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By Ben Troupe
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Former Florida All-American Ben Troupe shares his perspective on paying college athletes.

Whats's going on, football fans? Welcome to the latest installment of the most dangerous blog on the planet, "Troupe Talk".  It is my humble pleasure to bring you quality content week in and week out to hopefully cause you to see things in a different manner and generate dialogue.  I must thank all my supporters and dedicated readers throughout all the social media outlets.  Sit back, relax and enjoy.  I will not disappoint.

The trial of Ed 'O Bannon against the NCAA has come to a close with more questions left to be answered, but at least the conversation about players getting paid can no longer be ignored.  Being a former college athlete and  knowing the number of hours these athletes put in - which far exceeds that of any paid employee and definitely generates the most revenue - I know that they need a voice.  And I, for one, serve as one of those voices. 

Now do not get me wrong, I do not feel as though these players should be seen as employees and get a salary, but there are measures that should be taken, and not just considered, to help better the financial situations of these athletes.  I mean, let's look at the enviornment from which most of these players come.  A lot come from some of the worst neighborhoods and living conditions in the country.  Most come from single parent households, in which a lot of the young men are the man of the house. 

These athletes chose to go to college in hopes of one day helping change the fates of their family.  These same players that may get Pell Grants have to send most of it, if not all of it, home to help support their family.  They are then told once they get to school that they cannot work, get loans, or get any financial help from anyone other than the school, someone who was a friend of the family for years, or a family member.  If they do, they risk losing their eligibility.  I know this because when I was in college I tried to get loans - not for huge amounts, but just a small loan - so that I could have money to do things like go to the movies, go out to eat , or buy some clothes or shoes. 

I am not making excuses for these players as if they are better than anyone else, but they do deserve more than what they are getting simply because of what they are producing.  What I have a big problem with when it comes to the NCAA and the way which they go about making decisions, is how they decide what is in the best interest of the players and yet most of them have never played and experienced what a player goes through.  But even so, that player still has to be accountable in the classroom because, let the NCAA tell it, it is far more about the student than the athlete.  Yet coaches get fired and sometimes athletic directors as well if the teams do not do well, regardless if every player each year graduated with honors. 

Think about it for a second: just imagine that at the job or career you chose you were given an incentive - that being a scholarship - but then you found out that you do more for that job than anyone else there.  But when you go to your boss and ask for some money, you are told that you just have a scholarship. You then say that you appreciate that but you still need some money, and they say, "I am so sorry, but we have done more than enough for you simply by giving you a scholarship, so get out of my office and do not be late for work."  This is all just hypothetical, but it is being carried out daily throughout college athletics. 

You ask your boss for overtime and they say no.  You ask for a raise and they say no.  You ask for some extra shifts and they say no.  What if you are working overtime, extra shifts, putting in the most hours, and helping generate and boost revenue each year and you get nothing but a chance to do that each year (well, for as long as they feel as though you are an asset because scholarships are one-year renewable)?

Think about it. These athletes do not need to get rich, but they can get some type of money each month. I mean, if everything was good, then why is it going to court? The NCAA cannot come up with a reasonable solution to help compensate these athletes for their hard work and dedication.  Like I stated earlier, most athletes go to college in hopes of going pro and helping change the fate of their families.  But let's be honest, that is more than
likely not going to happen.  So you mean to tell me that they can't give the players anything?  

I'm supposed to believe that the NCAA has done all they can do for these athletes that put it all on the line for their schools everyday?  I find that hard to believe.  Since I can see more of how things work when it comes to college athletics, I find it ridiculus to even think that a player has to literally beg for pennies from the same schools that brag on them around the dinner table.  I loved playing college football, and the opportunities that have been afforded to me because of my time in college have been a blessing, but since I represent the exception and not the rule, this issue needs to no longer be an issue.  The NCAA needs to do a whole lot better.

I feel as though change is on the horizon.  The days of just playing and not speaking up are over because this issue has been swept under the rug for far too long, and now it will not go away until the players are shown some appreciation.  Perspective.

Thanks for taking the time to check out the most dangerous blog on the planet, "Troupe Talk".  Make sure to check back frequently with Southern Pigskin, which is all about the fans.  Remember that you should always know WHY you're doing something and not just WHAT you're getting because of it.  Keep God first through infinity, and be persistent at being consistent.  Be Uncommon.  Two fingers.

Ben Troupe - Troupe played tight end for the Florida Gators from 2000-2003, and earned first-team All-SEC recognition and first-team All-American honors from ESPN, Rivals and Sports Illustrated as a senior. After a standout college career, Troupe was selected 40th overall in the 2004 NFL Draft, the first pick of the Tennessee Titans that spring. Currently, Troupe is a representative for the NFL Ambassadors via the College Outreach Program and the USA Football Youth and High School Program while also serving as an assistant master trainer for Head's Up coaching initiative. Troupe can be heard on ESPN Coastal's "Three & Out" with B.J. Bennett and Kevin Thomas.