James Mee is a long-time Holy Lander who recently chatted with former Buckeye center Corey Linsley.
I recently got a chance to sit down with Corey Linsley to discuss his time at Ohio State. I wanted to hear from a player about their time here and what they thought of the issues on player compensation and unionization.
As many of you know, Corey was the starting center for the past two years, anchoring the offensive line and becoming a captain last year. He was a four star recruit out of Boardman High School in Youngstown, Ohio. He grew up as an Ohio State fan with a dream of playing for the Buckeyes. Corey graduated in December of 2013 with a degree in economics and is now striving to play in the NFL.
How do you feel your time at Ohio State prepared you for the next level both on the field and off?
It was a great experience. Both Coach Meyer and Coach Tressel put a high value on the education of Student Athletes. Ohio State is also a top-notch educational institution that puts you in a great place for your time after football. Both coaches placed an emphasis on financial literacy. Coach Meyer has instituted an activity called "Real Life Wednesday" where leaders and businessmen and and women from the community come in and talk to the players about life after football.
Do you feel that you were able to take advantage of your education?
Without a doubt. If I could change one thing it would be to go back and concentrate on my education more in my freshman and sophomore years.
Do you feel that your scholarship and other benefits were adequate compensation for the amount of time that you put in?
Yes, I do. However, I can see how others might not. Home life and family background can have a big impact on how far your money goes.
What does your schedule look like in fall, spring and summer?
Fall is really a grind. Our schedule is basically, Wake up, go to class, go to practice, and then go home. Mondays we don't have practice but otherwise it's a grind. The younger players are put on a much more structured schedule. Additionally, all year there is tutoring from Student-Athlete Support Services.
Spring is much more relaxed. There is still a full class structure, with Mondays and Thursdays being two-a-day practices. On the other days, we only have lifting.
Summer is a much more relaxed schedule with just one class and the same workout schedule until camp.
Should players be getting paid in addition to or instead of their scholarships?
They certainly shouldn't be getting paid instead of their scholarships. However, more money would certainly be helpful and help to cover the costs that administrators don't really consider, like gas.
There has been a lot of talk about full cost of attendance scholarships. How do you feel about these? Would they help?
They would help a lot to cover remaining bills. If you live off campus, which every athlete has the right to do, there is a lot of driving so gas costs are high. Also athletes need a lot more food, since we burn so many calories and still have to make our weight requirements.
Do you have a problem with the fact that other sports benefit from the profitability of football?
Not at all. It's great that other sports get more exposure and that these student athletes are able to get an education instead of just going pro in another league.
Should all student athletes be treated the same way or should the athletes in profit sports be treated better?
I think that student athletes should be given the same opportunity, except in the number of scholarships per sport. The nature of the sports will not allow athletes to be treated exactly the same, in things like attendance and recognition.
What's your take on the Northwestern union? Was this ever brought up in the Ohio State locker room?
The idea of a union was never brought up, however a lot of their ideas were.
Are you in favor of the National College Player's Association's Missions and Goals?
Yes I am, with the exception of number 8, the ability to allow players to enter into employment and commercial opportunities.
Are you in favor of players being allowed to benefit from their likeness, e.g. autograph signings, jersey sales, video game rights, and commercials?
I don't like the idea of players benefitting from their likeness. I think it would be another distraction in what we try to say is an unbelievably busy schedule for student athletes. Student athletes holding out because they felt they were underpaid or schools offering more money for jersey sales than others, it gets too messy in my opinion. I do believe that student athletes, as a whole should see a share of the money made from jersey sales. I think it would be great if we could take this share of the money made from jersey sales and things of that nature and put them back into a stipend or some type of mutual fund for when athletes leave the college, or even academic investments such as using that money to pay for iPads like the ones we got a few years ago.
Explain the difference between the treatment of scholarship athletes and walk-on athletes.
Walk-on's are required to pay for school and fees. They are not allowed to eat at Training Table and certain meals with the team. They are also not allowed to have snacks and stuff provided by the football team, as well as a lot of other little things. Ohio State does the best they can within the rules. They are able to get tutoring and use academic services.
Does the fact that walk-on players are treated differently have an effect on the morale of the team?
It changes from year to year. Some guys treat guys differently when they want to say something or on social media. However, most of the guys treat everyone the same.
Does Ohio State do a good job of treating all of its athletes fairly?
Absolutely. The best that I have heard of.
Do you feel you left the program in a better place than it was when you got there?
I feel as if I contributed at the end of my career to a positive culture and environment for growth as a football player and a student. But for a football program, it doesn't matter what one guy did; it matters if the entire leadership of that team bought in to the culture. So needless to say, I believe our leadership, especially in the O-line room and us 4 seniors that graduated left the program better than when we got there.
And the most important question: Urban or Tressel?
Both are great, very different but great. They are two of the biggest role models in my life.
I would like to thank Corey for sitting down with me and wish him the best of luck in the upcoming draft. Go Bucks.