If you love college football, you probably will enjoy watching two videos posted on the YouTube account of University of Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel.
By Yael T. Abouhalkah
The Kansas City Star
But if you hate the excesses of college football think it makes a mockery of student-athletes, and attracts too much attention and money from over-the-top boosters then you still might like these videos.
Because the videos also help expose the embarrassing side of the sport.
• The first is called Mizzou receives Cotton Bowl gear.
As of Monday, the three-minute video had received more than 370,000 views. I assume most of the attention has come from people excited to see young men whooping and hollering about all the free stuff they are going to get as student-athletes for playing in the Cotton Bowl Friday vs. Oklahoma State.
• The second is Mizzou Cotton Bowl gift suite: Shopping with Evan Boehm.
It had only 3,000 or so views, but it offers an up-close look at Lees Summit West product/Missouri center Evan Boehm, as he and his teammates go shopping for goodies they are eligible to get because they are playing in the Cotton Bowl.
As this report explains after looking at all the swag received by football players in 2012 bowl games, the NCAA does set a limit on the value of the gifts that bowl game sponsors can give out.
But theres more to the story, as this report notes: Football-playing student-athletes also can receive hundreds of dollars worth of other gifts. And the whole gift-getting exercise has grown more out of control in recent years.
Football fans defend all the free stuff being handed out to players. After all beyond a scholarship worth tens of thousands of dollars to attend MU for many of them what else do they get for devoting so much time to the college sport? (A little sarcasm there.)
Of course, athletes in all other sports do the same thing or even more when it comes to playing on behalf of Mizzous other sports teams, mens and womens. But outside of mens basketball, most of these squads will get little to no attention, even if they do well during the year.
Finally, yes, playing in the Cotton Bowl in Mizzous second year in the Southeastern Conference is a big deal. The MU players should be proud of themselves for making it to the game.
Yet because its college football, these players will get more attention and more swag thanks to the bowl games. Its something taken for granted, even cheered, by supporters of the college game.
But to critics, its one more indication of how the sport continues to veer off course.