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Amateurism is dead: Everyone has an NCAA take. Here’s mine.

“If they’re broke, don’t fix it.” 

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DISCLAIMER: It’s a hot topic in the sports world right now: debating whether or not college athletes should get paid or not. I’ve debated internally for several weeks whether or not to weigh in on the subject, as there is a 100% chance that my “hot take” won’t be any more compelling, or unique, than those of other pundits who have said their piece on the matter.

However, regardless of whether or not I am just reiterating better points made by better writers with better knowledge, I still feel the need to touch on the issue, because it’s an important one that I feel strongly about. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Also, Jon Stewart punished the NCAA and its president, Mark Emmert, in his April 10 episode. Check it out.

Should college athletes be allowed to get paid?

Yes. Absolutely. Certainly. Definitely. Why is this even a debate? The NCAA is a lucrative, bogus, corrupt scam of a governing body that is making hundreds of millions of American dollars off the backs of amateur athletes who aren’t allowed to accept a free Chipotle burrito, let alone money earned from their likeness. Obviously, a salary is unwarranted for college athletes. That’s not the argument of any logical person with a dog in this fight. However, there are some stats and figures that make one question how on Earth the NCAA considers what its athletes do to be “amateur”. Here are some:

  • Alabama athletic programs rake in more money than all 30 NHL teams and 25 NBA teams with $143 million (Source: Deadspin)

  • Ohio State’s athletic director got an $18,000 bonus when wrestler Logan Stieber won his third national title in March. Hmm. Must have worked out with him and helped him cut weight. (Source: Dan Wetzel)

  • Oregon’s AD gets a $50,000 bonus if the football team makes it to a bowl game. Any bowl game. The Toilet Bowl Game. Doesn’t matter. (Source: Also Wetzel)

  • Revenue from 2013’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament was $769.4 million. In all, the NCAA made $912.8 million. $62.7 million went to scholarship funds, $25.1 million went to academic enhancement. The surplus was $61 million for the NCAA. (Source: Indy Star)

  • NCAA President Mark Emmert made almost $1.7 million two years ago (Source: USA Today)

  • In 2012, Nick Saban earned over $5.5 million INCLUDING performance bonuses, endorsements, etc. His players made $0 from endorsements and performance bonuses. (Source: USA Today)

That’s enough of that, I’m getting woozy. Here are some typical arguments (in bold) from people who should stop arguing:

Well, then they should get a job. All they do is play a game. Nobody told them to play a game for a living.”

Nobody told you to work as a janitor your whole life either, but there you are because it’s all your’er good at. For some of these kids, playing a game is all that they are good at. For others, it’s what they are best at, and they have an opportunity to make a career doing what they’re best at. Isn’t that what everyone is trying to do? Sure, their professional careers will make them A LOT of money. More money than you, the janitor. But there’s a huge problem when that much money is flying around here and there, based solely on amateur athletes doing their job.

Being a college student-athlete is a full-time job that requires, conservatively, 5-6 hours of workout/practice time a day. On top of that, there is 3-4 hours, also conservatively, of class/study time each day. No, not all athletes go to class, but that’s another issue: Schools (and coaches) allow kids to skate by because they want to see them play. Because they want to win. Because winning = more money. Not getting student-athletes to go to class and get the most out of their education is on the adults who are paid to do exactly that, not the kids’.

Why should they get paid? They already get a full-ride scholarship. I had to take out student loans. I should get paid, too.”

Hmm. That’s a good point. Never thought of it that way. Oh, wait: Is the school selling jerseys with your school ID number on the back? Are tens of thousands of people cramming into your chemistry class to watch you fill up a beaker? No, and those full-ride scholarships weren’t just handed out, they were earned. By the athlete. Who worked hard, sacrificed a lot, and used his/her talents to get where he/she is. If this is your argument for why college athletes shouldn’t get paid, you should have worked harder and used your talents to earn a scholarship, too.

Scholarships, by the way, don’t mean these athletes are taken care of and living a life of luxury. Scholarships don’t account for cost of living, food (nobody eats the cafeteria food or uses their meal plan all the time. Why? Sometimes you’re at practice from 4-8 p.m., and the cafeteria closes at 7 p.m.), and other expenses.

Also, that scholarship can be pulled on a whim if an athlete is hurt on the job (aka playing a game). No insurance, help, or financial aid. Just gone. How is this ok?

Is there an easy solution? No, of course not. Northwestern’s football team is changing the game by fighting for union status, and it’s exciting to see where that goes. It can be simplified by allowing a kid, a Johnny Manziel, to make royalties off a t-shirt with his name or number on it. Or to be paid for an autograph that could be worth thousands of dollars. The NCAA is bogus, and that’s the bottom line.

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Denver’s Wes Watkins dynamic new future-funk EP is from another planet

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Future-Funk Party Starter | Wes Watkins

Dreams Out from Denver’s best kept secret Wes Watkins wears so many musical hats it needs a rack; downtempo G-Funk homage and sweltering nee-Soul / Rn’B are all over this release, all covered with a thicc pop glaze and a penchant for electronic-sonic experimentation that keep every song fascinatingly adventurous while maintaining a danceability and groove that easily, easily warrants multiple listens. Don’t sleep on this one.


Lo-Fuzz Folkie | Hoi Ann

The beauty of Hoi Ann’s Tangenier lies in both what you can hear and what it may want you to not hear. Lo-fi folk and bedroom-pop are easily tangible on its surface, but the buzzy electronic tones that sparingly flourish the 5 songs of this release lie low and create a unique aural atmosphere for listeners, like hidden secrets for your ears only.


Indie-Punk Sweeties | Gestalt

The pop-punk shred-bois in Gestalt are back at it again; The irresistible combo of the Get Up Kids earnest midwestern-emo and smart pop-punk wit of the Wonder Years is strong on the tracks that encompass LongBoix, as is an acute fondness and growing appreciation for the finer indie rock of yesteryear. Well I guess this is growing up.


Psych-Rock Screamcore | Gone Full Heathen

On their criminally good self titled EP, Fort Collins heavies Gone Full Heathen friggin dare you to try and trap them in a single genre. Nice try, but they’ll just chew right through your puny ropes using a gnashing blend of crushing stoner-rock laced hardcore punk and overdriven psych-rock / post-metal induced bite like the righteous rock and roll wolves that they are.


All releases available for purchase now thru Bandcamp. Go Local!

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The Haze Craze for Lazy Days

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There are many different styles of beer. Ranging from light lagers (think Bud Light) and ales to sours, stouts, and IPAs.

Within those styles, however, are varying styles.

For example, one would think a sour beer is a sour beer, right? Wrong. According to the Beer Judge Certification Program, which defines every style of beer, there are six recognized European sour styles.

For IPAs, there are seven. American beers have four; stouts have three… You get the point.

Even with viewing the list of recognized styles, it’s not a complete list.

Take New England IPAs (NE IPA), as a prime example. Many breweries are currently mass producing this style of beer, and it’s selling like crazy.

You may have heard one of your annoying beer loving friends talk about drinking a “juice bomb,” or a requesting a “hazy IPA” at the pub, and shrugged it off. It turns out, they (sometimes) know what they are talking about.

What makes NE IPAs so popular when compared to a more traditional, West Coast IPA? NE IPAs have all of the hop flavors, without an overabundance of bitterness.

Instead of constantly adding hops throughout the boil to achieve a fruity flavor balanced by bitterness, the NE IPA has a small hop addition at the begging, and then nothing else until after the boil has finished.

That translates into a beer with very little bitterness, and plenty of hop aroma and flavor. Hops like Citra, Mosaic, Mosaic, Galaxy, and El Dorado are most common in NE IPAs, according to the Homebrewers Association. Those hops tend to impart a fruity, and dare I say, juicy flavor profile.

Between the juicy flavor and the seemingly natural haziness to NE IPAs, it’s not far fetched for an NE IPA to look like a tall glass of orange or grapefruit juice, only carbonated and full of alcohol.

NE IPAs are starting to gain momentum here in Colorado, with breweries turning their focus to the haze craze. Specifically, Odd13, WeldWerks, and Epic Brewing coming to mind.

Odd13 is based in Lafayette, Colo. and has a long list of NE-inspired IPAs constantly rotating through the tap room and distributed throughout the state. Codename: Super fan and Noob are two beers that are found in cans, and both offer a different approach to the haze craze.

WeldWerks is based in Greeley, Colo. and has accumulated a cult-like following in just a few short years for its Juicy Bits NE IPA. The brewery just started self-distributing locally, so you’ll have to make the trip to the brewery and pick up a crowler or four. Be sure to check the WeldWerks Facebook page for availability and limits. Yes, they have to place per person limits on how much you can purchase.

Epic Brewing recently announced its NE IPA, which will rotate between four different flavor profiles throughout the year. The cans will look the same but will be different colors as a quick way to tell identify which version you have.

So the next time you walk into a brewery or liquor store, it’s OK to ask for a hazy or juicy IPA. It’s a thing, and, frankly, they are damn good.

On Tap: By the time this hits newsstands, ThunderZone Pizza & Taphouse will have opened on the CSU-P campus. Located at 2270 Rawlings Blvd., the ThunderZone features 32 taps, a carefully curated tap list, and is locally owned.

At the opening, the tap list includes tasty brews from the likes of Florence Brewing and Lost Highway.

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Senators upend GOP health care bill in true Trump style… Twitter

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WASHINGTON — When Sens. Mike Lee and Jerry Moran decided they were in ready to disrupt the GOP rewrite of the health care law, they chose President Donald Trump’s favorite medium.

They could not support Senate Republicans’ plan, the somewhat unlikely pair of conservatives tweeted at 8:30 p.m. Monday night, giving no heads up to the White House or Senate leaders before pressing send.

The story behind the statement reveals two senators willing to be branded as bill killers and seemingly unconcerned with trying to soften the blow with party leaders.

The announcement, coming after some 10 days of conversations between the men, stunned official Washington and left Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at least two votes short in the closely divided Senate from being able to move forward with the GOP bill, effectively sinking the measure. It landed shortly after Trump dined with a group of senators to discuss strategy – unwittingly plotting a plan that would immediately become outdated.

Sen. John Cornyn, the second-ranking Republican leader, found out about Lee’s defection after the White House dinner of rosemary-grilled rib eye and summer vegetable succotash. He “had no idea it was coming,” Cornyn said.

Another Republican, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, found out from TV news.

Moran, a second-term lawmaker from Kansas who isn’t known for making waves, and Lee, a two-term senator from Utah who has clashed with Trump, have been talking over the past 10 days about the health care legislation and agreed the GOP bill did not go far enough to repeal Obamacare or address rising health-care costs. They decided to announce their position to make the bill’s fate clear and allow senators to move on, Moran said.

“It could have been prolonged for days or weeks while no one said anything,” Moran said in an interview.

Moran, who oversaw the Senate Republicans’ 2014 election campaigns, concluded last week he wouldn’t vote for the latest version of the bill but “gave myself a weekend in Kansas to think about it,” he said.

Lee had helped draft an amendment, along with fellow conservative Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, that would allow insurers to sell skimpy plans alongside more robust ones to lower costs. Cruz agreed to some changes in wording by GOP leaders, but Lee thought the new language allowed too many Obama-era regulations to remain in place.

After talking again, Moran and Lee agreed Monday night on a statement drafted earlier in the day. They issued their statement shortly after a White House dinner attended by seven GOP senators – all likely yes votes on the health care bill. Neither Lee nor Moran attended.

A Lee spokesman said the statement – and its timing – “had nothing to do with the White House dinner. It was not a reaction in any way.”

The statement was made public as soon as it was ready, the spokesman said.

Neither Trump nor McConnell received advance warning about the statement, although it’s likely that neither the president nor the Senate leader was completely surprised.

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence spent the weekend calling lawmakers, including Lee and at least seven other GOP senators, according to the administration. Trump talked politics, while Pence discussed policy.

Trump called Lee on Saturday, and Lee told the president he was leaning against the bill, for the reasons he later made public.

Lee told Utah’s KSL Newsradio that he had a great conversation with Trump, when he told the president his “consumer freedom” amendment had been weakened and that he wasn’t sure that he could support the bill.

“He was encouraging to me and said, you know, ‘Just see what changes you can make to it,’ ” Lee said.

Lee and McConnell did not talk over the weekend, but Lee spoke twice to Cornyn, R-Texas, the majority whip.

Trump, who frequently takes to Twitter to announce proposals or denounce opponents, was blindsided by, of all things, a tweet.

He told reporters Tuesday he was “very surprised when the two folks came out last night, because we thought they were in fairly good shape. But they did. And, you know, everybody has their own reason.”

Moran said while he remained committed to repealing the health care law, Congress needs to make a “fresh start” on writing a replacement bill in an “open legislative process.”

“We should not put our stamp of approval on bad policy,” he said, in a statement that followed the tweet.

In his own statement, Lee said the GOP bill does not repeal all the Obamacare tax increases and “doesn’t go far enough in lowering premiums for middle class families; nor does it create enough free space from the most costly Obamacare regulations.”

Both explanations were issued on social media.

“Twitter is a nice medium to get your message out,” Lee’s spokesman said.

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