‘Trust Fund’ Reform
Advocated for Football
It is time to re-examine how football
players should be compensated (“A Flag Is
Down,” November/December). Scholarships are given to players in exchange for
their services on the football field, so the
issue is not whether they are compensated;
the issue is how much and under what
The current system is dysfunctional because it is unrealistic. The influence of pro football
touches the game at virtually
every level. Colleges recruit the
best players to increase their
revenues and enhance bowl
possibilities. The most successful
programs are highly compensated, as are the coaches. High
school players choose colleges in part based
on how a program can help them make it
to the pro ranks. For their part, schools
profess to want their players to graduate
with a useful degree if they do not make it
in the pros.
In addition, we should be candid about
what these players provide to the schools.
For many programs, football revenues support most if not all of the so-called nonrevenue sports. Football players also provide
companies with the venue (TV) to advertise products to vast audiences.
At the same time, some of these players
have significant financial burdens that affect
them and their families. And despite a lot
of bad press, agents can and should provide
real service to their clients.
If we want to see graduation rates rise,
and if we want to recognize the financial
reality of the system and the contribution
that these players make, we should reform
the system for schools where football supports the other teams. These schools should
set up a trust fund for each football player.
While the player is a member of the team,
he should be paid interest from the trust
fund. He should be given five and a half
years to graduate. At graduation, he would
be entitled to the corpus of the trust cre-
ated for him. A player who fails to graduate
within that time would forfeit a percentage
of the corpus for each extra semester or
quarter it takes him to graduate. If a player
does not play all four years, some reduction
would be appropriate.
If a player is drafted by a pro team and
receives a guaranteed salary, signing bonus
or similar payment that is equal to or
greater than the trust fund corpus he oth-
erwise would receive, he would forfeit that
payment, which would remain in the fund.
Some schools can set up such a system
without difficulty. For others, this will not
be easy. However, part of the
cost of the trust fund could
come from the agents who ben-
efit from the current system.
Each school could require them
to register, for a fee, to have
access to the players. Decisions
on how much access and under
what restrictions should be
based on what is reasonable
under the circumstances and is beyond the
scope of this letter.
The days of the amateur football player
are long gone. Regardless of what we end
up with, it is clear that the current system
is not working and needs to be changed.
Gerry Chapman ’ 73
Editor’s note: Chapman was co-captain of
the swim team when he was at Carolina.
TheFootballInvestigation/BurningQuestionsAboutCoal CAROLINA November/December2010 ALUMNI REVIEW
selecting them. As usual, the Review
contains many excellent articles and news, but
these two deserve praise. Thank you for
Gayle Lloyd ’ 62
In Support of a Student
How may I donate a check for Ms.
Isaacson to pay back her ROTC loans?
(“Love of Carolina ROTC, and the
Decision to Tell,” September/October.)
Surely 8,000 alumni can contribute
$10 for to her to move on, stress- and
debt-free, to achieve her education and
Tom Fogleman ’ 79
Two Stories About
Congratulations on your choice of two
particularly informative and inspiring articles in the September/October issue. Both
the Issues article, “Love of Carolina
ROTC, and the Decision to Tell,” and
“The Client She’ll Never Give Up On”
were substantive and thoughtful pieces
about important topics. I salute you for
Virtually every time I get an issue of the
Alumni Review, I feel myself bursting with
pride to be associated with a University
that publishes such a brave, high-quality
magazine with such regularity. To understand what I mean, a person would have
only to scan down the list of the featured
articles in the November/December issue.
Wow! (This from a 1965 graduate who
doesn’t come out with a “wow” very
often.) I am enormously proud of you, and
I hope that you all are proud of yourselves.
Charles L. Thompson ’ 65
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With Build a Block
Kudos for putting the spotlight on
Megan Jones ’ 10 and the Carolina Build-a-Block campaign for Habitat for Humanity
(Campus Profile, July/August).
Having spoken with Megan about this
project, I can affirm the enthusiasm and
hard work that has been done to ensure
success and prosperity for the 10 lucky
employees from UNC. It truly is a project
that unites all facets of UNC together,
except one — alumni not in the Triangle.
As Tar Heels, we should be called on to
help in whatever way possible; what can
those alumni not in the Triangle do to support this campaign?
Shane Keith Capps ’ 10