As a football player at UCLA, Ramogi Huma found there was always more month than money when it came to the reality of daily living.
His scholarship paid for tuition, books, food and housing, but didn't cover toothpaste, travel expenses or phone bills. When "people came peddling credit cards in front of the athletic department," Huma applied and accepted a sports water bottle as a free gift.
He charged what he needed to survive.
"I thought I could get a job in the summers to pay it off, but when I was playing, I wasn't allowed to work because the NCAA didn't allow it," said Huma, who owed $6,000 at 19 percent interest upon his 1998 graduation.
That experience -- and the National Collegiate Athletic Association's suspension of a teammate who accepted groceries when his scholarship money ran out -- led Huma in 2001 to found the Collegiate Athletes Coalition to improve conditions for student athletes.
Now, as the NCAA prepares for its annual "March Madness'' basketball championships, it is locked in a legal battle with the CAC that could change the future of college sports.
That's the opener from Robin Acton and Richard Gazarik's article. It's an important story that will slowly unfold over the next couple of years, so file it for future reference. Rod Fort and Steve Ross are quoted, among others.
The headline reads "NCAA: USW (United Steel Workers) trying to make athletes "paid employees." Well, that's certainly preferred to "unpaid employees."