The sin of wages

So here’s part of a Brian Cook rant about player compensation:

Everywhere else in society, an 18 year old who works really hard at something is financially compensated for it and most of them do not… I mean… why am I even arguing about this? If you’re the kind of person who thinks that young people doing dumb things with money is a threat instead of, you know, life, you probably start arguments with “Speaking as a parent.” Anyone who starts arguments with “Speaking as a parent” wants you to turn off your brain so they can feelingsball you. They are my mortal enemies, speaking as a person who can formulate an argument.

The aura of paternalism that hangs over objections to letting players get theirs is suffocating. “But if they get money they’ll…” They’ll what? They’ll still be under the thumb of a drill sergeant of a football coach desperate to remain in his good graces lest the faucet turn off. They will be the same, just with fewer things to stress about.

They might waste it. They might not. I just don’t care anymore. Let them have their five hundred dollars.

He’s got a point.  What is it about college players getting paid that turns so many of us off?  Hell, we’ve already seen what happens when colleges and conferences get paid.  Can players receiving payment make things worse than what the suits are putting us through as a consequence?

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146 Comments

Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

146 responses to “The sin of wages

  1. gastr1

    It’s the idea that they’ll be playing for the paycheck rather than the glory of the old alma mater.

    • Unlike most coaches, right?

      • gastr1

        Well, but coaches are like faculty & staff, they’re employees to begin with, not students participating in an extracurricular activity.

        • gastr1

          I am for students getting paid, though…it’s possible to have a job working on campus and get a paycheck for it–graduate assistants, for example–so I don’t get the issue with that. What I’m explaining is my take on what I think bothers people about it–the core of amateur versus professional.

        • At Northwestern, the players are employees, too. ;)

    • Monday Night Froetteur

      Come on. If people actually cared about that, Ivy League football would be bigger than SEC football.

      Mercs beat patriots, and the fans of the mercs’ schools can’t get enough of it.

      • 81Dog

        they don’t always. George Washington roughed up the Hessian mercs by crossing the Delaware, you know. Of course, the Hessians probably didn’t have a very good bagman. If the talent is anywhere close to equal, I’d rather have the motivated true believers than the me me me guys.

    • And players don’t do that now? Playing for the hopeful paycheck that the NFL brings, and not for the glory of the G. Pollack was famously a Clemson fan. Players aren’t picking Georgia, or Alabama, or LSU, or South Carolina because they grew up loving those schools. A lot of them are wanting to become the next [insert former top NFL pick] and the college football is the required stepping stone to that paycheck from the pros.

  2. Gravidy

    Methinks he’s never heard of an intern, co-op, or apprentice.

    • mp

      Show me an intern, co-op, or apprentice that has a similar limitations on moving between employers as NCAA coaches can place on their employees, err…Student-Athetes. You know what else an intern can do? File a worker’s comp claim.

      • Gravidy

        I was merely pointing out the first line of his argument was a fallacy. And it still is. If you want to refute that, I’m all ears.

      • Gravidy

        And the opening line of his argument is still a fallacy. I’m one of those old fogeys who thinks that sort of thing is noteworthy.

  3. The stipend to go along with a full cost of attendance scholarship is fine with me. Marketing of likeness and name is also ok with me. What I don’t want to see is high school players signing with the highest bidder. That scenario changes everything about the landscape of college sports.

    • What I don’t want to see is high school players signing with the highest bidder.

      What part of the Bag Man post makes you think that isn’t already going on to some extent?

      And what part of the power conference stipend proposal makes you think that won’t go on, at least between the have and have-not conferences?

      • But paying them won’t stop that, either. Someone will simply pay them more. I don’t think it’s unreasonable (at all) to give players a full cost of attendance scholarship and a stipend ($1,000 a month or so). If they think that’s so bad, don’t play in college. They can spend three years training on their own and enter the draft. They have options. They can take one year to train and then play in Canada. They can file suit against the NFL attempting to allow entry straight out of high school. The fact colleges make money off of football doesn’t mean those who play it must be paid more than they already are.

        Or better yet, give them $60,000 a year and have them pay for their education, training, meals, tutoring and access to those facilities the schools provide with that money.

        • They have options. They can take one year to train and then play in Canada. They can file suit against the NFL attempting to allow entry straight out of high school.

          Those are some options. How’s a kid who barely makes ends meet on a college scholly supposed to afford training on his own for a year – and that just to have a crack at a professional league that limits participation by Americans?

          And what part of the Clarett case don’t you guys get? As long as the NFL bargains for the rule restricting underclassmen eligibility with the NFLPA, it’s got an antitrust exemption on that front.

          • How’s a kid who barely makes ends meet on a college scholly supposed to afford training on his own for a year

            It’s almost as if the infrastructure in place costs a lot of money. So it has a rather large price tag associated with it? So that service, which is free to athletes, has a value?

            • Connor

              My office has printers and internet access and lights and free pens and a cleaning crew and coffee… which all cost money, and are costs I’d have to bear if I started my own business… but they still have to pay me a salary if they expect me to show up every day.

        • AthensHomerDawg

          Somehow, I think that a lot of this could be resolved if the schools were interested in resolving it. The revenue generated by football has become the piggy banks for Athletic Association to disperse. Blame the economy. Blame Bobo. I don’t think they want anyone breaking into their piggy bank.

          NCAA approves $2,000 for full cost of attendance
          http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/24156338/32961892

          “A bill (475b) making its way through the California legislature would require that major PAC12 football schools provide full cost of attendance scholarships and a $3,000 per year scholarship. The proposed law provides for other changes in athletic policy, as well:..First, the bill would require all athletic scholarships to be guaranteed for five years, or until the completion of the student-athlete’s eligibility, as long as the athlete is in good standing with the school and continues participating in his or her sport. The bill does not stop with mandating cost of attendance scholarships. It also provides that all full athletic scholarships must include an additional $3,600 stipend. Called a “student athlete participation stipend,” this is money that is intended to be used for expenses that fall outside of those included in the definition of cost of attendance.”

          There will be a lot of lip service to this and they will bank what they can until made to do otherwise. I guess it’s not unlike collecting contributions from alumni to make improvement to athletic venues when those same alumni perform a similar service acting as bag men. How did we get into this mess?

        • South FL Dawg

          “The fact colleges make money off of football doesn’t mean those who play it must be paid more than they already are.”

          Yet this is what happened with coaches, athletic directors, conference officials and NCAA officials, the more money coming in, the more they get paid. I don’t even think it’s accurate to say that colleges make money off of football; they certainly bring in a lot more revenue than they used to, but they spend it too.

          As an example look at the hole Tennessee is in because of the buyouts for Fulmer, Hamilton, Dooley and company. The Tennessee AA used to give some money to the university every year, but they cut that from their budget because all the severance packages put them in the red. Being in the red didn’t stop from paying Butch Jones and his staff though. Players can’t get paid while they’re playing, but lousy coaches and athletic directors continue to get paid after they’re canned.

          BTW, while the tuition charged can be $60K, it doesn’t cost that to have a student athlete sitting in an otherwise empty seat. I think the colleges would be the first ones screaming bloody murder if they were told they have to pay football players $60K and let the students decide how to spend it. Quite a few of the football players would qualify for financial aide on the basis of need anyway, so they would be able to pocket the money.

      • I’m not naive enough to know that the visit of the Bag Man doesn’t happen. It just seems right now that no one acts as if the scholarship has no economic value to the student-athlete. If you have the full cost stipend in place and allow athletes to trade on likeness/name, I think all of that ends up being done in the light of day as opposed to under the table. An annualized $45K-$55K (full cost of attendance scholarship) paid internship for 3-5 years seems like a pretty darn good deal to me. It’s similar to what a lot of companies pay interns during a summer internship on an hourly basis.

        • It just seems right now that no one acts as if the scholarship has no economic value to the student-athlete.

          That’s not the issue. The issue is that players’ services in big-time programs are undervalued.

          Put it this way: if tomorrow the NCAA lost every legal matter it’s currently involved with and schools had to start paying football and basketball players market rate, do you think some players would receive more compensation than they receive now?

          • Yes, they likely would. I just hope everyone goes into the “brave new world” with their eyes wide open of the unintended consequences because they will be there and it will likely be very painful for fans/ticket holders, administrators, coaches, and, most importantly, student-athletes.

            • … it will likely be very painful for fans/ticket holders…

              They don’t care much now. We’re seen more as wallets than fans anyway.

              • Agree but there’s probably an economics lesson getting ready to come to the suits in college athletics. Eventually the consumer determines the price of the product (monetary and otherwise) isn’t worth the value provided and stops buying. See every economic bubble produced in history.

                • But isn’t that where an adjustment to he labor market should theoretically happen where the laborers that don’t provide most of the value (i.e. AD’s / most coaches) would see their salaries come back down to their true value?

                  While I openly admit it’s something that never would happen (seriously…what decision maker ever gives themself a paycut?), it’s also the reason I call bullshit when people claim to be free market, but turn around and bitch about the possibility of rising costs to the consumer (see recent examples with fast foot laborers) because the worker bees want to be paid what their true value in the labor market should bear. Of course the prices to consumer would rise, but that’s because management isn’t being paid a rational salary. In a perfectly rational world, management salaries would come back down to their true value and vice-versa for the regular workers. However, we don’t live in that rational world the free market enthusiast would have you believe, do we? ;)

                  • I’m not sure I follow your point.

                    If fast food laborers want more money, and fast food companies are not willing to pay them more money because fast food workers are uneducated, unskilled labor that is replaceable, isn’t that the market proving what it will bear?

                    Because the fast food companies will not increase its pay model, government intervention increases the artificial floor on wages, which leads to inflation – rising prices to the consumer. Now, fast food costs as much as table-service restaurants, so consumers demand more table-service. To more adequately match supply to demand, table-service restaurants raise their prices. And, now we see how an increase in the minimum wage leads to inflation. While inflation may be good for the government’s enormous debt, it is not good for those that are struggling to make ends meet, which is ironic since that’s why the government allegedly intervened in the first place.

                    What does that have to do with management being paid a rational salary? While some salaries are clearly irrational, companies have to pay a premium (or convince themselves they need to) to get someone to handle a) responsibility, b) culture problems, c) the political environment, and d) the inevitable firing.

                    You have to pay Mark Richt because he has options. You have to pay Nick Saban more than Mark Richt because he has more options. Mark Richt gets paid more than Terry Bowden because TB is a kangaroo. Paying players will not reduce the options coaches have as long as the NFL is willing to give mega contracts to successful college coaches. If the money dries up because it is being diverted to the players, a more likely result would be the best coaching talent would leave for the NFL. Another option would be reducing the number of scholarship athletes at each school. There are many possibilities. What is nearly certain, though, is that the bubble is about to burst.

                    • Mark Richt gets paid more than Terry Bowden because TB is a kangaroo.

                      You owe me a new computer monitor because of the coffee damage caused after I read that. :)

                  • My comment is driven more by the fact that 90,000 people may not be able or willing to pay the price associated with a “pay-for-play” model. When organizations look at customers as wallets rather than consumers with the ability to make buying decisions, the bubble grows and eventually bursts.

                    The labor market for scholarship athletes is like any other market. If the cost of scholarship athletes goes up, that cost gets passed along to the consumer. That means more (and longer) TV timeouts for the viewer and more time spent at the stadium having advertisements blared at you. It means higher contribution minimums, higher ticket prices, higher concession prices, and likely more cupcakes to increase the number of home games. As a result, people make rational decisions to purchase or not. Some schools decide to drop some varsity sports to reduce costs or fund a portion of athletic scholarships from other resources (i.e., higher tuition & fees). That’s why I say there will be painful unintended consequences that are going to affect all of the stakeholders of college athletics.

                    • Hackerdog

                      You are assuming that management (schools/NCAA) have pared their profit down to the minimum and any new cost (such as stipends) will have to come from raised ticket prices or burdensome advertising. That is not a given.

                      TAMU made $38 million in profit last year. If they had chosen to compensate the football players, they could have chosen to keep ticket prices the same, keep advertising the same, and make slightly less than $38 million in profit. Everybody wins.

                    • Hacker, you’re assuming that management is just going to decide to reduce their profit margin in the context of higher operating costs. I don’t see that happening in this case at the top of the food chain. No one says we’ve made enough money already. The universities will attempt to find additional sources of revenue to offset the increased costs. Athletic directors know they have a captive market (brand loyalty is through the roof – the front of the jersey – fans don’t change allegiance because it costs too much to be a fan – they decide to find something else to do with their entertainment dollar) and they will monetize that brand as much as possible. If that means more find UGA on the scoreboard, 30 more seconds of TV timeouts at every break in the game, or higher prices, they will look to that before taking the cost increase direct to “earnings.”

                    • Hackerdog

                      I’m arguing that less profit is one solution available to management. There are others.

                      You seem to be arguing that, if schools were forced to spend more on athletes, they would simply capture more revenue that, until now, they had been happily leaving on the table. I don’t think schools are as magnanimous as you do.

                    • Hacker, our ticket prices are among the lowest in the conference. We match what other schools charge us for away game tickets, but our base price on the season is lower. I guarantee that McGarity will move to increase ticket prices first if the costs of go up.

                    • You’re leaving out the Hartman Fund contribution. UGA ain’t that low when you factor that in.

                    • That’s fair, it’s also 80% tax deductible. Also, the donation is only required for renewable season tickets or for away game priority. What happens when the athletic associations lose their NFP tax status? Can you say PSL?

  4. Derek

    If you are going to keep the status quo and acting as a professional minor league, then yes, spread the wealth. It won’t change a thing in the short term. However I still say that the system should recommit itself to the original mission of college athletics and force the pro league’s hand to give the kids who aren’t college students a professional, developmental option. Unfortunately I don’t think the colleges will risk their revenue stream and they will open Pandora’s box. Once compensation starts it’s very difficult to know where that ends. You also wonder if the “bag men” will be even more emboldened in a much more permissive atmosphere. In other words if $x is ok, then why is $y under the table wrong?

    One potential middle ground is something Lewis grizzard mentioned 30 years ago: have a mix of students who are players and employees who are players. Let the conferences decide what the mix will be. Maybe they can offer the non-students some vocational training. At least that way we get away from the hypocrisy and we can quit lying to ourselves about what college football has become.

    • This isn’t discussed enough, but the NCAA is getting punished by the media while the NFL, the sacred cow of American sports, is never called on the carpet for doing nothing about the “problem” of kids getting free education. The NFL prints money at this point. Why isn’t Andy Staples or Patrick Hruby all over them for not spreading that wealth to their future?

      • … the NFL, the sacred cow of American sports, is never called on the carpet for doing nothing about the “problem” of kids getting free education.

        That’s because:

        – It’s not the NFL’s responsibility.
        – There’s plenty to blame the NCAA for that has nothing to do with the NFL’s stance.

        I’d also suggest that it’s kind of strange to want to hold the NFL accountable for a problem that you place in scare quotes.

        • Oh I don’t think it’s a problem at all. Not one bit do I feel it’s a problem. Hence the quotes. But as I said above, high school players have other options. I feel the best option is to suffer through the years of indentured servitude—all while having access to great schooling, coaching and training—to then take the next step. But they do have options.

          • DawgPhan

            But to answer the senator’s question about why does the idea of paying football players bother you. So much that you create all of these other “options” for them instead of paying them.

            Is it because you think that they don’t deserve the compensation. That they haven’t earned it? We agree that they are already earning some compensation for their efforts. It just that you don’t want to give them more. Why?

            • It’s not that it bothers me. What bothers me is the constant whining from the media that players deserve more. They are paid interns for three 3-5 years. They then are open to making millions at the next level, or they take their education learned at the school and go into another field.

              • DawgPhan

                It clearly bothers you. Why does it bother you, because the media? Lulz…

                It bothers you that they want more. Why does it bother you that they want more? You should be able to answer that.

                • If the school has to be the one to pay the money, that means the end of many other sports. That’s the simple reality of it. I think women’s soccer or men’s tennis has an inherent value to the school. It may not be a cash value, but it does have a value. Seeing those sports dropped is not a good thing. But if you open up the payment to outside interests, the situation that will create will be toxic in my opinion. And the thought of them getting paid “clearly” does not bother me. I find the hyperbole associated with the plight of the players nauseating, however. When Jay Bilas refers to it as masters over their slaves I want to punch him as that diminishes what it meant to be a slave. Patrick Hruby saying the NCAA is the same as organized crime is downright laughable. So yes, as someone who works in the media, it bothers me my industry has become so hyperbolic.

                  • DawgPhan

                    So your concern is that of maintaining the status quo.

                    /* wont someone please think of the women’s soccer team */

                  • If the school has to be the one to pay the money, that means the end of many other sports. That’s the simple reality of it.

                    Why can’t it mean the end of reserve funds, $7 million/year coaches contracts, AD bonuses based on player performance, etc.?

                  • Monday Night Froetteur

                    If the school has to be the one to pay the money, that means the end of many other sports.

                    2 huge problems with that argument:

                    -1) Schools that don’t generate massive football or men’s basketball profits (D-II, D-III, NAIA) still have many non-revenue sports. They’re just run much less expensively.

                    -2) If women’s soccer or men’s tennis have an inherent value to a particular school, that school can pay for them out of the general fund. I suspect that your real concern is that they don’t actually have much value, at least not as they are run now…

              • Monday Night Froetteur

                The media “whine” that the players deserve market compensation, like everybody else more or less get.

                There was a point in time when you could make a non-laughable argument that college sports weren’t “professional.” Tickets were priced way below the market, you could bring food and drink into the stadia, coaches weren’t fired for a few losing seasons and weren’t poached for one good season, athletic directors almost always took a pay cut from what they could have been making somewhere else, AD staffs were small and lean, etc. That’s simply not the case today, but the member-schools keep lying by saying that it is. Open, blatant lying brings media attention.

                • I don’t see how giving players the full cost of attendance $1,000 a month is a bad deal. I really don’t. That allows other sports to stay afloat and it allows the players to have the security they need. That’s a damn fine internship.

                  • Monday Night Froetteur

                    It’s a bad deal if it’s less than what the market would bear, and it very likely is (hence the overpaid ADs, coaches and Presidents fighting tooth and nail to block the market; they are major beneficiaries of monopsony rent).

                    If the other sports are important to an individual school, that school can fund them with general fund money. They do not have to be, nor should they be, funded on the backs of revenue-sport athletes.

          • Union Jack

            Since you brought it up … Indentured Servitude – IT ONLY LOOKS LIKE SLAVERY!

            • gastr1

              Y’know, the use of “internship” is highly problematic. One thing missing from this debate is the absolute lack of free time these kids have during the season AND the lack of NCAA legality or and/or time for getting a part-time job or internship in a career choice other than football or basketball the rest of the year. That’s how the athletes come up with comparisons to slavery–obviously wrong and offensive, don’t get me wrong–but are nonetheless based on an actual lack of freedom in some ways that could easily be rectified through compensation.

          • Hackerdog

            That’s the kind of elitism that is, thankfully, being phased out of sports. I suspect that, 100 years ago, Parrish would have been forefront in establishing amateurism as a sacred value in athletic competition.

            What the public wants to see isn’t the best athletes in the country. It’s the best white athletes who attend Ivy League schools, and who have families wealthy enough to subsidize their athletic endeavors. That’s what “for the love of the sport” really means.

            Of course, that ideal was never really practiced as rigidly as the romanticists like to believe. 70 years ago, Georgia’s best football players were being paid salaries to work for Coca Cola that were enough to cover their expenses and still send some back home to Mama. But we’ll just pretend that never happened.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      The average salary for minor league baseball players is around $1,500 a month, plus meal allowances! Wow!

  5. DiploDawg

    I was wondering what other people thought of an idea I had on this issue.

    In many cases in the professional world, young job seekers take unpaid internships to gain the connections and experience necessary to find paid employment. In this scenario, the businesses profit even as the interns make nothing.

    Is it outrageous to consider players as having a semi unpaid internship that gives them the experience and connections necessary to find employment later, be it in the league or elsewhere?

    Just a though for discussion…

      • DiploDawg

        Would you argue that the ruling noted in the wapo article applies to collegiate athletes? I’m not convinced that this is the case. As the ruling said, “They received nothing approximating the education they would receive in an academic setting or vocational school.”

        • No, it doesn’t. But not because of that – it’s because everyone agrees the players receive compensation in the form of scholarships.

          Which is why I don’t think your analogy works.

          • DiploDawg

            Is it different from an unpaid intern that resides in company provided housing? Ultimately the experience and connections would make up the payment for the internship…as opposed to a formal salary.

            Thanks!

        • DiploDawg

          To finish, I would argue that collegiate athletes have access to both an academic setting AND special training not normally accessible to non “interns.”

    • DawgPhan

      Except that no one is forced into an internship except football players.

      • Gravidy

        You know, I’ve tried to stay out of this discussion as much as possible. I know I don’t agree with Bluto on this issue, and it is pointless for me to comment on this blog every day and point out that fact.

        But your comment just hits a hot button for me. Nobody is forcing these players to do a damn thing. If they don’t like the terms of the athletic scholarship, they are 100% free to not accept it. Nobody offered me a football scholarship to UGA, and I would have really LOVED to have had one.

        And if you really want to continue to believe no one else is “forced” into an intership (by your definition), then you can stop that as well. There are many schools and career paths where an internship is “highly encouraged”.

        • DawgPhan

          I am hate that you were not good enough at football to earn a scholarship. These players earn what they get and deserve more.

          • Gravidy

            So you’ve been caught in a fallacy, and your best comeback is to try to change the subject with a snotty personal dig at my non-existent football talents? Oh…I’m wounded.

            I would have much preferred it if you had seen fit to address the point I made in my comment – you know, like I addressed yours.

        • Monday Night Froetteur

          Nobody is forcing these players to do a damn thing. If they don’t like the terms of the athletic scholarship, they are 100% free to not accept it.

          That’s true, but all that means is that college football isn’t slavery. Kudos. What the NCAA member schools are doing is agreeing in restraint of trade to cap compensation at an absurdly, artificially low level, and forcing incoming participants to agree to a contract of adhesion imposing harsh terms on the players. That’s contrary to our country’s competition laws, it’s contrary to our basic economic system, and will be undone by the courts.

          • Gravidy

            You have a nice day, sir.

          • Normaltown Mike

            The NCAA isn’t a free market endeavor. Once you understand this very simple truth, everything else should fall into place.

            • “The NCAA isn’t a free market endeavor.”? Tell that to Jimmy Sexton. ;)

            • mp

              NCAA schools (through conference affiliations, owned TV networks, apparel licenses), administrators, coaches, professors, staff, food service providers, and even students that aren’t athletes are allowed to participate in the free market to their heart’s content. It’s only NCAA athletes that aren’t currently allowed to participate in the free market based on NCAA rules.

          • What the NCAA member schools are doing is agreeing in restraint of trade to cap compensation at an absurdly, artificially low level, and forcing incoming participants to agree to a contract of adhesion imposing harsh terms on the players. That’s contrary to our country’s competition laws, it’s contrary to our basic economic system, and will be undone by the courts.

            You could say the same exact thing about a number of industries in America over the last 45 years or so with the crazy rise of crony capitalism combined with collusion amongst management to artificially keep wages low. It’s amazing to me that we see a solution to a lot of the economic problems America faces, but we only get serious about it when it impacts something we are emotionally invested in. :)

            • Monday Night Froetteur

              You could say the same exact thing about a number of industries in America

              I agree to some extent. There are successful antitrust cases brought in various fields that don’t receive as much publicity as this, but on the other hand those cases have so far been more successful than the various attempts to shatter the NCAA’s monopsony.

      • They’re forced to go to school and play football? Did not know that.

  6. Always Someone Else's Fault

    I think what has bothered me (can’t speak for hordes of others) about paying players are so many of the rationales we used to reach that argument. “Slavery”? Sorry, I find that one ridiculous. “Not compensated at all”? Sorry, I see way too many people who work their fingers to the bone just to earn an associates degree at a community college.

    Fortunately for the pay-for-play advocates, the sheer absurdity of Emmert and Co. has eliminated the need for any counter-rhetoric beyond stepping out of the way and letting the status quo defenders play out their Keystone Cops routine.

    Paying players will have significant ripple effects through the system, and anyone who says it won’t is lying or stupid. But that uncertainty isn’t going to be enough to counter the certainty of a select group of executives making annual 7 figures with a product featuring amateur athletes. The imbalance just isn’t sustainable, and either the small schools are going to “get it” or the small schools are going to experience some financial roster management.

    • Gravidy

      This may be the single most sensible (and more importantly, rational) thing I’ve read on the subject. Well, done, sir.

    • Hackerdog

      No one has seriously argued that the players are slaves, or that a college scholarship isn’t worth anything. In a certain sense, the players are compensated.

      The problem that many, including me, have with the status quo is that the players aren’t compensated what they are worth. We would all find it ridiculous if the NFL passed a new rule capping quarterback salaries at $50k/year. Under a free market, Matt Ryan earns $20 million/year. Under my proposed system, it’s $50k. But hey, at least it’s something, right? I mean, he’s always free to go be a plumber and earn $60k, right? He should just be thankful that he gets something, right?

      The other problem that I have is that the NCAA even goes so far as to limit the activities of its athletes that have nothing to do with sports. I understand the rationale of not allowing a college baseball player to play minor league baseball in the summer, for pay. But why can’t a college baseball player start his own clothing company in the summer, under his own name? Under current rules, he can’t. Not only must he accept lower than market wages, he is extremely limited in his ability to supplement those wages.

  7. Monday Night Froetteur

    What is it about college players getting paid that turns so many of us off?

    Race. Read the recent polling about paying players and look at the racial breakdown. Now, I’m not saying that everybody who opposes a free market in college sports is Nathan Bedford Forrest. But subconsciously, most white guys see Mark Emmert or Mike Slive and think, “that guy has marketable skills. He deserves what the market will bear.” Most white dudes see AJ Green and think “he’s a kid playing a kid’s game; he’s lucky he gets a schollie.”

    • Sadly this exists. I wish it didn’t, but there are definitely people who feel this way. However that’s not why everyone who feels cutting a check for $50K or whatever) a year isn’t the best course of action. But I can’t deny people feel this way.

    • Normaltown Mike

      People that disagree with you are racists and you prove this by making a racist statement?

      Got it.

    • It’s the same in the pros, too — back when the NFL players went on strike, the owners got most of the sympathy while the players, the ones actually busting their asses and risking their health on the field, were derided as greedy thugs who were just on a cash grab.

    • Sorry but I don’t buy this for an instant. I don’t think Emmert, $live, and the rest of the suits that run college sports deserve what they get paid. If it happens, they will be the ones blamed for killing the goose that laid the golden egg. As long as AJ Green paid all taxes due and disclosed outside income, I think he should have received a full cost of attendance scholarship, been able to sell that jersey (his personal property) without reprisal from the NCAA, and appear in a local Lexus dealer commercial in exchange for the use of a car. I also think he received a lot of other benefits (coaching, strength/conditioning, health care, etc.) that don’t show up in the total value of the scholarship.

    • mp

      The whole notion of amateurism is a charade created to protect the delicate sensibilities of the rich, white Ivy Leaguers who couldn’t fathom competing against the poor (let alone minorities). It’s sad to see how unquestioned it has become in society.

      • Agreed. It’s always been more of a class thing than a racial one.

        • AthensHomerDawg

          Ding! We have a winner. The class distinction has been around for a long time starting with rugby. “The middle and upper class men who dominated the sporting establishment not only had a theoretical preference for amateurism, they also had a self-interest in blocking the professionalization of sport, which threatened to make it feasible for the working classes to compete against themselves with success.
          The principle of amateurism, and issues of class ensured that the Rugby Football Union would not countenance professional rugby.”

        • mp

          Yeah, I should have said “WASP-y establishment” rather than white, as it was trying to exclude working-class Italians, Poles, Irish, etc…

    • AthensHomerDawg

      Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack. —

  8. Q

    Couple thoughts on pay for play. Not making an argument against pay for play here, just curious with the veil finally lifted, how might it change.

    (1) I’d think plenty of universities would too embarrassed to participate in an open bid for athletes and create a different division of actual student athletes. Might get this anyway w/o pay for play, but could drive it sooner.

    (2) I’m big school x. I legally pay a top player 1M (cam got 180k for 1 yr w/o an agent) to play ball. I’m not letting him waste my money by going to class or studying. How long until we drop the student tag and make them entertainers that student fees go towards like concerts/comedians that play on campus.

    • Monday Night Froetteur

      I’d think plenty of universities would too embarrassed to participate in an open bid for athletes

      How could a system or market compensation possibly be more embarrassing than the status quo? If your principle were true, it would apply to bidding up coaches’ salaries, and universities haven’t been ashamed at all to engage in that practice.

      • Q

        I think it’s different because we would have teams of employees playing each other rather than teams of students. Some more academically inclined places might balk at that.

  9. John Denver is full of shit...

    Best sentence of 2014 by anyone.

    Anyone who starts arguments with “Speaking as a parent” wants you to turn off your brain so they can feelingsball you.

    • Normaltown Mike

      It’s a funny point, but this guy obviously has no idea how universities operate. College administrators act like surrogate parents in a million ways, all of which infantilize all of the students, not just the jocks.

      • Union Jack

        So do Politicians, religious clergy, teachers, community leaders, neighborhood watch volunteers, media opinion commentators, gossipy next door neighbors, and the list goes on and on …

    • AlphaDawg

      The same can be said with the ‘You’re racist if you disagree’.

      • Bulldog Joe

        Beginning next year, it will be ‘You’re sexist if you disagree’.

        Hopefully, many will have already learned this lesson and will not be deterred.

  10. PTC DAWG

    I wish the players who think it is SO BAD would quit, do something else, anything else. Make rooms for the ones who can play ball and appreciate the opportunity the Scholarship affords them.

    • I understand you feel that way. What I want to know is why.

    • Union Jack

      So would you still watch if all of these ball players decided to quit? Remember the NFL tried to sell its product with replacement players back in the 80′s. They never made that mistake again.

    • mp

      Why do they have to think that it is “SO BAD”? Why can’t they think that it could be “A LITTLE BETTER”? Take it or leave it you say…really, those are the only two options? Way to add to the debate.

      • Because that’s the way it works in this country. People are fed this Horatio Alger ideal of how anyone can start off at the bottom and achieve the American dream, but if what they need to achieve it will require even a tiny sacrifice from their wealthy bosses, then forget it.

        • Normaltown Mike

          Right. Because the son of a hippy woman and a father he never knew with an exotic name from Hawaii could never be elected POTUS.

          America is evil.

          • Sorry, that one’s my bad. I knew that the election of Barack Obama had forever ended racism in this country, but I didn’t know it had forever ended poverty and income inequality as well. Thanks.

  11. AusDawg85

    I am increasingly depressed and disgusted with all of this…can’t see how it’s going to end well.

    Next you’ll tell me that pro golfers really have fund drugs that help them, have been using them, and have been in bed with the mob to fix tournaments.

    • I am increasingly depressed and disgusted with all of this…can’t see how it’s going to end well.

      I feel the same way. The only difference is that my disgust began in the midst of conference realignment fever.

      • Senator, I absolutely agree with you. The last round of conference realignment was terrible for college sports. I love TAMU in the SEC, but the end of the UT/TAMU rivalry isn’t good for college sports. I don’t like Mizzou in the SEC and probably never will as long as they remain in the East.

        • And that’s where things are with me now. College athletics have been so relentlessly monetized over the last decade that the amateurism standard is little more than an anachronism now (although it serves a useful purpose for the NCAA and the schools). And the NCAA knows that. It’s just that the people running college athletics are too chickenshit to do anything substantive about it.

      • Normaltown Mike

        “conference realignment fever”

        Look out Jackson town!

      • The only difference is that my disgust began in the midst of conference realignment fever.

        And this is why there is so little sympathy for the NCAA and the conferences. They monetized the system to the point where it is now and only have themselves to blame for the current predicament they face after the crazy cash-grab run they went on.

  12. Union Jack

    Stewart just pointing out the hypocrisy … also for the record he is a former NCAA athlete.

    http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/bwjj0i/sports-disparity

    • Normaltown Mike

      Not quite, John Liebowitz played soccer at William and Mary. John Stewart is a fictitious character that alleged comedian John Liebowitz plays, because taking an Anglo name is so hilarious.

      Regardless, Shabazz Napier could’ve gone pro three years ago if he so desired. Further, if Napier can’t qualify for the Pell Grant then he should be smart enough to invest in a tupperware bowl to stock up on food from the cafeteria so that he won’t starve to death.

  13. W Cobb Dawg

    The players work hard and deserve compensation. And that compensation should reflect the value of their services. Since cfb generates billions of dollars in revenue and creates many thousands of jobs for others, the players should get and eventually will get a portion. To suggest this isn’t a business is extremely naive.

  14. BWD

    As long as the players aren’t getting overtly paid, I think most fans can still cling to the idea that they share some common bond with the guys on the field in that they all chose (and presumably love) UGA, or whatever school it is, for reasons other than money. Once it becomes completely about the money for everyone other than the fan, that bond (real or imagined) is gone, and all you have left is mediocre football with a loose affiliation with a college. I don’t see how that model lasts. Not that I blame the players. As people have pointed out, it’s been about the money for quite some time with the administrators and suits, who want the benefits of a professional sport while maintaining the charade of amateurism. That can’t work, and the players getting paid is just the next step in the process that started long ago (maybe when UGA and Oklahoma won their anti-trust suits against the NCAA). I think it’s a psychological step, however, that many fans of college football just can’t bear to take.

  15. Ron

    You’re missing point – again. The medium has its rules so either accept the rules or partner with another medium. Netflix didn’t for ask Blockbuster’s permission to enter the DVD market. Colleges don’t pay you and you can’t receive payments from other entities while playing college athletics. Quit trying to change the rules of the medium and go start your own.

    • Colleges don’t pay you and you can’t receive payments from other entities while playing college athletics. Quit trying to change the rules of the medium…

      LOL. The NCAA and schools are being sued for antitrust violations and if the plaintiffs win it means the NCAA and schools broke the law. But the players shouldn’t try to change the rules of the medium.

    • Emerging from Allie

      Well, the rules of the medium known as the United States allow for legal means such as lawsuits and collective bargaining to address grievances. So … Quit trying to change the rules.

  16. Bulldog Joe

    That’s one more article explaining why placing your alums on the NCAA and conference enforcement committees are more important than landing that five-star recruit.

  17. Patrick

    I hate the Cook rant.
    He wants the kids paid, but he claims it’s because every 18-year gets compensated for that amount of work. BS. As mentioned above, apprentices, interns, kids on music or golf or academic scholarship. Many of those work just as hard.
    He really wants to the kids paid because other people are making so much money. If the TV contracts and AD/admin/coach salaries had stayed frozen for the last 20 years, he would have ZERO complaints about how hard the kids are working.

    I get the difference between Todd Gurley and the music scholarship kid. Todd could go make $500 signing autographs, and the music kid couldn’t.
    Todd can’t go wait tables for fear of boosters tipping $200 on a $5 burger, no such fear for the music kid.
    Todd might break his neck playing football, the music kid probably won’t.
    Todd can’t transfer to another school and play football, the music kid probably can.
    These are some real issues, and I agree that they need to be addressed.

    But to me, these are ENTIRELY DIFFERENT issues from “everybody’s getting rich except these kids. We need to pay them.” I can’t buy that argument. It’s no different than “everybody’s getting rich at this law firm except these interns. We need to pay them.”

    It’s a messed up system that needs some fixes.
    The Northwestern kids seem to be making constructive steps to deal with it.
    But Brian Cook isn’t.

    • Emerging from Allie

      It’s totally different than your law firm analogy. In this case, everybody is getting rich because of the “interns.” They are the show. There are no billion-dollar TV contracts without them. Or did I miss the news of the huge deal ESPN signed to air Division III games with all those “true” student-athletes?

      • Patrick

        I’ll file that under the “Gurley could make $500 signing autographs” section.
        Which conceded is a very sticky point.

        But I don’t think that’s a reason for payment to come directly from schools.
        I’m sure some lawyers have gotten rich because of the work of their interns. There are no million-dollar settlements without them. But I’m not going to force them to raise the intern pay scale.

        • Monday Night Froetteur

          If every law firm got together and agreed to cap at $0 the amount paid to “interns,” then you’d have an appropriate analogy. That doesn’t (and legally can’t) happen.

    • Monday Night Froetteur

      I don’t think you understood his rant. The real issue is, Todd’s market value is being stolen by those people getting rich. The other examples you list are entirely distinguishable for that fact alone.

      • Patrick

        Todd’s market value is his ability to sell autographs. That’s not being stolen, it’s being nullified. As I’ve stated, that needs to be addressed.

        If you think Todd needs to be able to sell his autograph AND get a cut from the school or the TV deal, then our opinions differ.

        • 1996 Dog

          I think the argument is that Todd should have the right, like everyone else, to have schools compete against each other for his services without an arbitrary cap limiting what he can get.

  18. Nashvegasdawg

    How is a player receiving a stipend any different than a TA receiving a stpend? (Coke if anyone has already asked this question).

  19. Biggus Rickus

    I don’t see how you can implement a payment system for football players without paying every other athlete the same stipend. Which means that the small percentage of programs who generate massive profits will able to afford it, and the rest won’t. It just seems unworkable. Players should definitely be allowed to trade on their fame, however, even if it would mean boosters paying ridiculous amounts of money for “memorabilia” from them.