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Brad Rock: Ex-Ute Luther Elliss learned lesson while losing wealth

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  • sports fan Provo, UT
    April 19, 2011 5:59 p.m.

    I like this story, guy is speaking out. bankruptcy is a huge problem in America and in particularly in the state of Utah. i hope things work out for Luther and his family and i hope people will listen to his story and learn from his mistakes.

    Go Utes!!!

  • TrueBlue Orem, UT
    April 19, 2011 7:02 p.m.

    It's called planning and taking personal responsibility.

    I feel sorry for Luther and athletes like him; but, I feel more sorry for people who have worked hard their whole life, but have never had a chance to experience the finer things of life.

    Everybody knows that professional sports careers are fleeting. Those who are smart with their money and use a little self-control in planning and spending, can be set for life. For someone to be given that opportunity and squander it, is sad.

    I do think colleges, as a required course for all student athletes, should offer a financial planning course to teach athletes the basics of how to set up a budget and how to protect themselves from unscrupulous agents and financial advisers.

  • TheHailstorm South Weber, UT
    April 19, 2011 8:38 p.m.

    This is where I am at odds with the state schools. As a former school teacher the emphasis was on higher mathematics such as algebra, statistics, quadratic equations, etc... These math courses serve only a small part of the student populace. Instead consumer math is pushed to the background and not given priority status. I do believe that the high schools should switch the emphasis from higher mathematics to the courses that will best serve the interest of the masses.
    Consumer math is far and away too underrated and yet it is a daily part of life. Changes in the education system should be made soon and with a more practical approach to what is best for the consumer and especially to the needs of society.

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    April 19, 2011 9:00 p.m.

    With all their millions in TV revenues and other sources of funding (fans, for example) wouldn't you think that professional sports leagues and franchises would offer a few hours of basic economics to athletes with such newly-acquired expensive tastes and extravagant lifestyles? I remember when Kareem had to play an extra two years in the NBA because he was broke and needed to have some money on which to live. Certainly there are plenty of examples that could help younger players realize the pitfalls of instant wealth. I know Kareem tried to spread that message to rookies when he was about through his career. How does ignoring this situation help anyone?

  • Ted H. Midvale, UT
    April 19, 2011 9:06 p.m.

    The victims in this story are those people or companies he promised to repay his debts to and didn't. Good to know the kids aren't homeless however.

  • Mormon Ute Kaysville, UT
    April 19, 2011 10:04 p.m.

    Good lesson to learn, hard way to learn it. I'm glad he's speaking out, but there needs to be more education on handling finances for these athletes. This is also one reason why more education is needed for prospective professional athletes.

    Hailstorm,

    In Utah a class called Financial Literacy is required for graduation. It teaches the basics of managing money, living within a budget, planning for retirement, and staying out of debt. The problem I see is those principles don't get reinforced at home and the kids blow them off once they pass the class. Especially if they think they'll be making a lot of money.

  • KamUte South Jordan, UT
    April 19, 2011 10:08 p.m.

    Keep working hard. You'll land on your feet again.

  • BoringGuy Holladay, UT
    April 19, 2011 10:42 p.m.

    @Ted H

    Whatever, who are you to judge?

    I happened to have the opportunity to meet Mr. Ellis while I was in college. He's one of the nicest guys I ever met at the U.

    I'm pleased he's back with the Utes and contributing to the team. He's one of the key players who put Utah football back on the map.

    I wish he and his family the best and hope he stays on the Hill for years to come.

  • LetsBeRational Spanish Fork, UT
    April 20, 2011 7:27 a.m.

    Thanks Rock, for bringing this story to the public. We need to see the whole picture of sport. I appreciate that you seem to write on things that most others do not. Keep up the good work. And thanks to previous posters; I agree with almost all your comments. I think I checked "recommend" on all but two of previous posts. It is nice to read comments that complement the article, rather than bash Utes or Cougars.

  • tmoney Tulsa, OK
    April 20, 2011 7:34 a.m.

    When you make that much money why do you need to invest. What is there to gain by risking vast wealth. Just put excess income in a CD or a stable dividend stock like AT&T or EXXON if you insist on investing. Also, when you have such wealth why are you mortgaging anything why would you accrue interest on investment real-estate if you didn't have to. If these athletes would just pay cash (which they can do)for their luxury homes at least they could sell those when they go bankrupt or keep a (NICE)roof over their heads.

    If it's so hard to maintain wealth I'd sure like to try it out, earning it is the hard part. It's also not the NCAA's responsibility to teach anyone basic finances. Take a class in personal finance, be responsible for yourself. I really don't feel badly for Mr. Ellis he did this to himself, and his family through his own arrogance. He knew what was best not his wife or his financial advisor. And now he comes back to Utah with a sob story, desperate for a job and some sympathy.

  • Wayne Rout El Paso, TX
    April 20, 2011 8:23 a.m.

    Another Ute playing four years and finishing with no degree. This is a common problem in football and basketball. Players squander the money they get and while complaining about money and conditions have little concept of what it is like to really have to earn a living. When the career is finished, the majority wind up on welfare and food stamps. The schools provide an opportunity to earn a meaningful degree, but first the student has to want to learn, want to go to class, want to study, etc.

  • aggieblue Saint George, UT
    April 20, 2011 8:23 a.m.

    I commend Luther for fighting hard and making the recovery path part of his life. I hope that he uses his experience to help others avoid the pit falls he suffered. So many young people that are fortunate enough to reap the benefits of a lucrative sports career have not had the education to deal with it. There are so many who try to take advantage of these young people, many times friends and family.

    How would any of us deal with a multi-million dollar windfall. We all spend the lottery. Think about what you would do personally with the lottery winnings and see how different you are compared to Luther.

    Glad to see him back in Utah where he can help. Real life experiences are the best teacher and who better to teach than Luther.

    Good luck and keep us posted.

    Thanks D News for the article, hard as it is to read some of these sad happenings, we can learn as well.

    Go Aggies

  • Silent Lurker Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 20, 2011 8:23 a.m.

    There is no doubt that Luther and his wife are very good people. (ie. his values and giving aid to those less fortunate) His willingness to share what he had with others is outstanding. Sadly he lost all that he once had earned, even more sadly is that now his family is struggling with him. It is hard to imagine spending over eleven million dollars.
    The missing concept her is that we all are held accountable for the decisions we make in life. We all make poor decisions form time to time, Luther's character is now showing in that he is taking responsibility for his decisions. He is making the most of his situation, and still wants to help other learn by his example.

  • sports fan Provo, UT
    April 20, 2011 9:21 a.m.

    Look at all of the negative posters. i bet if we were do do a study on your financial history we could find a few bad investments and i am certain that most of you all have debt too.
    grow a heart guys, most great athletes grew up in poverty and got the education they do have by playing sports. i see the way athletes spend money the same way i see starving people act when all of the sudden food is freely available, many of them eat until their stomachs explode, poor kids who get alot of money by being great athletes will usually spend until their wallets are empty. try a little empathy before you start your "im better because im not poor" speech.

  • andrewute1 Salt Lake City, UT
    April 20, 2011 9:34 a.m.

    @Wayne Rout

    Worst comment I have seen on a message board in a long time. Just another holier than thou coug thinking he is better than everyone. Stay classy

  • srh83 Hillsboro, OR
    April 20, 2011 9:45 a.m.

    Scotty Pippen amassed an estimated $150 million in wealth and was bankrupt within 5 years of his retirement. I believe that he's gotten back on track a bit, but this is a huge problem for professional athletes and for most Americans for that matter. A budget is a powerful tool to build wealth and protect yourself from greed and overindulgence.

  • TJ Eagle Mountain, UT
    April 20, 2011 10:01 a.m.

    Very sad to hear such a great person have so many tough trials. "friends" and relatives alike took advantage of him and came a'beggin for money and he was too nice to say no. I wonder how many of the people he gave money to have given anything back. It is good to be generous but you should secure your personal finances first and then look at how you can help others. It looks like greed played a big part of his struggles. Get rich quick or get an amazing return for your investment plans usually backfire. It just happened to Luther on a much larger scale that the average Joe. Hopefully he can get back on his feet and take care of his family. Kudos to his church for sticking by him.

  • AZguy Phoenix, AZ
    April 20, 2011 10:11 a.m.

    I hope he is back on his feet quickly.

    At my company, we require new college hires to take a personal finance class. With pro athletes, they should be required to meet with a financial planner at least monthly, so they don't destroy themselves.

  • Naked Truth Salt Lake City, Utah
    April 20, 2011 10:39 a.m.

    If you only ever spend half of the money you earn, put the other half away in a low risk, interest bearing account, then you shouldn't ever have to worry. I know saving half of what we earn is hard for most of us but for professional athletes that make millions, it should be easy. Luther should have $5.5 Million sitting somewhere making interest. He could be living off the interest alone, and pretty well at that. 6% would be $330,000 per year!

  • Dutchman Murray, UT
    April 20, 2011 11:30 a.m.

    Some pretty judgmental nasty comments on this board. I hope many of you never find yourself in this situation. It appears Luther was also very generous with his money. Many investors have lost all their wealth in this great recession our economy is in right now. I hope those who posted the negative comments can find their Christianity.

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    April 20, 2011 11:59 a.m.

    He did make a good point with our country spending way beyond its means.

    Perhaps what we need to do, is to give the president a budget of what he can spend. Do not allow politicians to borrow money. We'll give him a budget that is less than what is collected. The money left over will go towards paying off the debt.

    Since our "smartest people in the world politicians" can't manage the nation. It's time we as US citizens get off our butts and hold their hands through this. Politicians are nothing more than little kids that need adult supervision.

  • pocyUte Pocatello, ID
    April 20, 2011 12:07 p.m.

    I love how people are very judgmental of how others spend their money.

    First of all for a more complete account on Ellis' situation I would suggest going to the original reports in Jan 2010. I felt bad for Luther at that time, and still do.

    In those articles it tells us that the Lions had mandatory financial classes/counseling that Luther participated in. He readily admits he went against advice from a lot of people in his investments. Some of his investments were in real estate, and if you have followed the Detroit market at all, you might understand how someone could lose their shirt in that market.

    I hope he's able to pull out of it

  • DC Fan Layton, UT
    April 20, 2011 1:30 p.m.

    Sometimes the truth hurts
    Common sense... simple math. I guess I'd feel sorry for these poor athletes but they (pro-football players) are now crying for more from the owners, no bleeding hearts out there for owners taking all the risk and the players want more hand outs, if they dont like what they are being paid, get another job like the rest us have to do. These athletes are no different than the Hollywood movie stars, all brats thinking they are better, more important and demanding more the average working stiff. Get a life and if you feel sorry for them, then contribute to them, contribute to food stamps, welfare, give them some cash, join the Democratic Party and demand a hand out yourself. I'm sorry sick of the "poor me" I got screwed people in the world, be responsible.

  • Ibleedcrimson Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 20, 2011 3:34 p.m.

    DC Fan

    You must really still be hurting over Glenn Beck's firing...

  • Tommy2Shoes Lehi, UT
    April 20, 2011 6:05 p.m.

    Sorry to hear about the financial losses but encouraged that he is trying to finish his degree and helping the Utes. Rich athletes are not always the best investors and can loss everything. The organizations they work for should have taught them how to invest their millions. Adults don't always listen.

  • BoringGuy Holladay, UT
    April 20, 2011 10:16 p.m.

    The Cougar fans on the board still seem a little upset at the way Luther man-handled the team in Provo back in the '90s. Get over it. Luther's '94 Utes team marked the resurgence of Ute football.

  • rok San Diego, CA
    April 21, 2011 8:10 a.m.

    I don't know if it's just the lighting in the picture, but those uniforms look pink compared to the red they have on the jerseys today.

  • Naked Truth Salt Lake City, Utah
    April 21, 2011 8:53 a.m.

    Re: BoringGuy

    Elliss played from 1992-94. Let's see, in 1992 BYU beat Utah 31-22. Then in 1993 and 1994 Utah had those back-to-back 34-31 wins. Am I missing something? Where exactly did BYU get "man-handled"?

  • Red Salt Lake City, UT
    April 21, 2011 9:50 a.m.

    Luther,

    We are all in this together bro.

    Bigger and smarter guys than you lost it all and we are not judging you for getting caught in the middle of this financial market with the rest of us.

    We can all learn from our mistakes. I love that you are facing it head on and continuing to walk tall. I think you are a great example of giving love and helping others.

    You are welcome in my house anytime! Bring your whole family with you!!!

    Plenty of "good" people made a killing in the mortgage market when times were good. Their "junk" fees they charged on the hidden back end of loans are one reason the industry is being tightly regulated now. So, they can pat themselves on the back and feel superior to you, but they were and maybe still are part of the problem.

    We can all do better by keeping our needs and wants in check. It for sure isn't time to judge Luther harshly. I'm not sure when it will be our turn to judge him or anyone else.

    Probably never.

    Keep being a great dad Luther!! I love it.

  • CordonBleu Park City, UT
    April 21, 2011 10:15 a.m.

    BoringGuy

    You're calling a couple 34-31 losses being "man-handled"?

    A little selective memory there.

    1994 may have marked the resurgence of Ute football, but it was just another one of many great years for BYU football.

    The Cougars finished 10-3 in 1994, with losses at #16/#14 Colorado State, at Arizona State, and a very close loss at #10/#8, with wins at Air Force and at Notre Dame and in their bowl game over Oklahoma. BYU finished #18/#10 in the final polls.

    btw, even though Utah(10-2) finished in the Top 10, the Utes only finished tied for 2nd in the WAC, with BYU. The Utes lost conference game at New Mexico(5-7) and Air Force(8-4).

    BYU fans upset at Luther? Sorry, only a few BYU fans vaguely even remember Luther.

  • BillM75 Salt Lake City, UT
    April 21, 2011 2:16 p.m.

    I read that SI article. These athletes are relentlessly hounded for money by friends & family, never mind strangers. They have little spare time to learn financial management, esp not in college where they're practically forced to take stay-eligible classes. If their agents aren't honest and their moms/wives not smart & tough, they're doomed to bankruptcy.

    One of their biggest mistakes is investing in "tangible" things like restaurants (often at friends & relatives request) instead of unsexy bonds & dividend earning stock funds. Kevin Durant recently said he gets asked for "20K here, 25K there" all the time. Can happen to anyone.

    Good luck, Luther.

  • BoringGuy Holladay, UT
    April 21, 2011 8:29 p.m.

    I hate to mention this to all of the fans of the team in Provo. If you went back and watched the video of Luther's play back in the Holy Wars, you'd know what I'm talking about when I say man handle. He made your players look like little kittens of the field.

    BTW, I'm sure it felt great to go 10-3 back in 1994. That record was so good it would get you a BCS bid today -- ha ha -- good luck with that.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    April 22, 2011 10:46 a.m.

    @boring guy

    Don't be such a fool. While ellis's story is sad and pathetic he is still responsible for what happened. I don't think any of us can claim we would do any better if we were in that same situation although I am sure we all think we would. But the fact is blowing 11 million dollars is foolish and deserves criticism regardless of who does it.

    I for one respect that he wants to be an example of what not to do, although to be honest with you he is that example anyway, but the fact he is willing to be public about it in an attempt to maybe warn others is admirable. It also sounds like he is a good person, but being a good person doesn't exempt you from being a fool.

  • Longhorn Steve Salt Lake City, UT
    May 11, 2012 10:21 a.m.

    Nice dig at the "proselytizing" K2.

    This publication never fails to crack me up.