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October 13, 2010 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2010-10-13

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The Statement // Wednesday, October 13 2010

OCTOBER 13, 2010


I t was toward the beginning of my
senior year, wedged in between a
pair of football losses. After com-
ng back from a semester abroad in
Warsaw, Poland, I had been feeling just
a bit more lost than usual, and it sort of
culminated on that da.
Not that I could remember ever
really knowing where I was going. In
fact, ever since Professor H.D. Cam-
eron began spouting quotes of Homeric
proportions in my very first college
lecture, I realized that I had very little
endgame in mind. But there I was, just
months removed from this transforma-
tive, worldly experience and, suddenly,
6 a.m. pre-games and Thursday nights
at Skeeps no longer seemed sufficient
I was wandering the streets of cam-
pus that Sunday, crossing under the

Engineering arch, giving some spare
change to one of our more jovial,
friendly bums. I hummed along to the
harmonica that ushered my entrance
to the diag and I exchanged pleasant-
ries with friends fighting hangovers on
their way to the UGLi.
I approached that Gold 'M' in the
center, that grand piece of maize metal
on the ground that I refused to step on
- a stance that I would hold fast until
graduation. I suddenly recalled the
chubby 16-year-old who first visited
this campus, who first trembled at its
buildings, who first whiffed the aroma
of tradition in the air. I remembered
this boy, and I had to wonder: Has any-
thing changed?
I had made great friends in col-
lege, sure. I had met some girls and I
had hurt some girls. I had gotten hurt

enough that I saw the ground before
me but not the sky or the buildings or
the future straight ahead. My legs were
Staking me somewhere, and my choices
were taking me somewhere - some-
where my head and heart would soon
I found myself on the steps of the
Union, the University's flag flying high
from its tower. I stared again at the
plaque I had seen a million times: John
myself. I took some interesting classes. F. Kennedy's face emblazed in bronze.
I took some hard classes. I took Coral Suddenly my head caught on to where my
Reefs to fulfill my Natural Science legs were taking me. Suddenly my heart
requirement. I read amazing books and had a direction in which to yearn. So I
had enlightening conversations. But I thtought, "Why not mef" and I headed to
couldn't shake the feeling that I hadn't the Tap oom, loggeti ot PeaceCorps.
really done anything. gr and started an application.
I didn't even realize I was still wan- I am now just over six months into
my service as a
"So I thought, 'W hy not me?'and Youth Develop-
ment Volunteer
I headed to the Tap Room, logged in Ukraine. It's
a long way from
on to PeaceCorps.gov and started the march down
Hoover Street
an application." and the line on
the north end of
Thompson. My new
dering on that brisk Sunday, my neck house has no running water, no sink, no
slightly bent, the hood of my sweat- bathtub, an outdoor "toilet" (read: hole
shirt covering the tops of my eyes just in the ground) and a door that won't

quite shut - which should be a real
charmer come the Ukrainian winter
that is alleged to put that of Ann Arbor
to shame. Until now, I never thought I
would find myself yearning for my for-
mer dilapidated residence on Vaughn
I still do a lot of wandering here -
wading through fields of sunflowers or
rowrs of potatoes or forests of wheat.
But now I wander with purpose, trying
to figure out a theme for my next Eng-
lish lesson or how to better implement
our village-wide anti-litter campaign. I
strategize with local leaders about hosr
to build a better future for the children,
and I brainstorm about financing for
my pipe dream of a recycling plant in
the abandoned factory just outside of
Every day kids walk into my office at
school and ask me about the flag with
the giant 'M' draped on my wall. I tell
them it's from the greatest University
in the world, the entire reason why I'm
Mee-Shee-Gan, they say. Michigan,
I cry. And I feel for the first time in my
life like a real leader. I feel like, finally,
I am doing my best.
Jeremy Borovitz is a University alum.

From Page 5
for-play opponents who claim there
would be no fair way to pay student-
"It's not more for a skill position,
less for a lineman, more for an offen-
sive player, less for a defensive play-
er," he said. "They're all in it together.
And whether they ride the bench
or ride the shoulders as conquering
heroes after the game, they all get
paid the same amount."
Chambers and Winfree are just
two individuals who are sympathetic
to the idea of paying student-athletes.
But their contrasting approaches to

the fundamental mechanics of doing
so highlight perhaps the biggest chal-
lenge faced by pay-for-play advocates:
Even if society could be convinced
that compensation beyond scholar-
ships for revenue athletes was the
right thing to do, the practical impli-
cations are daunting.
"The financial structure of higher
education today and college athlet-
ics, it's not there without a significant
subsidy from the university or the
cutting of other sports to pay for it,"
Martin said.
In a January 2008 Sports Illustrat-
ed column, long-time sports commen-
tator Frank Deford asserted that the
revenue programs subsidizing other
sports is part of the problem, noting

that the football and basketball ath-
letes come from disproportionately
poor African-American backgrounds.
"Not only do poor black kids get
no remuneration for their work, they
are expected to carry all these other
coaches and players and teams on
their backs with their unpaid labor,"
Deford wrote. "Basically, a scholar-
ship boils down to a device to keep
the players on the premises where
they can perform their services for
Veteran columnist Jason Whit-
lock took it one step further last July,
writing that "Reggie Bush is Kunta
Kinte, a runaway slave," in a piece for
Obviously, comparing NCAA ath-

letics to slavery is just inflammatory.
But while they're certainly not paid
professionals, they're not pure ama-
teurs either, as the NCAA contends.
"There's no question that there's
commercialization," Martin said.
"There's no question that college
coaches, the head coaches, the coor-
dinators at our level make signifi-
cant income. There's just no question
about it."
Former UCLA basketball star Ed
O'Bannon and former Nebraska and
Arizona State quarterback Sam Keller
are leading a class action lawsuit in
federal courts on behalf of current
and former athletes to try and make
the NCAA share revenues earned
through the licensing of players' like-

nesses with the athletes.
They have had success beyond
similar past challenges in the prelim-
inary stages, according to The Asso-
ciated Press. History says it's a long
shot, but a victory for O'Bannon and
Keller would lead to a reckoning in an
entire industry - an industry fiercely
resistant to this kind of change.
"Higher education is clinging to
amateur athletics," Martin said.
He paused. "That's a good ques-
tion. Because I think people would
like the world to maybe stop. That
they'd like for there to be the concept
of amateurism as we grew up with it
to remain in effect. Now maybe as we
get older in time, that will change."


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