Isn’t a free degree enough for athletes?

To the editor,

Kudos to the editorial cartoonist whose work was published last week in the H/I. It showed a diagram of a likely football play-to-come, in view of a recent decision that some California colleges will soon be paying student athletes (only in major sports, I presume, and perhaps only males; I don’t know) for their participations. (Apparently, allowing these “amateurs” to get an all-expenses-paid, “free ride,” perhaps leading to college degrees, ain’t deemed sufficient reward for these demi-gods (and goddesses?). But I digress.)

Anyway, the cartoonist’s diagram of that football-play-to-come, of course, was simple enough – 11 X’s and 11 O’s, on the chalkboard, on the playing field of a map of the U.S., taking rather direct paths from their local high schools to … guess where.

(A more robust, “Roll, Tide!” will now probably be heard from a different venue, during the play of all national championship college football games: A Brave, New World.)

Some of us old-timers will remember a certain Lou Boudreau, a Hall of Fame shortstop and manager of yore who, as a Cubs WGN-radio commentator in the mid-50s, once bragged that, as a collegian at the University of Illinois, he “... never saw the inside of a college classroom.”

Still, Lou Boudreau was a gem. Quite a bright guy.

Once, during a lull in play, he was asked by Jack Quinlan, his sidekick, “Lou, how do you think Honas Wagner would do in today’s game?” To which Boudreau responded, “Oh, he’d probably hit around .110.” And Quinlan was shocked. After all, Wagner was the best player of his time, with a lifetime batting average of .329, spanning 21 seasons in the major leagues. So Quinlan pushed back: “No! Lou! Huh? Wagner was a much better hitter than that!”

To which Lou replied, “Yes, I know, but the guy’s 80 years old!”

Dick Behling

Cottage Grove

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