Friday, January 6, 2012

Reflections as We Prepare for College Football

The college football season is about to start, so there should be a lot of optimism and hope in the air. But to some less fortunate schools, there is a lot of doubt about this season. For one school in particular (the University of Miami), the whole football program could be suspended for an extended period of time. The Miami football team is under duress because some of the current and former players have been caught receiving money from a booster who has given multiple players large sums money, which is totally against NCAA rules. Because a small number of athletes took money, the whole program could shutdown. A similar scandal happened in 1980 at SMU when players took money from a booster and the whole football program was shut down.

This is a bad sign considering the fact that the football program brings in millions of dollars and is one of the most famed and recognized teams in college football. This will be a dark day in college football if the football program goes under.

These scandals really point to a larger ethical and moral problem with college sports: the unequal distribution of money. These players, who are often African-American with little or no money, are courted by the big name schools; and while the schools make millions of dollars off of these athletes, the only trade off for them is a meal ticket and a dorm room. Oftentimes, these schools do not have adequate tutoring to help these athletes to ensure graduation. The number of student athletes who actually graduate are terrible. It is unfair that the players are being penalized for such “violations” as taking money, because the amount of money that the players are getting from the booster is far less than the money the university is getting from the television contracts and merchandizing from the football team.

-Marcus Vincent
Junior Correspondent

*Marcus wrote this and sent it to me in the beginning of last fall. I just dropped the ball on posting it!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Collective Bargaining and the NFL

For the first time since 1987, the NFL is facing a lockout, which means that there could possibly be no football for the 2011 season. And I do mean no football. No Sunday afternoon games, no Monday night games, and no Super bowl. How and why did we reach this point? The larger question is: What can be done to prevent the cancellation of the 2011 season?

The owners and players had been working well together under a collective bargaining agreement negotiated in 2006. The NFL’s collective bargaining agreement expired last week so there is a work stoppage. The NFL players and the owners cannot agree on how to divide up the TV and ticket revenue, which comes to about nine billion dollars per season. A large portion needs to be set aside for player’s health and retirement benefits.

The fat-cat owners opted out of the former collective bargaining agreement in 2008. The owners were feeling they weren’t getting enough of the money brought into the NFL. Under the old deal, of 9 billion dollars, the owners would get one billion upfront, and then the remaining $8 billion got split up 60-40, with 60% going towards player salaries. Here is where its gets dicey; the owners wanted to take an additional billion dollars off the top and then divide the remaining $7 billion of that 50-50. According to the owners, they need “this extra” money off the top because they need funds to pay for huge stadiums and updated facilities. The owners are also required to pay for retired players health insurance and other miscellaneous services. In order to generate even more money, the owners want an 18 game regular season, which will increase the $9 billion pot substantially.

On the flip side, given the outbreak of head injuries and other major health problems, the players have absolutely refused to play two additional games, so that is off the table. The players, however, have offered to split all the money 50-50. It is important to note that the players were content with the old collective bargaining agreement and wanted to keep it, but it was the filthy rich the owners who opted out. The players have been willing to work with the owners and give up a little for the betterment of the game, but again the owners have been refusing their offers.

So now we are at a standstill. Further, the owners have refused to give information about their spending to the players, and as a result the two sides have not been able to reach an agreement. I believe that the ordeal will go to court and the judge will rule in favor of the players because once the judge sees how unfair the owners are treating the players, and the players will win the encounter in court.

This case represents the worst of capitalism; both sides are successful and making tons of money yet unable to reach an agreement. The owners are the real culprits here; in the end, they really don’t care about the game; they just want to fill their pockets off the backs of athletes.

- Marcus Vincent
Junior Correspondent

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Ohio State Situation

Ohio State, winner of the 2011 BCS Sugar Bowl, has a major problem after such a monumental achievement. Five of Ohio State’s players were caught selling their Big 10 Championship rings from the 2009 season for an undisclosed amount of money. Four of the five players were starters for the Buckeyes, and they were expected to have huge seasons but now they are suspended for the first five games for the 2011 -2012 season. After their admission of guilt, the five players agreed to stay in school and play in last month’s Sugar Bowl rather than forgo their senior season and go to the NFL. This means that all the players agreed to miss the first five games of next season.

The players lost big time. The players sold their rings and other team gear for money. Thus, it was agreed by the NCAA that any profit the players made from the rings had to be given away to charity, so now, because of their thoughtless acts, these players lost their championship rings, and they were unable to keep the money. The NCAA suspended the players because the players received improper benefits by receiving the money. But, the question is raised, should players be able to sell their memorabilia for their own profit?

The NCAA believes that players cannot sell their gear. However, I would have to disagree with their logic and side with the players. Athletes should be able to give away and/or sell their own personal items for money. They are the ones on the field, giving their blood, sweat, and tears, and if they are short on cash, they should be able to make the decision to sell their personal items. It can certainly be argued that the players disrespected the team by putting a price on what they worked so hard to achieve. Understandably the team was upset at the players for their actions. Yet, it still does not give the NCAA the right to regulate what players can and cannot buy and sell. This is, after all, a free and capitalistic society, and we all should be able to make a buck.

- Marcus Vincent
Junior Correspondent

Monday, November 1, 2010

Michael Vick: The Comeback Kid

The front-runner for the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year Award is Michael Vick. Vick, a star player for the Atlanta Falcons in the early part of the decade, has just returned to the NFL after a run-in with the law. Vick was in prison for two years and was out of the league. Now three years later, Vick has returned to his old form, for a new team and with a new purpose. Vick is now with the Philadelphia Eagles and is trying to re-write his image.

Michael Vick was the poster boy for the NFL from 2001-2006 when he was with the Atlanta Falcons. He was the best and most exciting player during that time. But in the 2007 season, Vick was arrested and was sent to prison on dog fighting charges in Virginia. Vick was sent to prison for 18 months and was facing numerous financial problems. Vick lost all of his endorsements and his contract with the Falcons. While many thought Michael Vick’s career was over, his persevered and broke through. He did his time honorably and suffered his losses, all the while trying to maintain a healthy attitude.

Two years removed from prison, Michael Vick is back in the NFL with the Eagles. Vick is the team’s starting quarterback, after beating out the front-runner Kevin Kolb for the job. Vick is back to his old form and is playing at a Pro Bowl level. Now the sky is the limit for Vick, who has the respect from his teammates, fans and the society at large.

Vick turned his life around and made the best of his situation. His story shows that anyone can do their best no matter what kind of mess they are in, and can do the work to get themselves back to their best abilities. Vick has shown that people deserve second chances and is giving hope to people who have made bad decisions in their lives. Further, his story illustrates that we can learn from our mistakes and become better human beings.

- Marcus Vincent
Junior Correspondent

The BSC Core Principles: A Year Later

Hello everyone,

I pray all is well. Last year, I wrote about the four principles that we were going to focus on as a program. A year later (September 25th 2010), we asked scholars to reflect on how they "did" last year with regards to each of the principles (humility, proactivity, integrity, and maturity). Here's a quick recap of that discussion:

(1) The principle scholars said they wanted to work on the most this year was proactivity.

(2) They suggested that a fifth principle be added: stability (consistency). A common theme amongst some of the scholars was they they started out strong last year (or there were spurts last year where they were strong academically), and then let up and fell behind.

Hopefully this year we'll see increases in all the principles, especially proactivity and stability. By the way, has anyone received any further "clarity" on the issue of whether or not "proactivity" is a legit word, lol?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

New Links Section Added

Hello Fresh Scholar Family,

We've just added a links section to the blog. The first link added is for "Brightstorm", a SF-based company whose mission is to bring great teaching to the world. They have agreed to partner with Berkeley Scholars to Cal II (mostly Juniors and a few Sophomores), and providing them with free SAT Prep resources. Until next time, take care and keep it scholarly...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Athletes and Gunplay from a Scholar's Perspective

The following was written by a scholar who, in addition to maintaining a 3.8-4.0 GPA, is an avid sports fan and analyst:

"Athletes are considered by some to be “super humans.” Athletes have million-dollar contracts and are loved by adoring fans everywhere. Athletes have it all, but some athletes make stupid decisions that cost them their fame and fortune. Former NBA forward, Jayson Williams, and Washington Wizards guard, Gilbert Arenas, have both been in trouble with the law because of guns. Both were good basketball players that have made a bad name for themselves, black men, and the NBA. Jayson Williams, a decent basketball player in the 1990’s, was playing with his guns, inside his house when he accidently shot the gun and killed his limousine driver in 2002. After the shooting, he immediately tried to “cover up” the incident by making it look like a suicide. After 8 years, he was finally convicted of reckless manslaughter. Unfortunately, this tragedy could have easily been avoided if he had been more responsible.

Unlike Williams, Gilbert Arenas brought his guns from home and put them in the locker room for protection. According to witnesses, Arenas began arguing with another teammate, Javaris Crittenton, over a card game debt. The facts are still unclear; however, it seems that one player wanted to collect on the debt, and to see who was the “bigger man” guns were drawn to “settle the score.” Presently, both Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton are suspended for the remainder of the NBA season. These three men represent the worst of manhood, being irresponsible and immature. Furthermore, the three men did not take responsibility for their behavior. At the next basketball game, Arenas using his thumb and index finger as a gun, jokingly “shot” his teammates. The fact that they were gun owners was not necessarily the problem, but it was that they were completely reckless and irresponsible in regards to the guns, which now makes them poor role models."

- Marcus Vincent, 10th Grade, BSC II