Lifetime Scholarships

By Beacon Staff

It is all about a sense of entitlement and it’s everyone’s fault.

I am not able to quantify whether it is a systemic change in society or whether there is indeed a larger segment of the sports population that sees the need to act inappropriately and in some cases unlawfully, but it is currently of epidemic proportion.

But I do know this – because we buy apparel with someone else’s name on it and tickets that enable us to cheer for athletics – some athletes at every level feel a sense of entitlement.

There are exceptions and not enough of the things that athletes do for the public good receive as much notoriety as the front page news we have recently seen.

Just in the case of University of Montana football, for example, little was said about two players, Bryan Waldhauser and Bobby Alt, who were named academic all-Americans.

And Jordan Tripp, who some criticized for his hair hanging from his helmet during his shortened season, recently grew it to the proper length so he could cut it off and donate it to Locks of Love for cancer patients.

And there is a number of other such situations that either do not come to the public eye because no one thought to let a reporter know about it or that person sought to toil behind the scenes just because it was the right thing to do.

I refuse to subscribe to the notion that as journalists, we don’t care about those kinds of stories because they don’t sell newspapers. That is just plain poppycock and few of those kinds of stories are passed on.

There is a trend in the sports community whereas some athletes, coaches and even administrators believe they received some kind of lifetime scholarship that entitles them to be treated differently and in many cases idolized.

And all you have to do is look at some of the collegiate-level salaries to see why coaches could come to that conclusion. Just where does it end? Then it comes down to that word you have recently seen surface: “respect.”

I have to make more than that person or get the perks of another, they say, because to not do so is a sign of disrespect. How often do you hear athletes at every level say the same thing?

Is it street cred? Perhaps, but some athletes, who later become coaches and administrators feel they are entitled because we allow, even encourage, our children to hold them up as role models. And then we are surprised, even outraged, by their inappropriate or illegal transgressions.

At the earliest of ages athletes come to find out that there are benefits to their performances and little if any ramification for their wrongdoing.

And while it is us the fans that have put them on the lifetime scholarship pedestal, we’re surprised and often outraged when they act above it all.

I just don’t get it.