To boo, or not to boo?
Would you be more inclined to vocally express your frustrations toward college football players if they were getting paid? It was an interesting question brought up in my mailbag earlier this week by Ken in Berkeley, who feels like his attitude -- or possibly the attitude of others -- might change if players started getting money.
Is there something to that? Of course, there are those who are always going to boo players whether they are playing for pay or snack shack tokens. The Internet is filled with videos of folks releasing boo birds on everyone from pros to Pop Warner. Heck, even Santa Claus got booed in Philadelphia once, and I'm pretty sure he works pro bono publico.
Of course, the amount of money being divvied up might also play a role. If we're talking about a modest stipend -- a little extra cheddar -- does it really change the way you feel about college football players? What if they are pulling double or triple the full cost of attendance and rolling to practice in Lambo's? That might alter your feelings a little bit.
But the general principle remains the same. Fans are passionate and eager to express their opinions. And while that isn't necessarily guaranteed with the price of admission, some still believe it's their right as spectators.
Sometimes mob mentality just gets the better of people. Consider the times you've seen or heard people booing a player they thought was faking an injury. Even if he wasn't, spectators sometimes get caught up in the see-and-do excitement of it all. I'm of the opinion that if you were the kind of person who liked to boo, you would regardless of pay.
The timing of this question feels relevant, given the minor legal case going on in Oakland that could determine the future of NCAA athletics.
This isn't a poll about whether it's right to boo college athletes. That's a personal choice. And the Pac-12 blog isn't in the business of controlling your mind (at least that you're aware of). But rather would your opinions about college football players change. Would you feel OK about booing a college player if you knew they were making more than their scholarship or cost of attendance?