I mean, really — This is America.

I’m sick of thinking about the problems of old, rich, white men. The problems of rich white guys leave the rest of us, regular folks of all colors, underwhelmed, underfunded and underrepresented. I woke up today, happy that it was Sunday and pleased that it was raining. I looked out the bedroom door that leads to my deck and thought: This is a pretty good life.

I don’t have millions. I do have an exorbitant student loan and a car that’s falling apart. My taxes are due, and I can’t hold a press conference to whine about why my ex-employers should cover my expenses, or that I’m due compensation from a job that I no longer perform. Despite these things, I know that what I do is an incredible privilege. I can write another article and find new clients. I can earn my keep.

But here we are, forced to listen to old white guys cry about why they deserve the millions they’ve fleeced from pimping young athletes. Jesus Christ, the stones it must take to think you are due anything when you are Rick Pitino or Tom Jurich. They might be due some time in the penitentiary, but certainly retirement.

The Courier-Journal reported that Jurich told a reporter in August that the deal with Adidas would benefit, the athletic department, he said. “It’s for these student-athletes. It’s been earmarked for them.” Perhaps, but why should we believe him? Under the current deal, 98 percent of the funds went to Rick Pitino, philanderer extraordinaire, The CJ reported.

One of the toughest conundrums and dangers of covering stories like this is that, by writing about it a lot, we inadvertently desensitize the reading public to the fact that wealthy and greedy assholes like Pitino are fucking every single one of us and then asking that we feel compassion for their plight — for the plight of their millions.

It’s the story of UofL, and it is the story of America.

These silk-suited, black-tie glitterati trim from the people who need it the most, and then they have the audacity to ask for our support while they pad their pockets with our greenbacks.

I’m exhausted.

First off, athletes should get paid. It’s been said before. I’ll repeat it. Even Gov. Matt Bevin said it and, despite the many asinine things he’s uttered in recent months, he’s absolutely right. It’s maybe the only thing Bevin and I will ever agree on, except perhaps also that SuperChefs is an awesome place to eat. (He was there when I was there once. I was eating with my mother and son. He was taking selfies with the chef. I know, shocking.)

Bevin told a radio station recently that, “I think we should pay college athletes,” he said. “I really do. This idea that they’re not professionals is nonsense.”

He added that, “They’re not there like normal students, and we shouldn’t pretend that they are. Some of them, yes, go to class, but most of them are students differently because they’re there for athletics and not academics.”

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I’m not really sure what he’s aiming in the last part of that statement, but college athletes are different than other students in that their schedules are often exceptionally demanding both on the time commitment side and because of the physically taxing nature of many sports.

But athletes are like other working students. They perform a job and should be compensated. The amount of money brought in by the sports programs should highlight this. UofL is one of the most lucrative, despite the recent report that Jurich’s department didn’t turn a profit. I think we can all figure out what went wrong there if we take a simple look at the bank statements of Pitino and Jurich. Someone profited, not the school or the athletes.

Athletes at most schools would love a slice of that athletic pie. One of my business writing students, Lindsey Howell, a volleyball player at IUS agrees that students playing team sports should be compensated.

“Sports take up a lot of extra time in a student-athlete’s life, so I do think a salary would be nice. Most student athletes do not have time to work a job, especially the athletes going to the Division 1 schools.”

Howell thinks that the pay should be based on merit. “Not every athlete has the same skill set as another. I think the pay should be based on how well you consistently perform and how big of an asset you are to your team.”

Students, who play these sports, know what it takes to maintain the focus and physical fitness to be an asset to the school team. Some of them have their education partially compensated for, but overall the students are often at a loss playing sports for most schools. It’s only fair that they get a piece of the millions that athletic directors and coaches, such as Jurich and Pitino, ravenously consume — and then repine when their own actions put those funds in jeopardy.

More than anything, it would be nice to know that the students are benefiting, or that programs with less funding get monies to add quality instructors to bolster the function of the university as an education leader and not one solely focused on creating endorsement deals for the university through sportsball.

Continuing to talk about what Pitino and Jurich don’t have, or won’t get, is tasteless. They have plenty. They signed contracts, failed to fulfill the duties and scammed their way into millions that should be in the hands of the school and students. Former UofL President James Ramsey was a part of it, too, and certainly t others fed from the same trough.

I’m sick of these crying, old, plantation masters, and I think many of the other folks listening to the fall of UofL sports are feeling much the same. Pay your workers. Be happy with what you have.

If only they would just get over it, or pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

I mean, really. This is America.

About the Author

I mean, really — This is America.

Erica Rucker is a professional freelance content and copywriter who also teaches English at IU Southeast. In addition to LEO, her work has appeared in The Ptolemaic Terrascope, The Guide, Foxy Digitalis, Insider Louisville and Norton Healthcare’s Get Healthy magazine. You can follow Erica on Twitter, but beware of honesty, occasional outrage and nerdy live-tweeting.

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