This morning on ESPN First Take, Tim Tebow sounded off on the new California law allowing college athletes to profit off of their likeness while in school.
Tebow gave a passionate rebuke of the law, claiming he wouldn’t have wanted to get paid at Florida because playing for school pride is “what [college football] was all about.
— First Take (@FirstTake) September 13, 2019
The college football experience Tebow described from his time at Florida was a far cry from what I saw during my time in Stillwater.
I saw teammates gain 30 pounds in their first month on campus. Not because of our strength program, but because they were eating three square meals a day for the first time in their lives.
13 million high school students live in food insecure households per a 2017 Washington Post article. That equates to one in five students across the country.
One in five.
College football programs recruit from all across the nation, not just the most privileged households. Hunger is an issue in many of the areas that are recruiting hotbeds.
Not only did I watch teammates eat consistent meals for the first time in their lives, I had teammates worrying about how to take care of their family back home.
I knew one teammate who slept in his car for an entire semester so that he could cash his scholarship check and send it back home to take care of his mother and his child.
A football player in a power conference, unbeknown to his coaches, didn’t have his own bed for an entire semester just to take care of his family.
Today, college football is a billion dollar industry.
In 2017, Business Insider reported that 24 athletic departments made at least $100 million dollars a year.
If Tim Tebow wants to turn down money so that he can play for the love of his school, be my guest. But don’t deny your teammates a means to take care of themselves and their families if the rules allow it.