UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen took aim at amateurism this week, saying that “football and school don’t go together,” that they’re both “full-time jobs,” and that many student-athletes are only in college because they’re trying to get to the NFL.
Did Rosen wake anyone up with these comments?
“I don’t think he woke anyone up because at this point, how you feel about the NCAA machine, you’re probably set on your side of the fence anyway,” CBSSports.com college football writer Ben Kercheval said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “What I do like about Rosen is I think in athletics, especially college athletics, where the idea that you exchange this scholarship for going and playing for your school and getting an education, that it’s some sort of an equal exchange. We’re at this point where it’s become abundantly clear that for some of these players – not all of them, but for some of them – it’s not quite a fair exchange. So having athletes who are outspoken about that, I love it.”
Rosen, who is entering his junior season, has thrown for 5,585 yards and 33 touchdowns at UCLA. He is a projected top-10 draft pick in 2018.
Thus, isn’t it safe to say that Rosen will ultimately benefit from the very system he’s critiquing?
“Who benefits from what in the NCAA is not necessarily a cut-and-dry thing,” Kercheval said. “If you’re Josh Rosen, I don’t know how much market value he would have for his own name. He’s pretty big on social media, and he says a lot of stuff, so I would imagine there’s a lot of demand for him as a brand. I think it’s a little unfair for him. For the third-string offensive lineman who doesn’t really have a market value, I still wouldn’t say it’s totally fair, but the school’s paying more for him than he would ever make for the school.
“So I think it just kind of depends on who you’re talking about here,” Kercheval continued. “But I think Rosen’s larger point about academics and athletics is that we’re asked to do a lot, we’re asked to basically do two things, and for some guys, it’s really hard for them just to even do one. So again, I think the larger conversation about fitting academics into all of this is worth talking about for sure.”