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OK to Boo?

As I mentioned earlier, and as the local papers also pointed out, Bill Stull was booed loudly immediately after his first incompletion of the day.

Some, such as Ron Cook in the PG, suggest that Stull should not be booed because he is a college athlete:

I had to check three times yesterday to make sure Kordell Stewart wasn't playing quarterback for Pitt.

That's how rough many in the home crowd at Heinz Field treated Bill Stull in Pitt's easy, 38-3 win against ridiculously overmatched Youngstown State.

It was pretty pathetic, actually.

At least Stewart was a highly paid professional when he was booed and jeered by Steelers fans. Stull is a college kid. He deserved better from those in the stands who jumped his stuff as soon as his second incompletion ended Pitt's first possession.

I'm completely with Cook on the fact that the loud boos came much too soon. I think a fan has every right to boo when they want, but I don't believe one bad pass justifies it. Of course, it wasn't bad pass that fans really were upset about - it was most of 2008, but that's another story.

Going back to Cook's original point, which is to say college athletes shouldn't be booed because they're unpaid and not professional athletes. I have to wholeheartedly disagree.

They are young adults who are highly compensated for what they CHOOSE to do. They soak up the glory, the chicks, and all of the other free perks that come with the territory (including for a small few, the chance to coach, play in the NFL or professionally in other smaller leagues). And don't forget, most of them (meaning the athletes on the football team) get a full scholarship. I'm not sure what it runs these days, but let's say about $50,000 worth of a free education. That figure goes up even more for other students when you factor in all of the interest paid when taking out loans. Each player knows the possibility of being booed exists. Play well, you get cheered. Play poorly, you get booed. Sounds like an easy concept to me.

But let me get this straight - according to some people, we're supposed to cheer wildly when they do well and sit on our hands and do nothing when they perform poorly? Not sure I quite understand that.

Look, should they be treated exactly as professional athletes? Of course not. But sometimes what is lost is that big-time college sports is as close to professional as you can get. The fan puts down good money to watch a game and should carry just as much right to boo (or cheer) as they would for a professional game.