This Is The Year, Saints

This Is The Year, Saints

This may be Drew Brees' last chance at a second Super Bowl ring.

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The New Orleans Saints have made a stunning resurgence to relevance. They look like the class of the NFC along with the Los Angeles Rams and are surefire Super Bowl contenders for the 2018 NFL season. However, there is something that must be stressed and Saints fans should scream it at the top of their lungs. This may be quarterback Drew Brees' last chance to add a second Super Bowl ring to his résumé. Drew Brees has been the Saints' franchise quarterback since 2006 and led the team to their first Super Bowl victory in 2010, winning Super Bowl XLIV over the Indianapolis Colts by a score of 31-17.

Along the way, he has established himself as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, breaking numerous franchise and NFL records. Just this year, he threw his 500th touchdown pass and broke the NFL records for passing yards and pass completions. He is now surrounded by a complete team on both sides of the ball and is playing some of the best football of his career.

From 2014 to 2016, the Saints finished with a 7-9 record for three consecutive seasons. They had the offensive firepower, but the defense consistently ranked among the worst in the NFL. Then came the 2017 season. The Saints had one of the best drafts in recent memory, drafting defensive stars in cornerback Marshon Lattimore and safety Marcus Williams while bolstering the offense with offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk and running back Alvin Kamara. They compiled an 11-5 record, winning the NFC South and making it all the way to the Divisional Round of the NFC playoffs. They would fall victim to the Minneapolis Miracle and lose 29-24 to the Minnesota Vikings in heartbreaking fashion.

Since then, New Orleans has only gotten stronger. That is why it is so crucial for the Saints to win Super Bowl LIII this year. Drew Brees is 39 years old and may be contemplating retirement soon. Their window can only be open for so long. If Brees does not win the Super Bowl this season, he may never see one again.

Everyone on this team should seize this opportunity and keep a winning mindset. There is one thing that should be on the minds of every member of the Saints organization:

THIS IS OUR CHANCE.

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Why College Athletes Should Not Be Paid

Dont they already get enough?
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Throughout the years big name college athletes have been trying to get six-digit numbers in their bank account before making it to the pros. What they do not understand is that college is not a place of work and that it is meant to further education for a future career. Also, no college, big or small, has enough money to pay them. They have to pay to build facilities, pay coaches, give scholarships, and pay athletic directors to make sure that the school has the best chance of winning. Despite the fact that most athletes do not have money to get by while they are in college, schools do not gain enough revenue back from the money that they put into their sports programs. They are technically already paid with a free education due to their scholarship, and all of the different sports would not be able to be paid the same amount.

If colleges were to pay their athletes, there would not be as much money to go around for any of the other things like the facilities or the coaches. Not only do colleges not have enough money, but it would also defeat the purpose of going to school. If athletes were to start getting paid, it would give people a reason to talk about paying other students in the school. “If we pay the athletes maybe we should also do it for the first violinist in the school orchestra, or the lead actor in theatrical productions, and perhaps popular professors should allocate course enrollment slots to those students who bid the highest" according to Andrew Zimbalist of theatlantic.com. It would also make the cost of college more expensive. The money would have to come from somewhere. That would just make it harder for a regular student to attend a college. According to star.txstate.edu, it would be really unfair to the other students. Some if not all college athletes are already on scholarships, so why should they be paid like they are professionals? Many college athletes argue that since they do not have time to get jobs that they should be paid by the university so that they can have extra money to spend. What they do not realize is that the average college student is middle class and has to pay their way through school. It is not that since they do not play a sport they have money to spend. These students would kill to have their school paid for and all they would have to worry about is their grades.

It would really ruin the culture of college sports. College students love college sports because the athletes are students just like they are. The athletes are in classes and are seen on campus. They are a part of the school's community. Money would separate the athletes from the student body. It would make them seem like they are the most important people at the school.

Another thing is that some athletes do not stay in school the four years to earn their degrees, so they will take up classroom space for one or two years and it is free. Some athletes don't even deserve the education that they are being given. For example, the valedictorian of my high school class really wanted to go to Georgetown. She got in, but tuition was over $75,000 a year, yet there are athletes that go to this school for free and probably do not have the grades to even be there. Former NBA star Allen Iverson who barely graduated high school and will tell you himself that he hated school, got to go to Georgetown for free, and he only stayed for one year.

Forbes.com was also able to bring up some good points. Football and basketball are the two sports that most people think of when it comes to athletes being paid. What about the other sports? Athletes participate in sports like soccer, tennis, golf, baseball, volleyball, track and field. They work just as hard as football and basketball players, but just because they do not generate as much money they have to be treated differently than the people that work out in the same facilities as they do. Even if it were possible for athletes to be paid they should all be paid the same. Some people claim that football and men's basketball should be the only sports to be paid because those are the sports that generate the bulk of the revenue. This would be violating the federal Title IX law. This law stipulates equal compensation for male and female athletes. Besides the issue of paying the participants of every sport, there is also the issue of everyone being paid — should you just pay your elite athletes or the whole team? How much would you pay players? Is it one set amount for every athlete, or will there be pro-like contracts? If you let athletes get paid for endorsements, will it give some programs unfair advantages? If someone plays for a school like Alabama they are more likely to get an endorsement than if they were playing for a school like Tulsa. It is the same issue with allowing profit off merchandise sold with their name or number. Playing for Florida would give a better opportunity to make a profit off of merchandise than playing for Western Michigan.

Also, imagine a coach trying to discipline a college player if they were paid. Even if they know they messed up all they would care about is the money. Paying them would affect their character and it would affect the way they act if they were to go out in the real world and play professionally. College teaches you about life and tells you to be disciplined. It is hard to be disciplined when you are getting paid a lot of money.

One thing that may surprise the reader of this paper is that most colleges, even the big name ones, do not even make the money back that they put into their sports programs. Despite all the tickets, merchandise, and memorabilia that these big name universities sell, they cannot break even. According to theatlantic.com, the average FBS athletic program ran a $9.44 million operating deficit. This brings up the question where would the money come from?

While researching on forbes.com only 14 athletic programs are generating a profit without having to rely on institutional support like student fees. Ohio state university needs over $22 million from the booster club in order to balance. OSU could ask the boosters for money to pay the players, but what would a school like Western Kentucky do? They already spend 5.6 million on grants-in-aid and it takes 8.2 million from the university to balance their budget. How would they pay their players?

One thing that shocked me while I was doing research on thestate.com was that the athletes that are basically impoverished receive a federal supplement every semester. It is called Pell Grant money. Qualified college athletes receive up to $5,645 put in their bank accounts a year. The athlete can choose to spend this money in any way they want. So it is pretty much up to them to be smart with it and not blow it on something stupid. This money is meant to help athletes from impoverished backgrounds live like average students without hardship.

Dawn Staley, the South Carolina women's basketball coach grew up in the Philadelphia projects. She earned a full scholarship to Virginia where she qualified for the maximum amount of Pell Grant money. “Things came up. I didn't have much when I went to school. When you see other people with things, you're a kid, you want them. If you don't have them, you don't feel like you're having the full experience of being in college." Staley's example from two decades ago still applies today. The athletes that need it the most are taken care of through Pell Grants. They do not need the extra money. These grants are distributed based on the annual income of an athlete's family. The lower the income the higher the grant.

Most fans of college sports do not know that the NCAA allows for additional help to athletes through the student athlete opportunity fund. It is intended to provide direct benefits to student athletes or their families as determined by conference officers. Some of the benefits include non-athletics related health expenses that are not covered by an athlete's insurance plan, travel expenses for an athlete to attend funerals or family emergencies, and a $200 annual clothing allowance, as long as Pell Grants are available.

A big reason college athletes should not be paid is simply because they are not professionals. College athletes are people that are trying to get to the pros and therefore, are not paid because they have not made it yet. Since these players are in college, they should never be paid to play their sport. College sports are just like another class. College students pick something that they want to major in so that they can learn and start a career. College sports should be treated the same way. “I am a broadcast journalism major and no one pays me to set up interviews, anchor a show or broadcast on the college radio station, U92 FM. The reason why no one pays me to do any of that is because I am learning my field in order to get paid when I get a job. In college sports you play to get to the pros, not to earn a paycheck as a student." says Josh Cooper of bdlsports.net. What people forget about college athletes is that they are student athletes. The word student comes before athlete. No one in college gets paid to get an A+ or pass an important test. College is a place where you learn to grow up and how to manage your life.

The biggest reason why college athletes should not be paid is that having a scholarship is technically a form of pay. No, the athlete does not get that money to spend on whatever they want, but the most important thing is paid for. The average college student would kill to have their school already paid for. Not only does a college athlete have a chance to go pro in a sport but they have a chance to finish a degree, which can be used if the pros do not go as planned.

While reading an article by John Rocker from wind.com I discovered that college athletes also have the opportunity to meet the boosters of the schools that they play for. A school's boosters club is made up of alumni that give a lot of money to the school. They most likely own their own businesses. This is another job opportunity for an athlete. If the pros do not work out the booster could remember the athlete's buzzer beater against their rival and give them a job.

In closing, there are too many questions that need to be answered and too many issues that would arise from college athletes getting paid. A college athlete has a ton of privileges and opportunities. There is no reason why they should be paid. Their school is free, they have a chance of getting a job if the pros don't work out and there is just not enough money to go around.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube
Cover Image Credit: Post and Courier

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ASU Baseball Is Already Knocking It Out Of The Park

All eyes are on the Sun Devils as they enter the national poll this previous week. The Sun Devils are the last unbeaten team left in the NCAA.

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Starting off the season 18-0? Not bad, considering the Sun Devils' haven't gone undefeated at the start of the NCAA baseball season since 2010 when they went 24-0, but honestly where did this come from? In the 2017-18 season, the Devils finished off with 23-32, sitting towards the bottom of the Pac-12. Now they're the top of the conference, past the usual Pac-12 baseball powerhouse, Oregon State.

On a team with only 27 on the roster, which makes it the smallest team in the Pac-12, you wouldn't really expect such an explosive start to the season. Take a look at the improvements made, though, and you'll see why.

For starters, catcher Sam Ferri is back healthy and ready for this season to start with both pitchers Alec Marsh and RJ Dabovich, who've both thrown some great games, but if we're being honest here, have been a little inconsistent with a few errors, but have been backed up by the offense to get the job done.

On offense, Hunter Bishop and Spencer Torkelson are the ones to watch out for. Torkelson was named Pac-12 freshman of the year last year, after setting the Pac-12 freshman record of home runs. Now he's back with some deadly at-bat presence, as you can always expect a few RBIs from him, and also doing a great job at infield (#TorkBomb). Bishop's following suit, with major at-bats against Notre Dame, Michigan State, and Xavier.

Safe to say being ranked #23 right now is huge for a program that struggled majorly in the past seasons and has had some great players transfer out recently. Despite being faced with huge adversity before the season, this lineup is really producing some good stuff this year, and by being undefeated through the first month of play really exemplified that.

Hats off to Head Coach Tracy Smith for helping these young men after having the program suffer for a while.

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