College athletes have recently been in the public eye more than usual. Since the Northwestern University football team has been granted the right to unionize, there has been an intense debate whether college athletes should receive more compensation then college tuition. While some believe college athletes should be compensated for the revenue they bring to their school, others believe that college athletics still is not professional and tuition is enough compensation.
Elizabeth Clemente, Oluwa Falodun, Nihal Hameed and Mallika Choudhary and I created a video, slide roll, Storify and infographic to look deeper into the debate about college athletes receiving compensation.
The following article is an profile of Leslie Jackman, a college football player from Rutgers. Jackman also played football for Hofstra University and still dreams to play in the NFL one day.
Long Island Football Player Dreams of Joining NFL
A lot of people daydream of what it’s like to be a professional athlete, someone who is able to perform feats of strength and speed that the average person could not fathom. Leslie Jackman is that kind of athlete. Born and raised on Long Island, Jackman has always been at the peak of competition on every level. “Football is just something I’ve always loved and held very dear,” says Jackman. “It taught me the importance of putting everything you can give in to something you love. I can point back to football with just about anything good that either I represent or anything good I’ve ever done.”
Leslie Jackman attended Freeport High School. He was an All-Long Island recipient, an award to recognize the best football player in the region. He helped lead his team to a Long Island championship. “Just from the way he played in high school, you can tell how much he loved the game,” said Natalie, his sister. “If they lost, his entire personality changed… His face dropped.”
Leslie Jackman chose to attend Rutgers University, where he played for three out of his four years of college (scouting report). While attending and playing football at Rutgers, Jackman was roommates with Ray Rice, the running back for the Baltimore Ravens, one of the best RBs in the NFL. “Rutgers was surreal. Even though I didn’t play a lot, I got to see other elite players and how hard they worked,” said Jackman. “Watching Ray work, that really blew me away. He’s a different beast.” Jackman says that nothing helped his athletic prowess more than practicing with NFL caliber players. It became clear to Jackman that college players were worth a lot of money, even in the span of seconds, as seen with Aaron Harrison’s shot in the NCAA tournament (Forbes).
Leslie Jackman transferred in his senior year to Hofstra University, where he started in each of the 12 games he played. Jackman says, “Hofstra ended up being more of a home to me than Rutgers, I felt more in the spotlight, more welcomed…I think athletics at the college level improved my skill. We put our blood, sweat, and tears into the game, literally, it’s a full-time job on top of school. There should be some pay-out for that.” Today Leslie Jackman is working with professional trainers to prepare for NFL tryouts.
Check out this video to hear what Hofstra students have to say about college athletes receiving compensation.
Below is a slideshow of photos of college athletics from around Hofstra University.