Pay College Athletes… Wait I’m Not Sure
With all the news of corruption around several big time college football programs, everyone has a thought on whether to pay players or not. All the talking heads on ESPN, talk radio guys / girls, & even Steve Spurrier has ideas on what to do. A recent Jason Whitlock podcast broke down the subject pretty well. Link to it. So I will throw my 2 cents in now.
I totally understand what a scholarship means to a person in terms of money and what it gives a person who takes advantage of it. College is EXPENSIVE so a free ride is a huge value monetarily, no doubt. If a kid plays a sport, goes to class, and graduates that person stands a great chance of success post college life. Just the networking possibilities will pay off in terms of career opportunities. It is the athlete’s responsibility to take advantage of all these opportunities. The same is true of everyone on the planet in any situation…. take advantage of the opportunities presented and you will be rewarded the majority of the time.
The flip side of the argument I just made is the fact that everyone does not take advantage of the scholarship. Kids drop out of school, kids don’t have the upbringing to understand the opportunity before them, & some kids are unrealistic about playing sports professionally after school. These are the kids who could use a “pay for play” system. Let’s say every college athlete could have a fund started from day one that grew & matured at graduation ($500 a game… whatever depending on the sport). That motivates them to actually graduate and gives them some tangible asset in addition to the college degree. That’s just one idea and smarter people than me would come up with better ideas.
One big problem with paying players would be fairness. Or people’s idea of fairness. Folks would say it is unfair that a football player would earn more money than a volleyball player. Lawsuits would soon pop up. In my eyes paying more to the sports that actually make more money is perfectly fair. Just as paying the QB more than a 2nd string linebacker is more than fair. Most smaller sports feed off the profits of football and basketball just to exist so I don’t see how anyone could argue that those players are worth as much as a big time footballer. In all honesty a scholarship is worth more to college baseball player than he is worth to the college in terms of pure dollars.
In the podcast mentioned at the start of this post, Jason Whitlock basically says the NCAA is corrupt and should be totally revamped. His guest, Seth Davis, makes some decent points. He questioned why the NCAA would support all these smaller sports that lose money if the NCAA was so money hungry and corrupt. I can answer that. The NCAA is like a government (they are a governing body), so their very nature is to GROW. By keeping all these unprofitable sports they create more “govt” jobs (most coaches are state employees I would think). They don’t care about the budget… they want warm bodies in jobs that should not exist. These jobs make money for coaches that otherwise could not make that amount in the free market.
I like the idea of capitalism although it is not a perfect system in every situation. In my view superstar college athletes are worth more than average ones. I like to use Tommie Frazier (video highlights) as an example of a player who made his university millions but was “paid” in a scholarship worth a lot less. He did not make millions in the pros either. But a more recent example is Tim Tebow. What do you think he was worth to the University of Florida? I’d like to have 1% of the jersey sales of #15 from Tebow’s 4 years there… not to mention the sales even after he left. You think a kid in Montana begged his mama to go on ebay and get him a Gator #15 because he loved Florida so much or because he worshiped Tim Tebow? TEBOW SOLD THOSE JERSEYS. Superstars like these 2 guys don’t even need University money. They could have made a couple million in endorsements during their college days… if they were permitted to do so.
I know some people will always say the education is all the athletes deserve. It is more enough they will say. I do agree that it is incredibly valuable. But if it is on par with actual dollars why don’t coaches go ahead and trade their salaries for more classes, live in a dorm, and eat campus meals? They are coaching an “amateur” game and the amateur argument is always used for the athletes.