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Friday Conversation: Should Syracuse Athletes Get a Lifetime Scholarship to Continue Their Education?

Richard Sherman and Michael Bennett echoed the sentiment that "You're not on scholarship for school" in college.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In the final lead-up to the Super Bowl, Seattle Seahawks teammates Richard Sherman and Michael Bennett laid waste to the NCAA model.

Here's Sherman on what it's like to be a football player generation millions but receiving none of it:

"[T]hose aren't the things that people focus on when talking about student-athletes. They are upset when a student-athlete says they need a little cash. Well, I can tell you from experience, I had negative-40 bucks in my account. Usually my account was in the negative more time than it was in the positive. You've got to make decisions on whether you get gas for your car or whether you get a meal for the day. You've got one of the two choices. People think, 'Oh, you're on scholarship.' They pay for your room and board, they pay for your education, but to their knowledge, you're there to play football. You're not on scholarship for school and it sounds crazy when a student-athlete says that, but that's those are the things coaches tell them every day: 'You're not on scholarship for school.'"

Bennett proposed a kind-of Roth IRA for College Students solution:

"I think the NCAA should come up with a plan for college athletes to receive some of the money they bring in for the schools. I think my school, Texas A&M, averaged $50 million just on jersey sales. They sell numbers of guys that don't have names on the back of the jerseys, but we all know who No. 2 is for College Station: Johnny Manziel, he makes so much for the university but he doesn't see any of the money.

"They need to come up with some kind of program. I would say, maybe $60,000 for every year you stay in college, and then at the end of the year they keep in some kind of 401k. You stay in college, you graduate, you keep that money until you're a certain age, and then after that you get that money and you get to determine what you want to do with it. And that gives you the chance to do something special in life, because you give so much to the schools, and they just move on.

We could be here all year discussing financial breakdowns, percentages and who deserves what. Instead, let's focus on a specific idea that could provide some semblance of balance to this absurd situation.

The lifetime scholarship. If you play football for the Syracuse Orange or any NCAA institution and you receive a scholarship, that scholarship entitles you to return to the university at a later date to finish your degree if you don't do so during your playing career. There will have to be stipulations and requirements, but, if education is as important to the student-athlete process as the NCAA says it is, then truly make the education the dangling carrot of the process. It's something schools like Maryland are already doing.

Do student-athletes deserve to be paid? I think so. Especially on the football and basketball level where millions of dollars are generated. But in the meantime, let's at least set the baseline on all of this bullshit and guarantee a degree to any athlete who would like to be "on scholarship for school."

What do you think?