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"A lot of change" is coming, NCAA president Mark Emmert said last week. The NCAA will be significantly different and soon, Emmert told the Associated Press. Confidence will be restored. Credibility will be re-established. Time to win back the public, Emmert said.

Keith Dorney is the public and Emmert is not going to win him over. Dorney, a West County resident, is a member of College Football's Hall of Fame. He was an All-American offensive tackle for Penn State. Dorney, 55, has seen how the NCAA works and when I first told Dorney of Emmert's statement, he replied, "I think the NCAA should be disbanded."

To Dorney, the NCAA and the NFL are one and the same organization, the only difference is that college players don't get paid.

"Otherwise you have (NFL commissioner Roger) Goodell and the NFL owners on one hand," Dorney said, "and the NCAA officials, college administrators, coaches and rich alumni on the other."

What unites the NCAA and the NFL is a bond as old, as strong and as primal as the very need for food itself.

"Money, that's what they both have and that's what neither will give up," said Dorney, a financial investor.

Consider the kind of money Dorney is referring to. It's not a thousand bucks or even a million bucks. In their rarefied environment, that's chump change, so many quarters left on the curb for the unfortunate to scramble for.

Quoting an NCAA press release: "For 2011-12, the most recent year for which audited numbers are available, NCAA revenue was $871.6 million, most of which came from the rights agreement with Turner/CBS Sports."

And maybe, just maybe, that $871.6 million was a lot of money to make off "student-athletes," aka cash cows.

The revenue for the NFL in 2012, according to the Sports Business Journal, was $9.5 billion. Goodell has set 2027 as a goal for NFL owners to reach $25 billion in revenue.

And no one laughed at Goodell or thought him foolish for throwing that number around.

It is an incomplete definition, that money is the root of all evil. Rather, it's the insulation that money creates that is the evil. It's insulation from everyday struggles and worries, like unemployment and foreclosures. Waiting in line for a table at an upscale restaurant, saving up for that new car, doing a re-fi on the house to get a few extra bucks to sock away for the kid's college education, no worries there.

Insulation creates separation from common sense, and Dorney still is agitated at the lack of common sense he experienced when he was at Penn State.

Let's assume $40 is enough for a college kid to do his laundry for a month. Let's assume the kid wears the same clothes a couple days in a row, which is not exactly a stretch.

"They did that for one year," Dorney said, "and then the next year they stopped it. They took away my laundry money! Can you believe it?"

It's, what, 35 years later and Dorney still reacted as if some bully robbed him of his lunch money on his way to school.

Injustice, that's what rubs Dorney the wrong way. Yes, he received a free college education, earning his insurance and real estate degree from Penn State. But college football at the Division I level is a full-time job. Dorney is not asking for a six-figure reward to play for Penn State, but rather a $2,000 stipend, as has been proposed, seems appropriate.

A proposal, by the way, that was recently voted down by 160 of the 350 D1 universities that offer football.

After all, it's money directed toward a "student-athlete," an amateur is the way they see it.

And the Russian River is made of chocolate.

"That's a joke," Dorney said. "That's just a pretense. That's not true. Everyone knows."

To make hundreds of millions off a kid playing a sport, then to deny him $40 to do his laundry, it's a joke without a laugh track.

"The Detroit Lions used me and then cast me off," said Dorney, who played nine years for that NFL team. "In 1987, my last year with the team, I took about 20 cortisone shots in my right shoulder, it hurt so much. For that entire season I couldn't lift either arm to the height of my shoulder. When I retired I asked the Lions to pay for my shoulder surgery. They refused. They said it was a non-related football injury."

Of course it's common, isn't it, for so many 29-year-olds unable to raise their arms parallel to the ground.

So why would playing nine years in the NFL have anything to do with it?

Dorney still is furious ... and scared.

"I was known for leading with my head to block someone," Dorney said. "I took pride in leading with my head. By today's standards, I had dozens and dozens of concussions in the NFL."

His brain pan, Dorney is happy to report, still functions. His memories of Penn State and the Lions are more pleasant and satisfying than irritating.

"But I'm the lucky one, one of the rare ones, to play college football, get an education, play in the NFL for a long time and still have a functional body. But more needs to be done for the players."

Did he mean college or pro?

"Both," Dorney said.

The NCAA's Emmert said significant changes will be made.

"It'll be window dressing," Dorney said. "They'll throw out a bone. They'll make a gesture. The only reason they'll do anything at all is because of the public outcry. People are upset."

"Maybe the NCAA will agree for medical exams when a player leaves college," I offered timidly.

"They won't even go that far," Dorney said.

Meaning ... ?

"Meaning," Dorney said, "the NCAA will never sanction themselves. Ten years from now we'll probably have a similar model to what we have now."

Where laundry costs still will put a college athletic department over budget.

You can reach Staff Columnist Bob Padecky at 521-5223 or bob.padecky@pressdemocrat.com.

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