College football players across the nation got a big, heaping helping of support from one of the greatest athletes ever to play the game (who also never got paid for his time on the field, of course).
Ohio State’s Archie Griffin--the only football player ever to win two Heisman trophies–publicly announced his support for the Northwestern college football team who won the right to form a players’ union. Of course, that’s the same team that sparked a national debate about the nature of college athletes and the sacrifices they make for their schools’ profit margins. A reporter from the Columbus Dispatch asked Griffin what Ohio State coach Woody Hayes would have said about his players trying to form a union. He just laughed and gave his answer.
Griffin’s chuckle, however, quickly gave way to a more serious answer, with his tone reflecting an increasingly serious topic in college athletics.
“I honestly think Coach would have been for what’s best for the players,” said Griffin, who won two Heisman Trophies as a running back on Hayes’ teams in the 1970s.
Griffin said the players deserve more than what they are currently getting for the painful sacrifices they make on the field for the school, their fans and the NCAA.
“We should have seen it coming with college football the way it is today, with the dollars being made, the prices being charged for tickets, and the salaries of coaches and administrators.
“The players are not blind. They see the dollars being made in the game. It’s obvious. That’s kind of why they are where they are. They feel the term amateur is keeping them from getting what they deserve.”
That’s a pretty hefty endorsement and perspective from someone who knows what it’s like to put your body on the line and get very little in return and he’s coming from a time when the dollars the NCAA raked in off of its players weren’t nearly what they are now. We would just love to watch some NCAA bigwig or a school president who only sees “amateurs” players as tiny little money machines get into an argument with the greatest athlete ever to come out of college sports. There is no telling how fast Griffin could shut them up.