Louisiana-Lafayette football players are being told to give back to their school.
Per the Advocate, coach Billy Napier has heavily encouraged all players on scholarship to donate $50 back to the school’s athletic department. Yes, players who are not getting paid beyond what the university gives them in scholarship money are being nudged to donate back to the athletic department’s scholarship fund.
“That’s probably a little bit unheard of and a little bit unique, but I think this is a place where that would be appreciated,” Napier said of the new team rule. “I think it’s part of the type of program that we want to have. We want our players to be educated and understand the benefits that come with being a student-athlete and that is not something that should be taken lightly — the effort and time and investment that the people that support athletes at UL have put in into this program.”
Walk-on players are not obligated to donate to the school because, you know, they’re having to pay to play already. A statement from the school to Athletic Business said there is no mandatory requirement to donate.
"The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Department of Athletics is thrilled that head coach Billy Napier’s football program and its student-athletes expressed their collective desire to give back and show gratitude to the Ragin’ Cajuns Athletic Foundation. Members of the football program have started an initiative to demonstrate their appreciation to the RCAF, including its board of directors, staff and investors, when they are able to do so," Crawford said in a statement.
"Additionally, student-athletes will be encouraged to join the RCAF at the introductory level during their college careers, an initiative the program and its coaching staff supports in order to give back to the foundation that has done so much to support the Louisiana football team and the department of athletics."
Napier’s heart appears to be in the right place as he had the scholarship fund make a presentation to the team this week. It’s totally fine to encourage players to give back to their school. But only after they’re done with school and have jobs that pay them a salary that allows them to do that.
Asking — err, encouraging — players to donate money while they’re still a part of the team and unable to make any money off playing football is not the way to do it, even if those players are simply being asked to donate the minimum amount to the athletic department.
Remember, these are players who do not have the rights to their name or image or likeness while playing college sports. While a scholarship is certainly a benefit, the benefits that college football players and other athletes could receive could total a whole lot more if the NCAA would be willing to redefine its stance on amateurism.
Any college player should not be, directly or indirectly, paying for his or her scholarship in any fashion. And especially not football players. Football teams are the revenue-generating programs for numerous universities across the country and help bring in money for other non-revenue programs.
Hopefully, no one follows Louisiana’s lead on this.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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