“It’s just one of those years; some years things happen to go your way, others they don’t,” head coach Jeff Brohm said.
After two weeks of speculation, Boilermaker fans got their wish Saturday afternoon. Fifth-year quarterback Elijah Sindelar returned to his role as starting quarterback after sitting out week three with a concussion.
Just as Sindelar seemed to be finding his groove, boom — Purdue’s once hopeful season seemed to go down the drain in an instant.
Sophomore wide reciever Rondale Moore, a potential Heisman Memorial Trophy candidate, and Sindelar both went down with what seemed to be serious injuries that sucked the life out of Ross-Ade Stadium. Purdue’s four best players — Moore, Sindelar, Markus Bailey and Lorenzo Neal, — are now all inactive for the time being.
This raises a larger question: Is college football worth the price of admission for the athlete?
According to Yahoo! Sports, the minimum salary for an NFL practice squad player is $8,000 a week. If said player managed to stay on the roster for a full season, excluding the playoffs, he would earn approximately $136,000.
How many football fans can name four practice squad players from their favorite team? My guess is zero. If you asked any of the 50,629 people in attendance Saturday who Moore and Sindelar were, I guarantee they’d have an answer.
Before Sindelar’s first injury this season, he led college football in passing yards and Moore led the nation in receptions. The two were shaping up to have excellent seasons, but now their futures are unclear.
Their value isn’t.
Ross-Ade Stadium after the duo’s injuries: empty. The score: ugly. Let’s say the two didn’t get injured. Purdue wouldn’t have been guaranteed a win, but the likelihood of a win would have greatly increased. Although Purdue added a loss to its record, the real losers here were the injured players. The only thing they received for their blood, sweat, time and tears, is a plummet in draft stock.
“A lot of these guys want to at one point in time, I know this for myself, want to make this their job one day,” freshman defensive end George Karlaftis said. “It’s my love, it’s my passion.”
It’s time we began letting college athletes capitalize on their passion before their bodies buckle. Bailey came into this season projected to be one of the best linebackers in the country after foregoing entering the draft and returning to Purdue. After going down with a season-ending knee injury in practice, his status as an NFL prospect is undoubtedly diminishing. Moore has been a national sensation since his very first game, but if his injury is more serious than Purdue is letting on, his stock will also be in danger. Sindelar’s whole Purdue career was derailed by injury, but at the end of the day, what will he have to show for it?
The NCAA gets to benefit from the hard work of athletes while leaving them with nothing.
Does this mean the NCAA should pay each and every player on top of paying for their education? No. However, every player should be able to benefit from their ability.
“It’s football; people are going to go down,” Karlaftis said.
How many college players have to lose their careers to injury before a change is made? If an unknown practice squad player is worth at least $8,000 week, what is the value of a college football star?