not an education if they are getting their grades inflated and aren’t actually learning anything.

      • April 8, 2014 - Reply

        @myblackfriendsays

        A free college education is a “pittance” now? Try telling that to the black people who went to college, took out student loans, and find themselves heavily in debt and under/unemployed.

        Most colleges offer 3 meals a day: Breakfast, lunch and dinner. If that isn’t enough it’s on YOU and YOUR parents to pay for your meals.

        Again, there is foodstamps. Go get them.

        There is also work study.

        As for their education, these GROWN MEN need to take their FREE education seriously. They need to DEMAND MORE FOR THEMSELVES. They need to study, work hard, and major in something that will put them in a good employable field…like engineering.

        • April 8, 2014 - Reply

          @Ask_Me

          athletes can’t get food stamps. it’s against ncaa regulations. those kids aren’t allowed to do anything beyond what the school gives them. & a college education ain’t worth anything if you barely have time away from practice to actually learn something or even set up some job opportunities for after you graduate. you sound real angry about them getting a free ride for school, but if they get the right to be paid it would be a lot easier to get rid of athletic scholarships & have them pay for school the same way everybody else does. or put a cap on the scholarship amount & the number of yrs they can play for the school then that way they’ll still have money from those 4 yrs leftover to stay in school a 5th or 6th yr and actually learn something useful once they find out they won’t be going pro.

          • April 8, 2014 - Reply

            @Me

            If their parents are too poor to feed them, then their parents probably qualify for foodstamps. Mom and dad should be giving them money for extra food…not the school. Most schools offer 3 meals a day. What makes you or anyone else think it should somehow be different for college athletes???

            “Get the right to be paid”…you have the right be paid…when you go out and find yourself a JOB. These GROWN MEN could have easily focused more on their education…rather than sports…and sought an academic scholarship at a state school, HBCU, etc. where they would qualify for federal aid etc. They chose a division 1 school and they chose to pursue hoop dreams. They need to take responsibility for their choices.

            You cannot possibly defend GROWN MEN not taking their own education seriously. What undergraduate school do you know that wants its students for 5 and 6 years??? Do you have any idea what that would do for the reputation of the school?

            • April 8, 2014 - Reply

              @Ask_Me

              athletes don’t have the right to get a job. it’s against ncaa regulations. everything you’re saying is basically telling these kids to stop playing sports. everybody who goes to school w/o sports ain’t on scholarship. that’s why folks are complaining about student loans. schools are telling these kids they can go to school for free but barely learn anything & not earn their way through life for 4 years. AT LEAST they come out debt free after 4 yrs. meanwhile the schools come out millions of dollars richer. that should be a crime. especially since all the other students get the right to work study & be paid to work while on academic scholarships. these kids are working for the school for free & have no rights to be paid. meanwhile about those 5 & 6 yrs… alotta students have majors that take 5 yrs to complete. schools don’t care how long you’re there as long as they get paid. just like they don’t care if athletes go to class or learn anything as long as they make money.

              • April 8, 2014 - Reply

                @Me

                Again, athletes qualify for FOODSTAMPS (look it up). NCAA doesn’t prevent them receiving foodstamps, welfare, pell grants and federal aid. If they can’t work there are other options that others in college are taking advantage of (i.e., foodstamps).

                I’m sorry…I don’t have it in me to feel sorry for someone getting a FREE college education at a good school.
                He should try switching places with the numerous number of black people who are FORCED to work to pay for books, tuition, fees etc because pell grant wasn’t enough. He should walk in their shoes when they come out of school 40k in debt only to find themselves working a job that pays just above minimum wage. No one offered them a full ride scholarship despite the reality that they went to school, studied hard, and did what they needed to do in order to complete college in 4 years.

                If these dumbass athletes don’t learn anything in their 4 years of college that’s nobody’s fault but their own. The school gives them a FREE education. It doesn’t do the work for them. Again, if they actually VALUE education they would take more interest in their education and demand MORE for themselves.

                • April 8, 2014 - Reply

                  @Ask_Me

                  i don’t get complaining about folks who gotta work to pay for school but then telling student athletes to use taxpayer money to make up for what the school refuses to pay them for. you not ok w/them getting paid, but you ok with your tax dollars being used to feed them while the school is sitting on millions that they wouldn’t have w/o them.

                  • April 8, 2014 - Reply

                    @Me

                    Thing is I’m not complaining about people who work to pay for school…those people are doing what they have to do.

                    I’m complaining about the reality that this athlete thinks the SCHOOL owes him something more than what he is getting for FREE: AN EDUCATION (plus 3 meals a day).

                    He is complaining about being hungry…yet there ARE resources out there for him. These are the SAME resources available to people who work to pay for school. So, honestly he is bitching and complaining about nothing at all.

                    You do realize that people in college, on foodstamps, will one day be apart of the workforce right? As far as I’m concerned, these folks will one day pay it forward…therefore I have no issue with them on foodstamps.

                    You keep bringing up to separate issue of the athletes coming out of college just as dumb as when they walked in and I keep saying that’s nobody’s fault but the athletes. They should have demanded more of themselves.

                    • April 8, 2014 - Reply

                      @Ask_Me

                      they ARE demanding more. they’re demanding to be paid for the real reason those schools have them on those campuses, which is to work not study. but you’re saying you’d rather be the one paying for those kids to eat instead of making the school do it. of all the things your taxes could be used for you choose to use it on student athletes. to me that makes no sense. nobody else at any of those schools is bringing in millions of dollars each year, but the ones that are are the only ones that’s not allowed to get a paycheck.

                      • April 8, 2014 - Reply

                        @Me

                        They are demanding MONEY which was NEVER part of the deal to begin with.

                        Playing basketball for a division 1 school is NOT a job. It is a privilege….one they could have easily DECLINED. They could have gone out and found a JOB that pays MONEY if that’s what they wanted.

                        When they agreed to play ball for these schools they agreed to NCAA terms. They agreed to a FREE education in exchange for their athletic skills. Those were the terms of the agreement. The school agreed to give them a FREE education. They agreed to play ball. No one here has pulled the wool over the athletes eyes. He knew the game when he agreed to play it.

                        Again, I don’t have a problem with ANY college student seeking foodstamps, need based aid, etc. Because again these people will one day be in the workforce. They will one day pay it forward.

                        The school doesn’t owe this athlete anything. He gets a FREE education. He gets 3 meals a day ( just like every other college student that purchases a meal plan ). If that’s not enough there are resources available to him while he is in school.

                        He has the opportunity to obtain a degree and better his plight. It’s up to him what he chooses to do with his FREE education.

                        If this is such a problem I say do away with NCAA. Give the scholarships to the students who have excelled academically. I bet you won’t hear them crying about some nonsense like this.

                        • April 8, 2014 - Reply

                          @Ask_Me

                          students on academic scholarship are allowed to get jobs so you’re right. they wouldn’t have a reason to complain like these athletes do. but it don’t matter anyway since athletic scholarships don’t convert to academic scholarships b/c they’re just a tool used to get athletes to play for a school w/o any money changing hands.

                      • April 8, 2014 - Reply

                        @Me

                        When they signed on to play ball they agreed to NCAA terms. They agreed to a FREE education in exchange for their athletic skills. No one pulled the wool over their eyes. No money was written into the agreements they signed with the schools.

                        Playing basketball at a division 1 school is not a job (WTF???). It is a privilege. One they could have easily have declined.

                        If they wanted a JOB that PAYS, they could have bypassed the division one school and taken a job at Burger King, McDonalds, Wendys etc. They CHOSE to pursue basketball at the division one school.

                        The school gives them 3 meals a day…same as any other college student on a meal plan. If that is NOT enough they need to look into other resources and they need to look to their parents.

                        Again, any tax dollars that go to COLLEGE STUDENTS will be paid forward when they enter the workforce.

                        If these athletes don’t appreciate the gravy train I say throw them in the bushes and give the scholarships to people who will actually appreciate them and make the most of them.

                        • April 8, 2014 - Reply

                          @Ask_Me

                          that scholarship money ain’t actual dollars. it cost the school nothing to squeeze a couple more bodies in some classes so it’s not like if the athletes go away money all of a sudden appears outta nowhere to give to other students for scholarships. and playing for a school ain’t a “privilege” when schools are the ones scouting out players in high school & sometimes even tracking kids from the time they were in little leagues to see if they’re even eligible to play. it’s a job that they interviewed for & proved they could handle & turn a profit. no other students are turning profit for the school with or without scholarships. & if it wasn’t for the ncaa, the schools would be liable to pay them as employees based on the same law that says companies can’t use unpaid interns to do jobs that would have otherwise required them to hire a paid employee. just cuz athletes had been agreeing to play for “scholarship” don’t mean they shouldn’t advocate for a better deal for themselves now that they know how the system is setup against them. you might not like that athletes get to go to school for free but that don’t mean they shouldn’t be paid. & i even started off by saying if they get paid the schools would be able to get rid of scholarships just like you suggested & require the kids to pay to go to school there instead of taking up space. & the money they make for that job would let them pay for as much school as they need to learn what they need to get a job. that puts the responsibility back in the athletes hands to get the education that that school has to offer instead of forcing them to follow the athletic department schedule for 4 years & get no benefit from the school. so unless you just feel like punishing these athletes just b/c they play sports, paying them could take the load off taxpayers, free up classroom space for serious students, give the athletes that want a degree a chance to get a serious education, let them use their money to take care of other parts of their lives that ain’t tied directly to the school, let them get extra insurance in case they get seriously hurt during the game, still make money for the school to profit off of & on & on.

                    • April 8, 2014 - Reply

                      @Ask_Me

                      Where did you get this FOOD STAMP LIE. I was in College, worked 60 Hours per Week, maintained a 4.0 GPA and was on scholarship and still could NOT get Food Stamps. In the State of Maryland, you were NOT eligible unless you have a child or are disabled. A single individual does not qualify. So if a student athlete is banned from working and doesn’t have children He CAN NOT GET FOODSTAMPS in the state of Maryland. Do your homework. There are MANY states that work the same way. Some are more restrictive. So instead of stating NCAA policy. Look up the Food Stamp Guidelines in CT. Then post an argument based on fact. The most he can do is go to a soup kitchen or church to get a bag of food to eat once per month in the donation program. That is why you find donors giving money under the table to ensure the students eat. And here in the State of Maryland, we are working to get that law amended.

                      • April 8, 2014 - Reply

                        @Dick Ross

                        Yeah okay…good luck getting some foodstamps with a job in which you work 60 hours a week. SMH

                        The argument here was that the student COULD NOT WORK due to NCAA regulations (note I didn’t make this argument). Again, I knew plenty of people in college who could not work due to being full-time students. These people were collecting foodstamps.

                        I agree every state may not be the same. Still he should be able to depend on MOM AND DAD for something instead of the school that guarantees him 3 meals a day.

                        • April 8, 2014 - Reply

                          @Ask_Me

                          60 Hours of Work for a Person living in the city barely gave me enough to eat and pay bills. I lived in a one room studio in a tough neighborhood. If it wasn’t for co-workers coming to the hotel where I was scrubbing toilets and giving me dinner to take home, I would not have eaten. Food Stamps is determined by the amount of money you make less bills according to a pre-defined matrix. Here in Baltimore City, we have people who work 80 Hours per Week at Johns Hopkins Hospital and are on food stamps because they are not making enough. The employment strike that is about to take place here in Baltimore is about this same issue. I understand what you are trying to say but it doesn’t work in the real world for everyone. And in some states, If you child is NOT local, you CAN’T GET Foodstamps for them because they are not in the household.

          • April 8, 2014 - Reply

            @Me

            Also I looked it up…they can receive pell grant, foodstamps and federal aid.

      • April 8, 2014 - Reply

        @myblackfriendsays

        This guy Ask_Me is either a moron, or a pathetic troll, either way don’t bother engaging him. ( In looking at his profile pic, I’m going with unoriginal troll) I’ve known several athletes at the college level, a few who went to the pros. While we were in undergrad together, they constantly missed class because of practice and out of town games. The scholarship ( that a player loses if they can no longer play) is indeed a mere pittance in comparison to what the school receives in return for a standout athlete’s performance.

        • April 8, 2014 - Reply

          @bluelight74

          Try again…I’m a WOMAN and the “guy” in my avatar is actor, Jesse Metcalfe. Instead of all the name calling try articulating an argument…seriously grow up.

          • April 10, 2014 - Reply

            @Ask_Me

            I did articulate an argument. I see you addressed none of the points I made. The scholarship is a farce. The rate of return is in the billions. College degrees are rapidly becoming worth less than the parchment they’re printed on anyway, unless it’s a STEM degree.

            The elite athletes rarely attend class, they simply cannot with the practice and game schedules. The fact remains that your stance is problematic, as for telling me to grow up, perhaps you should do a bit as well. Hurling insults at people ( kids) you don’t even know by calling them dumbasses or lazy is rather childish.

            I find the vitriol you’re flinging toward this issue strange, IF you’re a black woman. It’s sad to see you on the side of the exploiters instead of those who wish to create a more equitable situation.

            • April 11, 2014 - Reply

              @bluelight74

              You don’t know me yet YOU hurled insults at me…talk about the pot calling the kettle black.
              You find the “vitriol” that I’m flinging “strange” simply because you don’t agree with it. That’s fine…my opinion is my own. If you don’t like it….don’t read it.
              There is no victim in this situation….only WILLING participants.

              • April 15, 2014 - Reply

                @Ask_Me

                You’ve got a significant load of anger in your life. Take a breather and calm down. There are several victims in this situation. Anyone with a shred of critical thinking ability can see this. But after a glance at your comment history I see what you stand for and who your thoughts are aligned with. it’s evident further discourse would be useless.

                • April 15, 2014 - Reply

                  @bluelight74

                  Be gone! You keep replying to MY comments with a load of senseless personal attacks…as if I’ve hurt your feelings. Move the hell on with your life.

    • April 9, 2014 - Reply

      @Ask_Me

      Listen dum dum it’s a straight usury no pay for play system. Most of these athletes can barely read so the concept of getting an education is at best laughable. They should have never been allowed to attend the school and would never have been accepted if they weren’t athletes. Their acceptance to these schools is at best fraud.

      The kid’s are then going to leave the school as dumb as they were when they entered. Most are not student athletes at all. They’re just mercenary athletes playing for a school. So the point is the school is actually getting a service from these kid for free. Getting three meals is the same as these racist saying the slaves were treated well because they were feed. Try getting someone to work 12 hours a day without food. The slaves were feed for the same reason athletes are feed. It is solely for the benefit of making the owner money.

  5. April 8, 2014 - Reply

    Glad to see people are finally waking up about this issue. It will be very interesting to see if the gravy train actually comes to an end, because there are a lot of powerful people who have some major $$$ to lose if things change.

  6. April 8, 2014 - Reply

    This is madness. And this is why I do not support any type of sport. Good luck with that Brotha. Smdh!

  7. April 9, 2014 - Reply

    Yes, I think they should pay them like it was “work study” program. These schools get millions upon millions of dollars for these sports programs and what these students get in “free” tuition was paid twice and sometimes thrice over for every scholarship given. These schools go out of their way to recruit these players for a certain sport skill not necessary their GPA level. I say pay them and use the money you offer them in scholarships and create other scholarships for other students. This could be a win-win if handled right.

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