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College Football | FIESTA BOWL NOTES

Buckeye Says Pay for Play Is the Way

January 02, 2003|Chris Dufresne | Times Staff Writer

PHOENIX — Ohio State junior tackle Shane Olivea loves everything about the Fiesta Bowl except not having money in his wallet.

He said college players should get at least $3,000 -- or $4,000 -- a month, in addition to their scholarships.

"We're being exploited," Olivea said.

"I can't blame a guy for wanting to leave [early for the NFL] anymore. When that rent check is up and you still have two weeks to wait until your next rent check, what are you supposed to do?"

But what about people who say he is getting paid if you consider the price of tuition?

"I'd like to put them in my shoes," Olivea said. "Get up at 5:30 in the morning every day to go work out. We can't do the same things that other students can. We have Saturday and then Sunday we have to be over there for film all day. For those people who say we're on scholarship, that's all it is. With so many hours we put in, we can't get a job. When that money's gone, I reach in my pocket and I feel my leg."

Not all players in this week's game feel the same.

Here's an opposing take from Miami defensive lineman Matt Walters.

"I think we're getting a cut of it," Walters said. "I think it would be selfish to ask for more. They're paying for our school. I think one day we'll realize that. Being able to come out of school without student loans, we'll realize it. In the grand scheme of things, they're paying us as it is."

*

Want to avoid the limelight of playing quarterback at Ohio State football?

Craig Krenzel, the Buckeye quarterback, discovered that majoring in molecular genetics is the closest thing to joining a witness protection program.

"The nice thing about taking those classes is 90% of those students don't know who I am," Krenzel said. "I love that."

Thankfully, no one has asked Krenzel this week to provide a molecular breakdown of the Miami defense.

*

Frank Gore has to be the best scout team tailback in America. This week, he is helping the Miami defense by playing the part of Ohio State's Maurice Clarett in practice.

Gore, remember, was the heir apparent to Miami's tailback job before he suffered a knee injury in spring practice. The setback allowed Willis McGahee to win the job and become a first-team All-American.

Gore sat out the season, but the sophomore is believed to be as talented, if not more so, than McGahee.

"Sometimes, it's even harder to stop him than people on Saturdays," Walters said of Gore. "You will really see how good of a back he is next year when he's healthy and running the ball as much as he can."

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