Count your blessings, not illegal benefits

Amid the allegations, investigations and punishments – or lack thereof – there is one valuable lesson one can take as stories from the gilded age of college sports are revealed – we’re lucky to be on the outside looking in.

To put it mildly, the grass is not always greener on Division I campuses.

Though small schools are as much a part of the NCAA as any massive institution in the Big 10 or SEC, you won’t find any shady agents, game fixers or free cars around Gannon sporting arenas.

In place of dollar-sign-minded athletes showcasing their talents for the sole purpose of reaching the next level, you’ll find competitive kids playing their favorite sport for the pure enjoyment and slight financial aid they get out of it.

Gannon athletes may have more on their plate than the average student, and their tuition bill might not truly reflect their efforts, but it’s a small price to pay to avoid the scrutiny and criticism of Division I sports without missing the chance to play the sport they love.

If possible, make it a point to attend a Gannon sporting event, and soak in the intensity, exhilaration and agony that athletes participating in any sport have. The passion with which they compete will rival any major college program in the country.

In a sense, this is the way college sports were intended to be played.

Just as fans have lost the proper perspective of sports as a friendly diversion, so have all too many institutions.

Numerous colleges have seemingly forgotten the purpose of school is to educate, not entertain with athletics.

Consequently, the athletes are the ones who suffer the most. It seems that an overvaluing of sports hurts no one more than those on the field.

Fortunately, there are still places that keep sports in their proper light.

If you are a student-athlete at Gannon, no, you won’t get free tattoos or an invitation to a glitzy pool party in Miami with agents and ex-professionals.

However, you will learn accountability—something many coddled blue-chip high school heroes never had to master.

It’s these experiences that were intended to create the college experience.

Imagine what Terrelle Pryor would give to have another chance at competing without temptation or the effects of being under the microscope looming overhead.

Instead of worrying about his next step in his tumultuous football career, he could play his favorite sport, go to class and enjoy everything else the college scene has to offer.

As it turns out, guys like Pryor and Reggie Bush lose sight of what the experience really means—just that—experience.

JOE CUNEO

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