Sunday, November 21, 2010

The shocking truth behind the Cam Newton scandal

… the even more shocking truth behind the hypocrisy underneath the NCAA criminal exploitation of child labor for hundreds of millions of dollars.

… and the even greater hypocrisy of the sanctimonious university presidents who control the NCAA, and thereby deliberately foster this exploitation of child labor for these millions of dollars of profit for their university

Attacking Newton is like attacking one grain of sand on the hundred mile long beach in Los Angeles’ harbor, or one snowflake in a raging blizzard. The tsunami of corruption of child athletes by universities for their own millions of dollars of profits has been going on since I played college football – something I experienced first hand, first as an athlete on the receiving end of money, and then when God gave us the good fortune to have our Billy Jack film succeed as one of the “booster” alumni who generously pay these athletes secretly under the table. I have real expertise on the inside behind-closed-doors way this criminal exploitation of child labor takes place.

And not just ordinary labor, but hard labor … and worse than that. It is a labor that is life crippling and life threatening. At least 25-50% of college football players get injured playing football, and spend the rest of their lives disabled from a knee injury, a shoulder injury, spinal and brain injury, and though rarely, sometimes as a paraplegic, or pay even with their lives.

I was not even 20 years old, still in my teens, when I had three major operations (foot, knee, and 6-inch pins put in my shoulder, the same day as the legendary pitcher Ted Williams had the same operation with pins put in his shoulder, see below), and two serious concussions, all of which plagued me for the rest of my life. (I later was to have one more major operation and concussion before I stopped playing football.)

I will never forget the shock I received when I had to take a pay cut from the amount of money I was receiving to play college ball to go into the pros, to join the camp of the then Chicago Cardinals professional team.

I had to take a pay cut from $20,000 a year to $15,000 when I went to play professional football.

Every society and every civilization known to man has had to keep a constant vigilance against the corruption inherent in its institutions, inherent because its institutions were run by human beings who list among their human frailties greed and the lust for power. First and foremost among America’s most corrupt institutions is the Congress of the United States. But near the top of the list is an institution so corrupt and so clever in its disguising its corruption that it has Americans blissfully ignorant of how thoroughly corrupt it is, and to put it bluntly, how thoroughly rotten its corruption is, and how brutal its exploitation of innocent, idealistic young children it manipulates and exploits for hundreds of millions of dollars of profit it keeps to itself.

How do I know this? Because I was a full participant in it, first as a 17 year old high school football player who was paid under the table money to go to school – called a “scholarship” – and then as a payer of secret and disguised ways of paying college athletes to go to a school I felt an obligation to help.

First, as a player.

First, I was paid through what is hypothetically called a “scholarship” to go to Indiana University, the first of three major colleges I played for, moving from one to the other because I got more money in one disguised form or another. The “scholarship” consisted of room, board (all meals), tuition, books (a very considerable sum as today’s textbooks can cost as much as $75-$175 for a single book for a single class requiring a half a dozen to a dozen books per semester), all costs involved if we joined a fraternity or other campus organizations, and a “job” – and a phony job it was - and that was not all.

My first “job” at Indiana consisted of being paid to guard the gymnasium floor, and the field house basketball court from people playing on it in inappropriate shoes, like their street shoes. Just coincidentally, the hours I was assigned to guard the floor, especially the field house were hours that the gymnasium and field house were padlocked and not open to the public, and though I was not there, I signed a phony time card putting in dozens of hours as if I were there.

But that’s not all. I was also granted four roundtrip train tickets from the University to my home for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and the summer holiday … and there’s more. The clothing store! I was allowed to go to a clothing store of a booster and receive a suit, a jacket, two pairs of slacks, two sweaters, and an outdoor coat or jacket – for free. (Clothing stores seem to always play a role in this disguised, under-the-table cash payment as I’ll explain in a moment.)

All in all, the amount of money I was being paid by the university to play football for them totaled $20,000 in 1950 dollars! But my roommate, who was one of the most highly sought after high school All Americans, got much more. He got everything I got, plus, plus, his dad was given a job as a janitor in a steel mill in Pennsylvania where he was from at the then enormous salary of $25,000 a year. This unbelievably lush so-called “scholarship” is never given to a kid who wins a scholarship for science, or music.

And the hypocrite running the NCAA and university system hypocritically insists they don’t pay athletes.

But I was offered even more to transfer to the University of Wisconsin.

I met with the head coach and the assistant coach offensive coordinator under the stadium at Indiana the Friday night that Wisconsin had come down to play Indiana. I had played beautifully in the freshmen game against Wisconsin (freshmen were not eligible for varsity in those days).

The coaches asked me where I was going to live after I got out of college – in Indiana or Milwaukee where I was from, and had all my family? I told them, “Milwaukee, of course.” “Then, you’re playing for the wrong school, because nobody in Milwaukee cares about you playing at Indiana or will want to give you a job because you played at Indiana – but if you play at Wisconsin, a hundred job opportunities would open up to you the moment you graduate.”

A few weeks later I was flown to Madison, Wisconsin, and on a Saturday night after a Wisconsin game, I met with the coaches at the house of the President, and was offered a “scholarship” – a slightly better deal. It consisted of all the same perks I had at Indiana, plus the phony “job,” only this job was even more lucrative. It consisted of doing surveys of out of state license plates on cars in Madison, whether parked or moving, a job I could do any time, day or night, weekday or weekend. Rarely did I ever go and take down real license plates. Again, I just signed in, and signed out fake hours, and got paid my hourly fee – but there was still more. Every Friday night I went down to a clothing store in downtown Madison (a clothing store again), went down to the cashier’s window and got an envelope which contained cash – my paycheck, for what? To this day, I have no idea. Incidentally, in the late 1990’s I was invited back to the University to give a lecture, and I was telling my wife about our Friday night trip to the clothing store as we stood outside the same clothing store still in business. Lo and behold, as we watched, a steady flow of 250-300 lb guys went in, down to the cashier’s window, and received their unmarked envelopes. (Oh, yes, I got the usual de reguere freebie clothes. Clothing stores are a secret goldmine for highly paid college athletes.)

I was later offered a “better” deal to transfer to Marquette. My high school coach whom I adored, who was a surrogate father figure to me, was appointed the head coach of Marquette University’s struggling football team, and asked me to come and play for him. I couldn’t refuse for emotional reasons, and because I got – unbeknownst to him – a slightly better deal from the alumni.

In addition to all the other lucrative perks of my two previous scholarships, I got a real job – or sort of. I was given the job of cleaning up a very successful tavern right across the street from the campus. I’d go in at 8-9:00 in the morning, clean the place up, and restock the refrigerators, and everything else that needed restocking. It paid extremely well, but it was real work – except I didn’t always do it. Because it paid so well, I was able to hire other guys to take my place and clean it up while I slept in, still getting paid as if I was doing all the work.

Oh, yeah! Another perk. I was allowed to take a couple of cases of beer a week out of the stock room and go to local liquor stores and have my pretty girlfriend go in and tell the clerk this was left over from a wedding and could she turn it in for cash? It worked every time.

And then I went into the camp of the Chicago Cardinals’ professional team, now the Arizona Cardinals. There I had to take a pay cut. The starting salary – and you’re not going to believe this – was a mere $15,000, a serious drop from the approximately $20,000 I was being “paid” to play college ball. Johnny Lujack, the superb all-pro of the Chicago Bears, was the highest paid pro football player in those days at – believe it or not - $25,000 a year.

(An interesting “scholarship” anecdote about my boyhood friend, Harvey Keene, who went on to become an all-star for the Detroit Tigers, and later, a manager of the Milwaukee Brewers, playing in the World Series championship – affectionately known as “Harvey’s Wallbangers”.

(We went to grade school a few blocks apart, and while in high school, Harvey set a world record of 53-yards with a drop kick in football, which no longer exists. He chose to play baseball, and I tried to tell him that the scholarships for baseball were chickenfeed compared to football, and he should give up baseball, and concentrate on football. Harvey was an amazing college player, and went on to sign with the Detroit Tigers, at a then record-breaking $100,000 signing bonus – absolutely astonishing in those days. Harvey chided me, “Yeah, Tom. Football scholarships are a much better deal. By the way, how much are you making as a pro?”)

And that is what I learned just on the receiving end of the disgusting, hypocritical way universities cheat their college athletes out of a fair salary to exploit them to make tens of millions of dollars a year for their universities off the backs of these kids, many of whom get injured, and some even crippled for life, earning that immoral lucre for the university presidents.

Now the other side of the coin – my wife and my experience as “boosters,” people playing the under-the-table game of finding sophisticated ways of paying college athletes without being caught, such as “hiring” them to give lessons to our children and friends, hiring them as extras on movies and TV shows where they could earn as much as $500-$1,000/week depending on the “business” they were given to do, and that is for both male and female athletes, in not only football, basketball, tennis, etc.

An example that will make this clear happened to me when I was trying to help our friend, Dick Vermeil, then the coach of UCLA, later the pro-bowl coach of the St. Louis Rams, to recruit a highly sought running back from Ohio w ho went on to be a collegiate All-American and an All-Pro. Though Delores and I were both sitting on the Chancellor’s Committee at UCLA, I had an absolute rule on being asked to recruit a player, whether it be a football, basketball, tennis player, whatever. I would take the kid aside and tell them man-to-man – or in Delores’ case, woman-to-woman – while we would love them to come to UCLA, that didn’t matter, and they should not take that into consideration in making their decision. The only thing that mattered is what was in their best interests, what they wanted to do, and where they got the most beneficial home for their college education.

After telling them this, this heavily recruited high school All-American, confided in me he had already decided on Ohio State. Why? Because Woody Hayes, the coach of Ohio State, had arranged to help him and his family financially through his high school years, and his “scholarship” deal was all set, but he always wanted to come to California and see the California girls, so he couldn’t pass up his free trip where he was treated like royalty.

There are hundreds of ways boosters can get money to players without being caught, without breaking the rules.

A typical way is to hire them for dozens of different jobs and pay them, in cash, under the table, an outrageous sum of money above and beyond what you would pay someone else to do the same job. For example, every Saturday we had between 30-50 friends for an afternoon of tennis, a beautiful buffet, and an evening movie. We’d hire athletes as lifeguards to watch the children in our small pool, where you would normally pay a college kid to do this $5/hour, for it required no lifeguard training because the adults were sitting all around the pool, we would pay them $25-$50/hour in cash.

To give an equal amount to women athletes, which was a demand of Delores’, we would pay the tennis players $100/hour to give lessons to our kids, or to our friends, some of whom were very famous movie stars or sports stars. Usually, with the stars, the lessons would last for ten minutes, and then they’d play “hit-and-giggle” doubles, as Evonne Goolagong called it.

A very lucrative way available in our business, and available in every other business – car business, construction business, retail store, plumbing business, etc. - has their own equally lucrative way of getting under-the-table money to athletes they are supporting – is to hire athletes as extras on movies or television shows. Extras get $50 to $100/day if they just are ordinary extras, but if they get what’s called a “piece of business,” like open the door for an actor, deliver a package, etc., they can make up to $1,000 or more a week – and if the director gives them a line, even to say “Thank you,” or “Here’s a call for you, Mr. Jones,” it can be a lot more. Of course, the surreptitious method of “extra” payment goes on forever in the country where movies and television shows are being shot, on location or in a studio.

The motive! Not just tens of millions of dollars, but hundreds of millions of dollars.

College sports, in every case football, and in big schools, basketball as well, make millions, to tens of millions, to hundreds of millions of dollars off of their football and basketball programs – millions of dollars they could never otherwise get from alumni.

A few years ago Notre Dame received over $100 million from NBC to televise nationally all Notre Dame games, and every other major college also has these outrageously lucrative television contracts they make to televise their game – not one dollar of which they would receive if they didn’t have 18, 19, and 20 year old kids out there risking their arms and legs, brutally damaging concussions, and even more damaging paralysis – dangerous, even life threatening, labor for comparative pennies, compared to the money the university receives for the show these kids put on, and without which the universities would receive nothing.

And there’s more, much more!

The TV windfalls do not take into account the oftentimes greater windfalls from ticket sales, concessions, parking fees, and merchandise sales.

If a major player has a stadium of 50-75,000 people, and the average ticket price for a big game is $60, that’s $3 million to $4.5 million per game – and that’s just from ticket sales. That doesn’t include the much more revenues from concessions, parking, programs, and memorabilia – and that’s per game. Some of the giant stadiums exceed 100,000 people (Michigan 109,901, Penn State 107,282, Tennessee 102,459, Ohio State 102,239) which gets the university $6.134 million to $6.594 million per game – per Saturday - and that doesn’t include all the other millions of dollars that come from the other revenues streams, concession, parking, memorabilia, etc. (In the Big 12, the average ticket price is even higher, $84/game, or as much as $8 million for one Saturday’s ticket sales alone.) And this doesn’t even include Bowl games.

Do you know how many alumni dinners or cocktail parties a university president would have to attend to raise just the amount of money he raises from just one Saturday’s football game? It’s not possible. He could spend years attending alumni dinners and luncheons every week, and he still couldn’t raise anywhere near the money he gets from just Saturday afternoon football games – from exploiting Saturday afternoons child labor, which is not as safe and secure as working in the cafeteria, or the bookstore, but from idealistic kids risking their lives and becoming permanently disabled so the self-righteous presidents can make these tens – even hundreds - of millions of dollars.

A way to see how much value university presidents put on their football and basketball programs is seen by looking at the salaries they pay their coaches, as opposed to the salaries they pay their top professors and teachers. At the smallest schools, football coaches salaries range from $150,000-$250,000. And at the major universities, they range from $1 million to $2 million and even more per year – and that does not include the very lucrative salaries they receive for hosting their own “Coach’s Corner” on the local radio and television programs.

At these same universities, the college presidents earn from $250,000 to a mere handful earning in the million dollar range. The average median pay in 2009 for 419 colleges and universities was $358,746, and Associate Professors and faculty earn an average of $50-$75,000 per year, and that’s at the bigger colleges and universities.

Using the magnificent principle, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” as our guide, we’re forced to ask the simple question of the NCAA officials, and the sanctimonious university presidents who reap these humungous profits from the labor of these kids, “Why not treat them as fairly and as lucratively as you treat yourselves?”

Why not pay them?

You’re paying them now in a way that allows you to pay them unconscionable amount of money for the fruits you reap of their labor, why not openly and fairly compensate them for the millions of dollars of profits they generate for you and your university – for the incredibly dangerous labor you exploit to reap millions, labor that could, on any play, at any second, result in a severe concussion, spinal injury, or destroyed knee that could disable them for the rest of their life?

You’re paying them now in the hypocritically disguised form of a scholarship, which is real cash being given to them to come and work for your university, scholarships for football players, and basketball players that are far more lucrative and filled with perks than the scholarships you give to science students, music students, or medical students – if you give them at all.

Why is it more honorable, moral, ethical, or even honest to pay them in the phony way of so-called scholarships instead of paying them a fair amount, an amount commensurate with the profits they generate for you by the fruits of their life-risking labor?

What could possibly be wrong with paying every one of the 60 members of the football team room, board, books, tuition, and student fees, not just for now, but for as long as they wish to attend the university, even after their playing days are over, and they wish to improve their chance of making a decent living? In addition, pay each member who makes the squad at least $1,000 a month. How can that possibly be wrong in view of the humongous profits their labor produces for you and your university?

This is a pittance to pay for the hundreds of millions of dollars a major football or basketball program generates for the university. For small schools, it would be, at most, a million dollars a year. For large schools, with a full 60-man scholarship roster, it could be up to $2 million a year. Less than the amount of money generated by one home game. And in some cases, not even half the amount of money generated at a home game.

Sticking to the greatest moral principle ever known to man, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” “Love your neighbor as thyself,” it’s time for university presidents and everyone involved in education everywhere to “do unto others” – student athletes – “as you would have them do unto you” – willingly and lovingly risk their lives to generate millions of dollars for you and the university or college they love.

Let’s get off the sanctimonious self-righteous attempt to indict Cam Newton when everyone involved in the university and every sports fan knows the real culprits are the NCAA and the university presidents who control it. Their sanctimonious pretense of shock at the still only alleged payment of this one grain of sand on an entire beach of presidential corruption, one snowflake in a raging blizzard of hypocrisy and lying by the NCAA and the university presidents has got to be exposed for what it is, and stopped once and for all. (Their sanctimonious, hypocritical shock and determination to “clean up this mess” has caused them to go to the astonishing length of calling in the FBI to investigate this absolute trivial and irrelevant incident.

(The FBI??? At a time when Al Quada is sending to synagogues time bombs into the United States on airplanes, these deceiving, two-faced presidents and officials of the NCAA asked the FBI to investigate an innocent kid, and possibly destroying his life for something that thousands and thousands of athletes all over this country are guilty of doing right now, and doing with the full knowledge and deliberate cathedral of lies and deceptions to continue to be able to savagely exploit these kids for their own and university’s profit.)

It’s time to pay these kids fairly, and put an end to the elaborate criminal subterfuge and pretense that college is not an extremely profitable farm system for the professionals, to put an end to the cathedral of deception and duplicity designed for the sole purpose of taking advantage and exploiting the labor of desperate, innocent kids, in many cases trying to crawl their way out of poverty and desperation, and restore the college athletic system to a meaningful integrity and clean stepping stone for young men and women to get an education, and more if their talent deserves it.

Pay the kids now.

Note: I had two six inch pins screwed into my broken shoulder the same day and date as Hall of Fame slugger, Ted Williams, had pins put in his shoulder. A week later, I was still in my sling, slowly and gently moving my hands in the sling just to wash my face, when Ted Williams went out and hit three for five in a Sunday game. In the press conference afterwards, he was asked how he could do that with these pins still sticking out of his shoulder. Ted said, “Well, it hurt!” I then realized that Ted Williams, as Joe DiMaggio said was the greatest striker of the baseball that ever lived, on that day he became, to me, the toughest baseball that ever lived.

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At 4:41 PM, Blogger Gutwrench said...

I truly admire your compassion in this writing. I am nearing 50 years old and have had my share of disappointments with humans and how we have evolved. Corporate America has truly taken over.
When I was 17 and working in a steel factory (I lied about my age), I had fallen asleep on the job. I was not fired, thanks to the Union. At that point I knew this country was doomed. Detroit was my home town and as I go there today, nothing is the same. Especially the people. But no matter where I do go, I still see the same attitude amongst people in that , each one of us seems to think we are more important than the other or anyone that is coming along later down the road. We are indeed a sad species.
But changes are coming, like it or not. And for those that are not prepared will not be able to deal with it and will fade with many of our ill ways .
I do appreciate your honesty here and would like to make you aware , you are not alone in feeling ashamed for all of humanity.

At 8:57 PM, Blogger Walt said...

A new variety of slavery exists today, the result of forms of forced servitude that existed alongside slavery many centuries ago. In some contemporary societies, children especially, live and work under slavery conditions that deny them their freewill while subjecting them to control through violent threats and physical abuse. This is tantamount to slavery. There is, however, a critical lack of awareness about important aspects of the reality of this new child slavery.

At 6:48 AM, Blogger Richard said...

Here is another example People should know about. Some have said that the stimulus hasn't saved any jobs,

but here is a case where at least one job was saved.

Take for instance Oregon State University Athletic Director

Bob DeCarolis.

Now Mr. DeCarolis was considering firing their

Basketball Coach.......

Craig Robinson

after an

8 -11 start (2-5) in the Pac 10 conference).

When word reached Washington ,

Undersecretary of Education

Martha Kanter

was dispatched to Corvallis with $17 million

in stimulus money for the university.

Thankfully, Craig Robinson's job is

safe for another year

Now comes the interesting part of our story....

For those of you unfamiliar with

Coach Robinson,

he just so happens to be the brother in law

of none other than our country's

beloved President,


that's right he is the brother of

Michelle Obama!

But hey, can't we all come to the conclusion

that Coach Robinson's job security

was all just a coincidence?

I'm sure of it .... Aren't You?

Thank Goodness For The Stimulus!!!
But $17 million for one job? I wonder what mine is worth?
If this doesn't anger you, nothing will... remember to vote this fall !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At 10:51 AM, Blogger Regina McNamara said...

I some what agree that they should get paid and that these presidents and coaches make way too much money I am sorry but i truely believe that if a child wants to go to college and can't afford it why can't these colleges that make so much money put at least half of that money in a pot and let other students who don't play sports but in high school was in all the play's and musicals and was in the music group go to the college they want with out having to take out a bunch of loans and when they are done they owe all this money. My daughter took music and was in the main group of singers who went and sang at special events they even sang on the Radio here in Kansas City, MO for Christmas one year. She was in the play's and the musicals usally with a big part that allowed her to sing solo's. she wanted to go to a college down south , I am sorry I can't remember the whole name of the school but i do remember that it had the name of Sail in it but it cost so much money and because the goverment said that we could afford it they don't take into consideration when you have to fill out your FASA each year that we have bills too, I am on social security and have a lot of medical bills as well as perscriptions that i have to fill every month. so she is at the community college and has lost her hope of every following her dream of acting and singing. I don't think that the money issue stops at the college level what the Kansas City, Mo school board pays it supper intendent is absulultly redictlus he gets hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, and i am sure that they all do, with our teachers making a mere 20,000 to 40,000 a year. this whole country needs to change a whole lot of things. including bringing our jobs back from over sea's and putting our people back to work.Give all kids a chance at a great future not just the football players.

At 10:53 AM, Blogger Regina McNamara said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 9:59 AM, Blogger Richard said...

I too am disabled, for about 20 yrs. now. I am 47. i agree with alot of your points here. We should bring business back to our country. The main reason the cost is cheaper is from the Child labor. It should be illegal around the world. There are alternatives, that could help not only 1 person,or company, but how about the entire this time, I have no health ins. hospital part a, but no doctor. Last year they found cancer. Had my right kidney removed. now, I cant get health ins. under $500 a month for myself. Once your injured, in sports or car accident, you have a hard time getting ins. Not sure what this new health plan will do, but i can't afford it. We need to bring back old ideas. cutting out these senators who make over 1 million a year. Why? To argue and spend our tax money.

At 4:27 PM, Blogger Frater A.M. said...

Hi Richard,

A significant fact is that Child Labor was largely the cause of the Great Depression. We have ignored those costly lessons, and once again history is beginning to repeat itself.

Mr. Laughlin,

Thank you to both yourself and Delores for keeping the Spirit alive.

At 2:52 PM, Blogger passingthru said...

hmmm... as i watched South Pacific and a good looking pilot named Buzz came on the screen (i swear i didn't know there was an actor named Tom Laughlin until i was in my 70s - good thing i didn't :-) ) i said, the fella playing that character (Buzz) was a serious football player

this post is spot on ... but, if i may - the corruption IMO riddles the whole of the institutions of higher learning ... student loans? saddling young people for life with debts that do not support earning a wage to repay them and all for the purpose of keeping some faculty member paid (inordinately well) or even using trusting, warm, idealistic bodies to keep some college open on the campus

just sayin ...

At 7:47 AM, Blogger kat landis said...

What do you think about the way the Penn State sexual abuse scandal has been handled?

At 7:49 AM, Blogger kat landis said...

What do you think of the way the Penn State sexual abuse case is being handled?

At 11:23 PM, Blogger TEL E-Photo said...

My papa, Thomas E Loughlin Sr played football at the University of Pennsylvania (ivy league one, not Penn State) and had some help...this in the days just following the banishment of all football scholarships at Penn (1935).
By the way,many folks confuse the two of us and our political forays...and some even think I am the movie star !!
Let's exchange "credentials".
Tom Loughlin Jr.


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