Dear Athletic Support: Seems like every time I look up, college athletes are changing schools.

They jump from one team to another with zero loyalty. I’m not even sure what the “Transfer Portal” is, but I don’t think it’s good for college sports. And don’t get me started on paying college players. That name, image, likeness stuff is for the birds. Whatever happened to playing for the love of the game?

— Old Timer

Dear Old Timer: For decades, the NCAA perpetuated a myth that college athletics, especially the highest earning sports like football and men’s basketball, were actually amateur endeavors.

When in reality these teams were bringing in millions, if not billions, for their respective universities.

Granted, I’m generally not a fan of the uptick in transfers. I pine for the time where there was true loyalty to a state and a team. 

But those days didn’t end with the Transfer portal or the NIL. They ended when the NCAA and the major colleges started making big bucks off the backs of unpaid athletes.

Dear Athletic Support: My daughter loves to read. I’m not a reader. Neither is my husband. We don’t have a problem with her reading, but we just don’t really know what to think, or how to help her. The reason I’m writing this into the “sports column,” is because our daughter is also a very talented athlete. It’s a weird combination. None of the other girls on her team like to read. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of her friends with a book. Period. I almost feel like sports and books don’t go together. Like, somehow, if she’s reading all the time, she's wasting her time. Time she could’ve spent shooting free throws. If you can’t tell, our family really loves sports. I’m reaching out to you because I know that you’re a writer, and you played football all the way through. I guess I’m just wondering how you did it? And is there anything we can do to help our daughter in both areas?

— Sports Mom

Dear Sports Mom: If your daughter is already reading as much as you say she is, then half the battle has already been won.

Reading helps kids both mentally and physically. It improves critical thinking skills and can really help calm adolescent brains down, especially before bed. Getting good sleep goes a long way toward proper development.

And in regard to being a reader and an athlete — there’s nothing better!

Most people don’t realize how much these two activities complement each other. It takes long hours of focus in order to be a strong reader. The same is true of a great athlete. 

Listen, if you’re looking for ways to support your daughter, look no further. You’re already doing a heck of a job. Maybe just offer to buy her a couple books, or take her to the local library!

Eli Cranor is a former professional quarterback and coach turned award-winning author. His debut novel, Don’t Know Tough, is available wherever books are sold. Send questions for “Athletic Support” using the contact page at elicranor.com

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