Man, you talk about taking one for the team.
According to multiple reports out of Alabama, Tide players had a choice when it came to exactly how they were going to get to Pasadena for the title game: either fly individually and independent of one another, or fly to Cali together as a team.
If they flew independent of their teammates, it would be permissible for them to book cheaper flights and pocket the difference from the travel stipend allotted to them by the NCAA. Depending on their mode of transportation, that could have been a total of about $1,000 going into their pockets.
Keep in mind, these players are in an age bracket that willingly gives up their own plasma — or other bodily fluids — so they can stock their cupboards with Ramen noodles and their fridges with 30-packs of Nati Light.
So, what did they do?
The team leaders took it upon themselves to call for a vote and let the consensus decide how the team was getting to the championship game. And, in a mildly shocking upset, the majority of players decided to give up the cash and voted to travel together as a team.
“We really just said, ‘Look, it’s a business trip.’ It’s not about money or trying to get everybody to have all these different things going on. It’s time to win this game,'” captain and All-American lineman Michael Johnson said. “I was pleased with the way everybody reacted. Everybody wanted to get a charter and stay together as a team and make sure we were all on the same page for the game.”
There is still a chance, however, that the players could receive the travel stipend. According to head coach Nick Saban, Alabama is appealing to the NCAA on behalf of the players.
“We have an appeal into the NCAA because we think it’s very, very unfair that because of our location, our players won’t be able to receive a little bit of the extra money,” the coach said.
Incidentally, Texas players will be traveling to the game individually and will pocket the difference, as they are entitled to.