The biggest crux of the argument against paying college football players real money for their efforts has always been scholarships. The fact that the free education is so expensive for the average student but free for athletes should be considered payment enough.
However, former USC player Bob DeMars (1997-2001) told Sean Gregory of TIME magazine that Trojans assistant Ed Orgeron was not at all pleased that DeMars had to leave practice early to collect his “payment.”
In order to show up on time for a required statistics course one semester, he says he had to leave spring practice twenty minutes early, once a week. His defensive line coach, Ed Orgeron, wasn’t happy. You motherf—-r, DeMars remembers Orgeron, who went on to become head coach at Ole Miss from 2005 to 2007, and is now back at USC as assistant head coach, shouting at him. “He M-F’d me all over the place,” says DeMars. “He made me feel like a bad person for going to class.”
Later, DeMars gave Orgeron the credit he was due, but reinforced the fact that the Trojans were not exactly thrilled to see one of their football players focusing on his degree over that extra 20 minutes of practice once a week.
DeMars calls Orgeron “one of the most brilliant defensive line coaches in the country.” He acknowledges that he helped DeMars improve as a player. But he believes Orgeron could have been just as effective without undermining education. DeMars says that when other players ran sprints for missing class, Orgeron would give DeMars the “stink-eye,” as if DeMars let him down for actually going to class.
As for the Trojans, athletic director Pat Haden emailed TIME a response, although the school did not make Orgeron available for comment.
“While the alleged events happened before my time as athletic director at USC,” school athletic director Pat Haden said in an email statement, “I can say that all our football practices have been open to the media and players’ families since before Bob was here, and have been open to the public for most of that time as well. The transparency of practice would have brought to light this type of alleged inappropriate behavior. We also have high standards for our coaches and monitor and evaluate them as we would any of our employees.”
“Additionally, we have always been proud to support our student-athletes in a full range of academic pursuits. Majors represented in 2012 among football alone included Theatre, Business Administration, Psychology, Communications, Economics, Chemical Engineering and Political Science.”
Orgeron was an assistant for the Trojans from 1998-2004, before leaving for the aforementioned head gig at Ole Miss. He returned to Los Angeles in 2010.
We have known for a very long time that the majority of college bigwigs do not want to pay their players. The whole argument behind allowing that to occur is the fact that these “student-athletes” are receiving a free education.
It’s also no secret that coaches want their athletes on the football field as much as possible, however, if you are going to stick by the argument that players get paid handsomely, as Bob Stoops would say, then pestering them over attending class is out of line.
[H/T: College Football Talk]