Anytime a big time college athlete says the word “money” it piques attention, raises eyebrows, and draws ears a little bit closer. This is the case with some comments made last night by Clemson’s Dwayne Allen, an outstanding junior tight end who may leave school for the NFL Draft.
After last night’s loss to West Virginia in the Orange Bowl (a game summed up perfectly with one picture here), Allen was asked if the “empty feeling” he had after playing poorly in the loss would be a reason for him to come back. This is how he responded, which has led more than a few folks to jump to totally unnecessary conclusions:
No, no. That’s why I’m going to take some days off to really get away from this feeling and to think things through, the pros and cons. I’m happy to say that the one thing that’s not going to go in my decision is money. Being at Clemson I have more money, more resources than I’ve ever had in my whole life.
This statement by Allen has led to the video being posted at Reddit with the title “Clemson pays its players very well, according to their star tight end” and numerous commenters on the video have left sentiments that echo the first comment, which says, “WHAT AN IDIOT! HE JUST DROPPED DIME THAT CLEMSON IS PAYING HIM MORE MONEY THAN HE HAS EVER HAD IN HIS LIFE”. (If that isn’t the quintessential YouTube comment, I don’t know what is.)
I am posting the video to stop the idiocy before it starts.
Yes, Allen gives a little smirk that one might describe as mischievous when he says the money line, before quickly adding in “more resources” to the quote:
And yes, I am quite certain that players all over the country get their pockets lined with more money than what a scholarship provides. But Allen making this remark in no way suggests or proves that Clemson is doing anything under the table to get its players money.
In fact, this is a good time to remind everyone just how much athletes get from their scholarship, because it is more than just room and board and book money. And this topic is outlined very well at this post from HolyTurf.com entitled “Football Players Receive $17,000 Annually in Cash, all within NCAA Rules.” (Give the maligned YouTube comments credit, as this link was left in the comment section of the above video.)
Here are a couple of stipends you may not know that college athletes can or do receive:
Many football student-athletes qualify for a Pell Grant based on several factors, but most earn a Pell Grant based on a lack of wealth from their parents. According to collegeboard.com, “The U.S. Department of Education uses a standard formula to evaluate the information you supply when applying for a Pell Grant. This formula produces a number called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which determines if you are eligible. The grant requires that you: 1. Are an undergraduate student who has not earned a bachelor’s degree. 2. Are a U.S. citizen or an eligible noncitizen. 3. Have a high school diploma or a GED, or demonstrate the ability to benefit from the program”
A full Pell Grant is worth $5,500 a year and never has to be repaid because it is a grant, not a loan. Football players get $5,500 each year to do with what they want.
If a football player qualifies for a Pell Grant, they also get $500 of clothing allowance each year. My memory fails me, but I am almost certain this money is from the conference. Football players can buy whatever clothes they want as long as they bring back $500 worth of receipts to their Compliance department showing the clothes they bought. Now, many football players will spend this money on new Nike’s, hats, jeans or t–shirts. This money could be spent on buying a nice suit, or a few pairs of khaki pants and some button down shirts, but rarely is that the case.
Now, I don’t know anything about Dwayne Allen’s life growing up in Fayetteville, North Carolina. I don’t know if he comes from a low income background or from a wealthy one. Obviously this would be important information to have when placing his “I have more money, more resources than I’ve ever had in my life” line in context. But having been around college football programs growing up (my dad was an assistant in the Big Ten), I know that a great many players do come from very poor backgrounds, poor enough that $17,000 in room, board, food, clothes and the like would be a significant upgrade over what they’ve ever known.
So, to all though who want to jump on the bandwagon that DWAYNE ALLEN EXPOSED CLEMSON with his comments last night, just cool it. I know this is the Internet, but there is no need for outlandish knee jerk reactions. Save that for real hot button, point-and-laugh comments…like this guy mistaking First Lady Michelle Obama for Lisa Salters.