In case you have been living under a rock for the past few days, Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffered a dislocated hip near the end of the first half of Saturday’s game at Mississippi State. By now, most people have found themselves on either side of the argument about whether Tagovailoa should have still been in the game and while I’d be happy to debate that topic, it is already getting old.
Tagovailoa has likely seen his career at Alabama come to an end and that has been devastating for a number of reason to him, his family and (on a smaller scale) millions of Crimson Tide fans. He battled through several injuries and put everything he had on the field for Alabama but now there are just questions surrounding how this injury will affect Tagovailoa’s future.
Over his first two seasons in Tuscaloosa, the Alabama football program brought in more than $200 million in revenue according to AL.com. You can probably add another $50 million to that over the half season Tagovailoa played this year.
It would be pretty ridiculous to argue Tagovailoa and his teammates did not play a vital role in bringing that money into the athletics program but through that time, none of that money was put into Tagovailoa’s pocket.
Instead, he risked his future, which will likely be worth hundreds of millions of dollars, to play college football. There are obvious benefits of playing college football and getting an education is a big part of that but that does not come close to what student-athletes are putting on the line every day.
If you have ever heard stories about Tagovailoa, you know he is certainly not one who will say he regrets a moment of his time in Tuscaloosa. He is always going to stay positive and the fans love him because of his talent but also because of his attitude.
However, now Tagovailoa’s future is hanging in the balance because of an injury he sustained while donning an Alabama jersey. The prognosis has been only positive but there are still a lot of questions hanging in the air and there is a long recovery ahead.
I hope nothing but the best for Tagovailoa and I want to see him make the money he deserves at the next level. I also wish he made the money he deserved as a college player.
Tagovailoa may make a perfect recovery and get back on the field for an NFL team next season but he may not. And there are several other players who have not been lucky enough after suffering career-ending injuries in college to see their futures wiped away.
Last month, the NCAA had a press release that went viral with headlines saying athletes were allowed to profit of their name, image and likeness now. Well that was not entirely true as the NCAA actually did not make any rule changes; it just bought itself some time after feeling pressure from states changing laws to benefit college athletes.
We are still a long way from college athletes getting what they deserve. There are always going to be arguments about how much money is in the sports world and how much professional athletes get paid.
But the fact of the matter is they have earned that money because of how much money they bring in for their leagues and franchises.
College athletes are putting the same amount on the line for our entertainment and somehow get nothing but “the relationships you made along the way” vibes from the NCAA.
Those athletes are earning the money so it’s about time they start actually receiving it.
Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for The Tribune.