PHILADELPHIA -- After flunking as a hockey player at tiny Merrimack College, I received an offer from the school's public relations director: Travel with the team, write stories about those Warriors for the local newspapers and the program, get a work-study, paid, tax-free, $60 a week. He launched a 30-year career, that guy, so the next time you want to tell me I shouldn't be in the business, tell him instead. All his fault.I made a lot of friends with that $60. Players borrowed from it to eat, mainly, but it financed their dates occasionally, too. And yeah, beer.This experience formed the opinion that follows. College athletes need to receive a stipend, and please save me the spiel about getting their education for free. As many athletes, coaches and administrators will tell you, education is a dangerous thing for revenue producers, to be watered down and generally avoided at all costs.