Recent editorials from Georgia newspapers:

Sept. 23

Savannah (Ga.) Morning News on NCAA treatment of players:

Are major colleges exploiting college football players to fatten bank accounts?

Should the NCAA do more to minimize brain trauma in contact sports and help current and former athletes who suffered brain injuries?

Should college athletes be paid a stipend in addition to the scholarships they receive?

These are just some of the provocative questions behind these three letters that some players from Georgia, Georgia Tech and other colleges wrote on their wrist tape Saturday:

APU. That stands for "All Players United."

APU is an act of protest against the NCAA's treatment of athletes, which some consider unfair. Behind the effort is the National College Players Association, an advocacy group for college athletes. It launched the campaign Saturday with an announcement on its website.

NCPA president Romogi Huma played linebacker for UCLA. He founded the organization, according to its website, after watching the NCAA suspend his All-American teammate Donnie Edwards for accepting groceries when his scholarship money ran out at the end of the month.

On the group's Facebook page, there's an item posted about an upcoming piece from Sports Illustrated. In it, Arian Foster, who plays pro football for the Houston Texans, says he accepted money while playing college football at Tennessee because he struggled to pay for food, while his coach was driving a Lexus.

Huma argues that, despite the billions of dollars that college athletes generate, the NCAA enforces rules that leave these athletes across the nation without basic protections. ...

College athletes are considered amateurs. Paying them would make them professionals. That's what the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball are for. Scholarships have real value, too. Just ask any parent with a kid in college.

However, pro sports have long considered the colleges as essentially free training ground for future players. And when it comes to value, there's nothing like the value of TV contracts for colleges or endorsement contracts for college coaches.

This is an intriguing case. Big money is at stake. In the meantime, there's a lot to like about any effort to reduce concussions and other injuries suffered on football fields.

So get used to seeing APU on wristbands on Saturday afternoons. And get ready for the debate they will prompt on campuses and among fans the rest of the week.



Sept. 22

Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle on taxpayers are eyeing early stages of TSPLOST:

This is where the rubber meets the road.

Last year, voters in only three of Georgia's 12 regional transportation districts agreed to impose a 1-cent "TSPLOST" transportation tax on themselves - including the 13-county Augusta region.

As the vote indicates, the tax was a tough sell. It not only pitted the 12 regions against each other - whoever passed it might get a leg up on other regions in the state's economic development competition - but it also pitted counties within the districts against each other. Locally, some complained that Richmond County, which approved the tax, "pulled" other counties into the tax.

That's a bit spurious, since the rest of the state - through the legislature - could "pull" all 159 counties into a new tax, too.

Yet, while this page endorsed the TSPLOST, we understood the angst about it. Still do. It's a new tax, an additional tax, at a time when "tax" is a four-letter word.

But the new TSPLOST gave regions of the state unprecedented autonomy in road construction: Each region came up with its own project proposals, each region voted whether to pass the tax, and each region's leaders will oversee its implementation.

For the Augusta region, that means $841 million in TSPLOST funds - and a total of about $1 billion in construction over 10 years, after adding in federal funds.

Richmond County TSPLOST projects include repairs to John C. Calhoun Expressway; improvements to the Gordon Highway and Deans Bridge Road intersection; resurfacing on various roads; major improvements to River Watch Parkway and Windsor Spring Road; and widening Wrightsboro Road from Bobby Jones Expressway to Jimmie Dyess Parkway.

Work on the latter is already well underway. ...

Buds are starting to sprout on the TSPLOST tree. But the fruits need to be showing up quickly.

In short, the next year or two will set the tone.

Richmond County, Columbia County and others in this region will need to see some tangible benefits from the tax we agreed to levy on ourselves. We signed up for 84 projects - 50 in Richmond County, eight in Columbia County. The pressure will be on state and local leaders to deliver.

It won't help the TSPLOST image if drivers continue to see clogged, two-lane roads in rush hour. We need relief.

As we wrote last year, the future will go to those who can transport goods and people the most efficiently.

The future is now.



Sept. 21

The Albany (Ga.) Herald on needing a new show in D.C.:

The summer rerun season on television is bad enough, but now here we go with another fall stretch in Washington to boot.

Two familiar topics are at the center of this controversy, their political gravity apparently so strong that lawmakers and the White House are unable to find escape velocity. One is the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, depending on your perspective. The second is the national debt ceiling, which apparently will never get high enough.

In this melodrama, we again have a tired and ultimately pointless plot. Congress has approved a certain amount of spending and, as usual, that spending requires more borrowing. But Congress sets the limit for how much can be borrowed and has to act to raise that limit. So here, the plot thickens. House Republicans say they are willing to go along with a higher debt ceiling, but they want Obamacare defunded in return, a condition that won't pass the Senate and one that President Obama most assuredly won't sign. It is the 42nd attempt by the House GOP to kill the health act.

Here is what is most certainly going to happen. The debt ceiling will be raised. It would be a new level of incompetence if lawmakers were to let the United States default on its debt. It will be raised after some drama, but government officials will find ways to pay bills until a solution is reached, even if that comes after the so-called deadline. The national health act will not be repealed or defunded, and will continue to barrel down the tracks to what certainly looks like a train wreck in the making. And there will be a 43rd, 44th, 45th and so on vote by the House GOP to defund/kill Obamacare, at least until everyone goes home to campaign next year.

Oh, and the federal government — Democrats and Republicans alike — will never learn how to function within its means, so we'll keep on borrowing against our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Please! Someone turn the channel!