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Ralph Nader: ‘no football scholarship for you!’


You can put former presidential candidate Ralph Nader in the growing list of politicians who feel they know — and will relentlessly tell you that they know — what’s best for college football.

But, unlike some of his other friends on Capitol Hill, Nader isn’t advocating a college football playoff.

Nader wants to take away football scholarships.

Or, more specifically, replace athletic scholarships with need-based financial aid in the hopes of reducing the “win at all costs” mentality that exists in college football. A mentality that, according to Nader, treats players as professionals — minus the millions of dollars — rather than student-athletes.

“They are students, just like any other student on campus who receives a merit-based scholarship,” Nader said. “An entire industry has developed in the youth sports arena — club teams, personal trainers, etc. — to prey on families’ dreams of an athletic scholarship. The lure of the elusive athletic scholarship is the primary — sometimes the only — marketing tool these youth sports entrepreneurs use.”

Technically, athletic scholarships still serve a purpose: they provide the means for an athlete to advance themselves through higher education. But how many football players really take full advantage of that opportunity? I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but I imagine they’re not 100 percent.

Or, anywhere near it, for that matter.

Nader also suggests that, if removing athletic scholarships doesn’t work (which it won’t), schools should “openly acknowledge the professionalism in big-time college sports, remove the tax-exempt status currently given to athletic departments, and make universities operate them as unrelated businesses.”

College football is definitely a business, but I’m not sure how realistic — though interesting — Nader’s ideas are. In the FCS, the Patriot, Ivy and Pioneer leagues do not hand out athletic scholarships for football (although the Patriot League does give athletic scholarships in non-football sports).

The question would become whether or not that type of structure could work in places like, oh, the SEC. The Ivy and Patriot leagues are conferences who truly still pursue the idea that players are students first, a stark contrast from most big-time college football programs.

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12 Responses to “Ralph Nader: ‘no football scholarship for you!’”
  1. southernpatriots says: Mar 24, 2011 9:21 PM

    We did not know Nader was still around. Didn’t he perish in the rear end collision of the Ford Pinto? Seriously, this must be a joke. What does Nader know about college football? About what he knows about free enterprise.

  2. cappa662 says: Mar 24, 2011 9:32 PM

    Nader is right. If there weren’t any “athletic scholarships”, alot of the big messes that we currently have in the NCAA would go away. It’s not about getting the student athletes the best education, it’s about getting them to perform their best on the playing field. You can be a great student, but lose your scholarship to some criminal who is better than you on the football field.

  3. Usmaman says: Mar 24, 2011 9:43 PM

    First off, Nader’s the type of guy who never lets realism stand in the way of a good idea. Secondly, if you’re talking about free enterprise and the NCAA in the same sentence, I laugh at your naivete.

    Now as an Army fan (a Patriot League member outside of football), I find the idea intriguing. My fear would be that need-based “aid” would replace athletic scholarships for everyone. But taking away the guaranteed scholarship might encourage kids who aren’t interested in learning to go to minor leagues and actually get paid. I’m sure the UFL would love to have the most talented high school football players enter their league for three years until the NFL lets them in.

  4. gatorprof says: Mar 24, 2011 10:26 PM

    Another monkey tossing dung at the wall…

  5. thefiesty1 says: Mar 24, 2011 10:46 PM

    Comments like that is exactly why he’ll never be anything other than an also ran.

  6. jimr10 says: Mar 25, 2011 7:24 AM

    I agree with poster #1. I thought he had passed on years ago.

  7. bonerchamp says: Mar 25, 2011 8:13 AM

    His next agenda: Shoot down the moon!!!

  8. uscatjerseyshore says: Mar 25, 2011 8:25 AM

    In 2000 Ralph Nader cost Al Gore the Presidency where through Republican stonewalling of the election results. 97000 votes cast to this idiot Nader with a difference of 500 votes between Gore and Bush. That said, under George Bush 4,441 American Military Servicemen and Women have been killed and 32,992 have been wounded in Iraq. Had Gore won, it is is almost certain that the US would have NOT gone into Iraq and would have concluded Afghanistan long ago. To the end of 2010 the cost of the war in Iraq exceeded $1.212 Trillion.

    Now Nader is rambling on about the football scholarships. As a bottom line, college football programs generate revenue for colleges and universities that support all programs and academics. Nader can be seen as a direct contributor to the $1.212 Trillion war in Iraq, enter into on questional circumstances (still looking for those weapons of mass destruction). Time for this 77 has been to climb off the podium and shut up!!!

  9. phintasm says: Mar 25, 2011 10:08 AM


    Dude, this is a college football website, not the Huffington Post. Lay off the politics.

  10. edgy says: Mar 25, 2011 10:41 AM

    I think that Nader is dead wrong. You take away the athletic scholarship, you’re NOT going to shut down these football factories. The ones that have the status will still ply their wares and find a way to give out scholarships and they will still get players to go to their schools. You can’t use the Ivy League or the military academies as an example because the students that they target are different than what others schools go after (Yes, even the Big 10). The Ivy League not only stopped giving out scholarships but they stopped putting as much emphasis on the sports like they did before.

    I also think that a little perspective is needed. The Ivy League doesn’t put an emphasis on sports but they do on the “professions” and they bring in a lot of money into and rank at the top in endowments. Harvard and Yale have so much endowment money that they were basically, for lack of a better term, shamed into giving out free educations for those that can’t afford it and cutting the cost of education for those that could. They had billions that were really not doing anything but drawing interest and now, they’re making it easier on their students to afford that education (It would be one thing if they were building libraries or dorms but it was really just sitting in the bank doing nothing).

    Also, these kids are being afforded a “chance” to do something that the school would probably never allow them to do in the first place. While their education may be a sham, it’s not as if they didn’t have the chance to take advantage of the fact that they were being given an opportunity to get an education that their non-playing brothers and sisters would never get at the same school. It might be a good thing if the school was obligated to provide these kids with a free education AFTER they “graduate” because they had to cut corners to stay eligible to satisfy the coach’s and boosters’ insatiable appetite for winning.

  11. uscatjerseyshore says: Mar 26, 2011 5:36 PM

    In response to phintasm – perhaps you’re correct however equally so I don’t believe that the idiot Nader has any business addressing football scholarships.

    phintasm says: Mar 25, 2011 10:08 AM


    Dude, this is a college football website, not the Huffington Post. Lay off the politics.

  12. bauerbac says: Mar 27, 2011 12:43 PM

    As Bugs Bunny said “What a maroon”!

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