Dead Grandmas & Pepperoni Pizza

January16/ 2000

 The NCAA has approved those new “academic emphasis” proposals we told you about a week or so ago.  It sounds good and has wonderful motives but the cheaters won’t give it a 2nd thought. Any time such changes are made, the old song “pay the athletes” gets replayed.  We can hoist that one up the Swagger flagpole … but BobLee won’t salute it.


   I’ve watched this “pay the college athletes” issue for many years, ever since former Duke mini-guard Dick Divenzio started beating the drum several decades ago.  I know all about “how hard they work … practices, meetings, films, et al” and I know “how much $$$ the eeeeviiilll colleges make off of their labors with jersey sales and bobblehead dolls”.  I’m not sure there was significant bobblehead revenue when Divenzio first got geared up however.

   In all my studying of this issue it always seems to revolve around two points:

  1. Grandma dies and Joe Jock does not have enough money to get back home to her funeral.
  2. Joe Jock does not even have enough money to buy his date a pizza on Friday night.

   Ergo the dastardly NCAA comes out looking like cold heartless scrooges opposed to respecting dead old ladies and the consumption of pizza.  You would think AARP and Papa John’s would form a PAC and have one of those March on Washington thingies … maybe get Estelle Getty and Tom Monaghan (Domino’s founder for you Lunatics in Carrboro) to give “I had a dream …” speeches at the Lincoln Memorial. 

“… A land where every linebacker can say good bye to Granny and have a large pepperoni and mushroom …”

   This is really a pretty simple issue if, as in most contentious issues, you turn down the volume of the howler monkeys crying “FOUL … THROW $$$ AT IT”.

Question #1: How much is a college education worth? … a two-part question

Sub Question A: What does it cost the average student to obtain one (tuition, room/board, etc)?

Sub Question B: What is the lifetime “value” of that education once obtained?

   Kid Swagger has her pretty little eyes set on a UNC Journalism degree beginning in two years.  Her mamma has a Journalism degree from Mizzou’s highly regarded J-School.  Kid will be Entertainment Editor of her high school paper next year (with her own column to boot!) so she’s getting ready.  She’ll be among the first coeds to enter UNC J-school wearing a brown shirt, “jackboots” and wearing a “Rush Is Right” ballcap … Chuck Stone will FREAK OUT! … bwahahahaha! … I digress.

   Me and The Mizzus are figuring about $25,000 x 4 for all this.  That does NOT allow her to become one of Lydia and Boot’s little KD sisters or to drive a new PT cruiser around campus or have an open account at the Franklin Street Daddy Fleecing boutiques.  She may even have to WORK!  (said in Maynard G Krebbs voice!).  If I can jack my speaking fees up to $10K per maybe we can ease it a tad. … So a college education “costs” $25,000/year … at a state university.  Duke, Wake, Davidson, Elon … maybe double that amount.

   So Joe Jock at State or UNC is bartering $25,000/year for his blood sweat and beers.  How many kids, not named Lebron, can command that much with just a high school diploma, an 8th grade reading level, and no clue who Harry Truman was?  How much is Champs paying these days for “may I help you” associates? 

   Joe Jock is trading his athletic labors in a $25,000/yr deal with the institution of higher learning.  Joe’s less-gifted buddy, Frankie, back at SouthEast Central High went directly into the workforce with that 8th grade reading level and a “the world owes me sumpthin’” attitude.  He “might” pull down $20,000 but it ain’t “fun”, it ain’t “stimulating”, and his nasty boss expects him to be on time and put in a full day’s work even if there is a Li’l Kim concert that night in Greensboro … nope, working ain’t much “fun” … Welcome To Reality Boys … take a big ol’ bite and chew on it.  Frankie does get paid every Friday but by the time he makes his car payment, apartment rent, insurance, telephone, utilities, etc … he and sweet thang ain’t got enough left to get cheesy bread with that Friday night pizza.  

   If Frankie’s Grandma dies he’s sure not flying home using his frequent flier miles in business class to pay his respects. In fact, nasty boss might dock him for the time missed.

   Four years later Frankie is still dodging creditors, going nowhere, and cussing his boss; but Joe Jock throws his mortarboard in the air and has a genuine UNC system diploma with his name on it … proof positive of real tangible marketable skills.  The boy is a College Graduate.  OK, Joe has a slight limp, his shoulder hurts when it rains, and there’s a scar on his chin where they sewed him up at halftime of the Tech game … but he traded it for a College Education.

   Wait a minute there Swagger … something’s not right.  Redo that math … ??? 

   What do you mean “not right”.  Wasn’t that the deal when Coach Big Ring sat in Joe’s living room and showed him those fancy brochures and talked about all those Rhodes Scholars he would be following in his academic endeavors?  Remember touring that Bio-tech lab and seeing those folks looking at thistle tubes and cyclotrons and imaging himself as a Nobel scientist … wasn’t that the deal?  Sure it was … Plan A … Joe runs, jumps, lifts, and sweats … and in return … the institution teaches him valuable stuff that future employers will pay good money for for the next 40 years.

   All Division 1-A institutions do have their athletes on legitimate degree-earning tracks … don’t they?

   OK … Plan A for most Joe Jocks starts out … trade my blood, sweat, and beers for the chance to showcase my incredible athletic abilities to “the league”.  I’ll do the campus, coed, and Cliff Notes yadda yadda for 2, maybe 3 years then its signing bonus and Escalades, bling bling, and plasma TVs.  I won’t need no “foreign language” or no “literature” or no “economics” … my “people” will handle all that mess.  

   He never figures on a walk-on rolling over on his leg in that scrimmage during Spring ball his sophomore year … his leg hanging at a funny angle and the orthopedist saying “worst I’ve ever seen”.  If Joe wants to gamble his “bartered college education” on a 75-1 pro lottery ticket;  that’s up to him.  At some point “personal accountability” (YIKES!) has to enter the picture.  Uh oh … that’s no fun at all.

   Here’s the quick answer for the howler monkeys screaming “pay the college athletes”:

  •  Every incoming freshman on “scholarship” gets a “Granny’s funeral” coupon for ONE round trip flight anywhere in the USA, expiring four years hence.  If Grandma’s funeral is in Vegas, South Beach, or Chocowinity … Joe Jock can get there and back to pay his respect to Granny … or to the bartender at The Hard Rock Casino … Joe’s choice.
  • Each Div 1-A school cuts a deal with its pizza concessionaire. Each scholly athlete gets a pizza debit card good for one large pizza every Friday night … maximum of three toppings.  If Joe loses his card … he’s SOL … again, personal accountability is a factor here.  No cost to the school whatsoever and the pizza guy’s margins can handle it.  


    IF the two entities … the Institution AND the Individual are being honest with each other upfront … a full athletic scholarship in exchange for a college education is an incredibly good deal. Joe gets educated and the Institution sells his bobbleheads and jerseys. 

   IF the individual has no real interest in, or intent to pursue, a real college education … OR

   IF the institution could care less if Joe Jock gets a legitimate education so long as he “stays eligible” … 

Then the system is fine … but, we have a people problem!

We don’t need $$$$ to solve this problem my friends.

We just need some honest people.


I’m not opposed to a $100/month walk-around subsidy … but any significant stipend just means the cheaters will up their under the table ante.  Dirty Fat Cats will always win any poker game if $$$ are the measure.

Nelly Belle was Pat Brady’s jeep.  Pat Brady was Roy Rogers’ comic sidekick.

Today’s Stumper

When Diane Keaton went “Looking For Mr. Goodbar” … who did she find?

    The Jayson Williams verdict … obviously it was not “murder”; simply irresponsible stupidity.  Stupidity comes with a price however.  I want a $5,000,000 payment to the victim’s family plus I want Jayson to spend a minimum of 2 years in a general population prison PLUS the state of New Jersey confiscates his obscene mansion and converts it to a home for unwed mothers of NBA jackasses’ illegitmate children.

BobLee is in Charlotte next week for Wachovia Golf related stuff.

Have you recommended this site to FIVE friends this week?  

Do It – Right Now! 

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