In three seasons, Nebraska wide receiver Kenny Bell has 134 recptions, 1,901 receiving yards and 15 receiving touchdowns. He has been selected to first team All-Big Ten, Big Ten All-Freshman Team and the Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll.
But for a week and a half, Bell did not have utilities.
"I went without power for like a week and half," Bell told CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd. "I didn't go home. I stayed up at the stadium until I would go to sleep because I couldn't do anything at my house.
Bell, an ethnic studies major, says he got a job to pay for the bills–working as a bartender at "The Bar" in Lincoln. Bell's hours included some double shifts from 3 p.m. to 3 a.m., logging 30 hours certain weeks.
"What kind of 22-year old man, is like, 'Hey Mom [I need money]'?" Bell said. "I want to say, 'I'm a man. I take care of myself.'"
The lights in the residence Bell shares with Cornhuskers defensive tackle Tobi Okuyemi have been back on since then thanks to the paychecks from The Bar.
In April, Bell told the Associated Press he was approached by a fellow Big Ten star, former Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter, about spearheading an effort to bring unionization to Nebraska. Bell and Colter both graduated from Colorado high schools in 2010.
"A lot of guys don't really know -- not just in our locker room, but across the country -- what a union necessarily entails," Bell told the AP. "I'll tell you one thing: You can't afford to pay dues because we don't have enough money to eat sometimes. I think a lot of research needs to be done on behalf of the players before they just jump into it."
Bell is the son of Ken Bell, Sr., a four-year NFL player with the Denver Broncos. His stepfather, Dan Campbell, is a successful computer software security salesman. Bell admits he has financial backing, but does not think that should cloud his judgment of players' rights.
"I'm from affluence," he said. "They could give me money if I needed it, but that's embarrassing, you know?"
Bell starts the 2014 on the Big Ten writers' preseason All-Big Ten Team and has NFL draft potential. Colter led CAPA to a victory in court, recognizing the right of Northwestern football players to unionize, although reports suggest they voted against it. Bell and Nebraska have taken no steps to replicate Colter's actions.
Dodd's article does not mention a specific time Bell bartended, but tweets from the Lincoln imply Bell may have worked last winter.
Kenny bell is bartending at the bar I'm at right now!
— Robert (@OGBobbyJayy) February 2, 2014
Yardbarker has a story today about Kenny Bell bartending to pay bills. Kind of an old story but okay...
— Linsey Lynn (@miss_linseylynn) August 18, 2014
One thing that is for certain is Bell is a highly educated college football player of elite talent who takes interest in players' rights. While he has not taken union level actions -- yet -- he continues to voice a loud opinion.
As he told Dodd:
"Let's start with how blessed we are and how lucky we are," Bell said. "We get an opportunity. We get an education. We get more connections than anyone could ever ask for, which is all fantastic.
"But when you talk about capitalism, people use the word 'exploited' because we're athletes. People don't come to the game to watch the coaches on the sideline. They come to watch the players play the game.
"The fact that guys barely have enough money to pay their bills, get gas, can't really take their girlfriends out for a movie very often. It's a tough thing when you talk about multibillion-dollar TV contracts."
Bell's senior campaign starts in Lincoln against Florida Atlantic on Aug. 30. The Cornhuskers travel to Colter's old school, Northwestern, on Oct. 18. Colter is now a member of the Minnesota Vikings as a wide receiver.
-- Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.