I smile every time I hear someone say that money has ruined college football. I contend just the opposite: Money has made it better.
The BYU Athletic Department brings in millions of dollars each year from earnings and donations. This money allows for scholarships to be given to athletes to help them receive an excellent education. The athletes, in turn, learn a strong work ethic that will help them through the rest of their lives.
The desire for money is what caused ESPN to give BYU a seven year contract that has allowed BYU Football to be seen by record numbers of faithful BYU fans, like myself. The money that BYU received from ESPN and elsewhere has been used to renovate the Marriott Center, improve South Field, and put in wheelchair ramps in LaVell Edwards Stadium.
Big money was used to build the Indoor Practice Facilities which are used--not only by varsity athletes, but by Intramural athletes--ordinary students--as well.
The Student Athletic Building is a welcome addition to campus, which I wish had been there when I was a student. It houses the BYU Hall of Fame, study rooms for athletes, and the world's first alcohol-free sports bar. =) Since many athletes regularly use the study rooms, it takes pressure off an already crowded Harold B. Lee Library.
Simply put, money is a tool--it's as good or bad as the person who uses it. But tools have a great potential to do much good, and at BYU sports money has been put to good use.
*Shane Fortune is a BYU Alum and the author of Nick & Myron's Double Diary.