By Dr. Ken 


I am admittedly an old guy with old fashioned values. The three part series that ran recently within the HELMET NEWS/REFLECTIONS area of HELMET HUT (, September, October, and November 2015 columns) offered numerous reasons and what could be construed as complaints, explaining the relative demise of the modern game. A topic not broached, was a strongly held opinion that college athletics are for student-athletes, not pay-for-play athletes. Like most college students of the 1960’s, I held a variety of jobs while attending classes, with the additional responsibilities of lifting weights, constantly running, and both practicing and playing football. My employment included filling the roles of manual laborer, ironworker, bouncer, short order cook, truck driver, and night time office cleaner/janitor. My scholarship included the early morning and/or late night responsibilities in the university vivarium as the animal feeding and waste removal expert. Simply put, I was the student in charge of feeding and cleaning the cages of all of the monkeys, chimps, gibbons, coatimundis, and cabybaras (100-140 pound rodents that live in the riverbeds of South America) that were used for drug related experiments in the science labs. My compensation equated to perhaps $10.00 per hour at today’s rates.




Reading the above paragraph, bemoaning the fact that as a typical college student, even one with the benefit of scholarship money, I was relegated to a succession of low paying and menial jobs in order to pay bills, there is another side to the facts. As a bar or club bouncer, I was paid the standard minimal wage the industry offered for the privilege of tossing drunk and unruly patrons from the premises and I did this at a number of establishments. However, eventually working my way up to the point that I directed backstage security for a number of rock bands and on a regional basis for Motown Records tours, worked for Bill Graham, and served as an off-stage personal bodyguard for known rock and roll industry celebrities, I was paid exceptionally well for the time put into the endeavor. My close and late friend Joe Tuths handled the West Coast security for the first three Led Zeppelin tours, calling me to offer, “free room, board, and travel, $1000.00 per week in cash, and all of the drugs and alcohol you want.” As a teetotaler, I obviously passed on the latter inducements as he knew I would, but for the era, the rest was big money and I signed on. Made worse by Zeppelin’s own, “in from Great Britain” personal security force and manager, we had our hands full but there was money to be made in the business from the late 1960’s through the mid-1970’s. Other former football players like Bob “Mr. Goodbar” Bender, a University of Buffalo transfer slated to play middle linebacker at Kent State, instead left for a security job with the Rolling Stones, fortuitously vacating the position for an up-and-coming Jack Lambert.


The captain of the 1969 Dunbar Vocational High School team in Chicago was Laurence Tero, number 14

Perhaps the most well-known football player turned bouncer from that same era was Laurence Tero of Chicago. The star of Dunbar Vocational High School’s successful 1969 football squad, Tero was a 6’1”, 195 pound two-way back who had been the league wrestling champion at 165 pounds his junior year. Encouraged to lift weights by his older brothers for the express purpose of better protecting himself in the exceptionally impoverished and dangerous neighborhood he and his eleven siblings lived in, Tero earned a football scholarship to Prairie View A&M University but was expelled after his freshman year.



Utilizing his enhanced-to 235 pounds muscular size, strength, and a great deal of natural charisma, he became an effective and exceptionally professional bouncer at Chicago’s busiest and most dangerous dance clubs and a personal bodyguard for celebrities visiting the city. Building a nationally known reputation, Tero altered the spelling of his name to Laurence Tureaud. I met him when he served as the personal bodyguard for heavyweight boxing champion Leon Spinks. For those who lived in or around Leon’s hometown of St. Louis, the late 1970’s and especially during his brief reign as champion after defeating Muhammad Ali on February 15, 1978, provided almost daily proof that Leon needed Tureaud’s assistance and protection. What seemed like a succession of Leon’s new cars were reported as stolen after being found wrapped around telephone poles or trees throughout the St. Louis area in the early morning hours, with Leon always claiming that he “didn’t know nothin’” about  such events. Leon and/or his brother Michael had disagreements, arguments, or true legal battles with local police on what seemed like a regular basis, sometimes involving more serious infractions and others, simple but illegal acts such as parking on the sidewalk of the St. Louis Airport terminal because “it was the only available space”! Not having yet changed his name once again from Tureaud to “Mr. T,” he had, due to his work with Spinks, actor Steve McQueen, and others of that stature, elevated his daily fee from $500.00 to $3000.00 per day! Tureaud was quick to donate part of his winner’s fee from the World’s Toughest Bouncer Contest to his church and was always involved with improving the life of children who were growing up in the same type of social and economic environment he had survived.


Laurence Tureaud with ever-present flower in his lapel and pre-dating his distinctive Mandinka hair style, provided security for boxer Leon Spinks


Volunteering some of my time to teaching weight training at the inner city St. Louis high school closest to the projects where the Spinks Brothers hung out, and where Tureaud would stand out among the disheveled, tee shirt wearing crowd in his well pressed suit with flower in the lapel, we got along well discussing various aspects of strength training, and ways in which young people could be positively influenced and mentored. As Mr. T, he became a rather successful and internationally known actor and personality who left his bodyguard and bouncer days behind him. An obviously talented athlete and street wise individual with true toughness, I always wondered how far he could have gone if all of his efforts had remained focused on football.



When I hear the rationale for paying cash to collegiate athletes for the twenty hours per week they “work” practicing the game of football, lifting weights, running, and watching film, I am of the firmly held opinion that the compensation of a college education that would otherwise cost the player and/or his family $120,000.00 to $280,000.00 is more than fair for four years of toil. I believe that any non-scholarship college student working one or more part time jobs or sinking his or her family into insurmountable debt paying for their education would agree. I compare the “compensation of a college degree” and its direct value, as well as the potential for future earnings, to what were my limited earnings still typical for most college students who work to pay school related expenses, and could not be more thankful that I was offered a scholarship. Hand-in-hand is my disgust with the constant transferring of collegiate players from one program to another when they do not earn what they believe is adequate playing time because it clearly shines the light on what a sham their college attendance is. Academics and the attainment of a degree, a one-way ticket to an improved life over the course of one’s lifetime for many reasons, is not even a consideration.

Virgil Carter is credited with being the first in what became a long line of great BYU quarterbacks


This has over the years, given me a greater appreciation of those players who are in fact focused on earning their degree. The Ivy League and service academies perhaps are the best examples but at a much higher level of actual football play, Brigham Young University’s Virgil Carter was a stand out. Often considered the first in a long line of BYU quarterbacks that brought success and the national spotlight to the football program, Carter reflected what was more typical of the student-athlete of his day relative to today’s players who are utilizing college as no more than a springboard to a potential professional football career. Carter of course was atypical in his level of both academic and athletic achievement. At Sacramento’s Folsom High School, he was named a two-year Scholastic All American whose final college choices came down to Stanford or BYU. At the time of his recruitment, the Cougars were still running a Single Wing Offense and while exceptionally talented, it wasn’t certain that Carter would flourish as a Single Wing tailback. Assistant coach LaVell Edwards, later to become the head coach and architect of great BYU teams, did a superlative recruiting job. The young man agreed that he might not make it in the Single Wing and chose an academic scholarship over an athletic scholarship.  As Carter stated, “Because I had good grades, LaVell was pretty wise and knew he could save the athletics department a full scholarship by getting me an academic scholarship and then subsidize to make it a full ride. That way, if I didn’t turn out to be a tailback, it didn’t really hurt the athletics department that much.”


In 1963 Carter led the freshmen team to an undefeated four game season and his enthusiastic, confident style of play led to the nickname, “The Blue Darter.” When former Canadian Football League head coach Tommy Hudspeth was hired to re-boot the Cougars squad for ’64, he first conducted his own military raid and signed eleven members of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego football team seeking to further their college educations. He opened up the offense and as a sophomore, Carter passed for 1154 yards and nine touchdowns while rushing for an additional 388 yards. The 3-6-1 record showed no Western Athletic Conference victories, but Hudspeth was competent and resourceful and knew he could win. Entering the 1965 season, his class of battle tested juniors received a boost from the “class” of Marines, with seven immediately making contributions on the field. A key member of this group of transfers was receiver Phil Odle who became an immediate starter and Carter’s favorite target. Fullback John Ogden was the squad’s leading rusher and added enough punch to augment Odle’s forty-six receptions and eleven touchdowns. Carter sparked a 6-4 turnaround with but one conference loss, resulting in BYU’s first ever WAC crown, and the fourth ranked offense in the nation.


Carter’s 1966 season was highlighted by his performance against UTEP. In a 53-33 victory, he put up an astounding 599 yards of total offense while sitting out most of the fourth quarter!  The Cougars stumbled only against Arizona State and Wyoming to finish at 8-2, with the offense the second best in the country, trailing only the prolific Houston attack. Carter too was rather prolific in his offensive statistics, leading the nation in total offense and touchdown passes while setting twenty-four BYU, nineteen WAC, and six national records, and being named as an Honorable Mention All American and WAC Player Of The Year. Most importantly to him and his father who was a school teacher, he garnered Academic All American honors twice and was recognized as the top senior in the BYU College Of Physical Engineering Sciences. Drafted in the sixth round by the Chicago Bears, he was traded to the Bengals on August 27, 1970 when it became apparent that Cincinnati’s 1969 AFL Rookie Of The Year quarterback Greg Cook would not recover from the previous season’s shoulder injury.  Carter’s lack of a “big arm” forced Bengals offensive coordinator Bill Walsh to develop what became his famous West Coast Offense system, stretching the playing field horizontally rather than vertically. Carter played seven professional seasons, peaking as an All Pro selection in 1971 when he led the NFL in pass completions, later sharing playing time with future great Ken Anderson, and eventually signing with the Chicago Fire of the World Football League for the 1974 season. He completed his career with the San Diego Chargers in ’75 and 1976.


Virgil Carter recognized his opportunity to play football and attend college for what it truly was, a chance to better his life and enhance his education and life experiences. At BYU he fulfilled the requirements for a demanding degree. While playing for the Bears he completed a Masters Degree in Mathematics. While with the Bengals, he taught Bayesian and Classical Statistics at Xavier University. He stated, “I learned a lot at BYU. The education was paramount, and although I’ve worked mostly for myself through the years, the discipline of having a formal education-being able to write memos, communicate with people, jog out points for or against a decision, and take some analytical direction-has been absolutely critical in my professional life. The discipline of having to be committed and spending time on practice and study, and trying to perform and improve-those are all things that easily translate into the normal world of business and life.” Looking at the recruitment of football players that clearly do not belong on a college campus due to unresolvable academic and/or behavioral issues who have no desire to work towards or eventually attain a degree, I compare them to the attitude and achievements of Virgil Carter and those many student-athletes like him, and believe that this is more than adequate reinforcement to state that it is time to return to a more balanced concept of the term, student-athlete and all that is supposed to mean.