Northern Wyoming Daily News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Alex Kuhn
Sports Editor 

Hear me out...(Funny/catchy headline)


August 12, 2017

As a seasoned media vet (OK, I’ve only been in the industry for little over a year but roll with me on this) I’ve noticed that deciding on a headline for your piece is an artform.

You want a headline that accurately fits your story, yet one that grabs the attention of the readers. That way, you know, they read your story.

It’s a little tough because if you’re headline puts people to sleep, chances are your story isn’t getting read. But go too strong with your headline and sensationalize it, you’re drifting into the dreaded clickbait territory.

And clickbait, along with Communism, genocide and chocolate mint-anything, is the bane of human existence.

Clickbait is particular frustrating because we’re basically getting suckered when we should know better. If I’m going to waste time on the internet it’s going to be because I’ve entered a “Game of Thrones” theory rabbit hole by my doing.

As annoying as clickbait is, what is more frustrating is when good stories have clickbait headlines which lessen the story to a degree. The latest example of this involves UCLA’s QB Josh Rosen. 

Rosen gave an interview to Bleacher Report where he talked about a number of different topics, but what drew the most attention were his thoughts on being a student-athlete.

Depending on the site the headlines were either “UCLA QB Rosen: “Football and school don’t go together,” or “UCLA QB Josh Rosen: ‘Raise the SAT requirement at Alabama and see what kind of team they have.’”

It is true that Rosen said all of this but the quotes are taken out of context. If you read all of Rosen’s interview with Bleacher Report he gave thoughtful scholarly answers to each question. There was not vindictiveness behind his answers or him trying to show up UCLA or the NCAA, he has opinions and delivered them in a very measured way.

But if you read the headline especially the one about Alabama, it would seem as if he were bashing on Alabama.

Here’s Rosen’s full comment on ‘Bama:

B/R: So that’s reality for student-athletes playing at a major university?

Rosen: I didn’t say that, you did. (Laughs.) Look, football and school don’t go together. They just don’t. Trying to do both is like trying to do two full-time jobs. There are guys who have no business being in school, but they’re here because this is the path to the NFL. There’s no other way. Then there’s the other side that says raise the SAT eligibility requirements. OK, raise the SAT requirement at Alabama and see what kind of team they have. You lose athletes and then the product on the field suffers.

See not so bad. He wasn’t bashing ‘Bama as a bunch of illiterate goons, that would be me. Honestly, it’s a good thing Rosen used big words like “requirements” and “eligibility” otherwise those ‘Bama fans would have stormed the UCLA campus by now. Boom!

I had to get that one ‘Bama joke out; it was eating me up inside.

Back on topic.

Using these cheap clickbait headlines takes away from what Rosen was trying to talk about which is the student-athlete designation is a sham at the collegiate level. Here’s another quote he had on school and football.

“Don’t get me started. I love school, but it’s hard. It’s cool because we’re learning more applicable stuff in my major (economics)—not just the prerequisite stuff that’s designed to filter out people. But football really dents my ability to take some classes that I need. There are a bunch of classes that are only offered one time. There was a class this spring I had to take, but there was a conflict with spring football, so...”

The NCAA loves to say that the student comes before the athlete but it’s really athlete first, student second. I can’t imagine Nick Saban tolerating a player missing a Tuesday lift or a practice because he has a class he wants to take that semester.

The money sport coaches (football and basketball) hate distractions and want single-minded players whose only focus is their sport. They only want a player to put up the façade of caring about education.

The money sport coaches will refute this by churning out the usual party-line BS, but it’s what they’re not talking about that says the most.

UNC is currently waiting for the NCAA to drop the hammer on their cheating scandal in which they offered fakes classes and boosted grades for 3,000 of their students, half of them athletes, during 2007-11.

The UNC scandal is a big deal and as of now one of the largest academic scandals in US history, but when you look for reaction quotes from coaches at other schools there’s nothing. If education is so important for most these football and basketball coaches why is no one railing against what UNC did? They made a mockery of the student-athlete with these fake classes. Where is the outrage, shoot I’d be happy with disappointment, from these coaches?

Instead, it was all quiet on the coaching front. They’re not going to speak ill of their own and sure as hell not going to draw attention to their means of skirting the academic requirements.

For these programs the student doesn’t matter, they want the athlete. That’s what brings in those BRINKS trucks and everyone, but the player, gets a cut. The coaches and the administrators (some of whom are progressive liberals that preach income inequality yet really like making money off the poor folk) hide behind the shield of student-athlete desperately defending their piles of cash. They’ll say the education is the payment or it will pay for itself, which would be a fair argument if they didn’t cut these billion dollar deals with TV networks, while paying their workforce nothing.

It’s really easy to pay these players, they don’t need six-figure incomes, but compensation is due. Rosen did not say this in his interview, but it’s as simple as this. Money is green, pay the players.

Hey, now that’s a headline!


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