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Read about Hamza Abdullah’s struggles as a broke college athlete

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It’s not easy being a college athlete, despite the scholarships.

Washington v UCLA Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

On Saturday morning, Nigel Hayes brought a sign to College Gameday. It was meant as a protest, a message to pay college athletes. It said, simply, “Broke College Athlete Anything Helps” with a link to a Venmo account, similar to the beer money sign earlier this season.

This, as expected, touched off another debate about paying college athletes. And in this debate there’s entrenched sides and arguments, all of which are fairly predictable. Athletes get a free education, valued somewhere in the low-six figures per year, which some think is enough. That’s money that exists in theory, but in reality is the cost of an education to the school — an education that may provide those future returns for the player, but does nothing in the present while an athlete is spending years of their prime on theoretical future returns.

While the macro-level debate hasn’t changed, it’s important to listen to the personal stories, the stories of athletes who, while starring on the field of play and bringing in millions for the university, have struggled off of it. As the movement to pay players grows, more of these stories emerge, painting pictures fans can relate directly too — I saw that athlete on the field but didn’t realize what they may have been struggling with day-to-day.

So here’s one for Washington State fans. You all remember Hamza Abdullah, right? Read his story.

Hamza Abdullah played a significant role on some of the best football teams Washington State has ever seen and couldn’t even afford a damn suit.