This is about as angrily eloquent a rebuttal to the “whattaya mean student-athletes aren’t compensated?” line of thought as you’ll ever read.
Keep in mind there’s no famous football player involved. No booster. Not a whiff of an agent. No dad shopping his child to the highest bidder. No Saban-ish roster management (hell, Saban treats his kids in a similar spot a helluva lot better than Syracuse’s women’s basketball coach did). It’s merely a cautionary tale about one of those 400,000+ student-athletes the NCAA loves to remind us “will be going pro in something other than sports.” In other words, it’s the kind of thing that routinely goes on under the radar.
While there’s something profoundly un-American about telling someone they can’t market themselves, sadly, this part sounds like it fits right in with what we’re all about these days:
The reason why this happened is because they do not care. The bottom line is you are not a student-athlete as they love to profess to the world, you are an athlete-student, and you are there for one reason and one reason only. You can keep your grades up enough to remain eligible, but then again, that’s only so you can be able to play.
Just like most people, I roll my eyes when I read the over the top plantation talk and calls for college athletes to unionize or strike. I hope it never happens. But I’m not going to lie and claim I don’t understand why if it ever does.
10 responses to “Amateurism means never having to say you’re sorry.”
I thoroughly agree that they should be able to market themselves or at least get a cut of what the university gets. If you allowed so that they all got a small cut of endorsements and shoe deals, than the players with the power of number/popularity could go beyond that if they had the ability—for example, only AJ Green gets a cut of AJ Green’s UGA #8 jersey sales–what would be wrong with that?
I do understand the hold on player movement versus coaches. I don’t think we want to let them leave a program anytime they get yelled at by the coach, i.e., put the programs in competition with each other for players more than they already are.
It seems to me the next logical step, if a player suddenly had the right to revenue generated by his/her jersey’s sales, is for the players to secure business “agents” … And the agent’s job would be to find a way to maximize revenue for their player … Might seem a stretch but we never envisioned coaches lobbying for paying players 10 years ago either, did we?
These first two posts point to the “slippery slope”. I believe AJ Green should be able to own and market his “Image/Brand”, but that must be independent of his affiliation with UGA. But then the 2nd problem will loom larger as agents get involved, and begin to advise kids to pull themselves from the Coastal Carolina game for fear of injury and only play in the big, televised, draft-helping marquee games. What a mess that would be.
Perhaps the proposal to increase the stipend and set aside a “pension” fund for all student-athletes that can’t be tapped into until post-graduation (or a minimum number of years) is a better compromise. And even these ideas have the problem of how to allocate funds between BIG and little schools.
Maybe the best solution is to just get lax on oversight by the NCAA and let the best cheaters win…WAR EAGLE.
To me the best solution would be to allow all players to benefit in the income they generate but allow those benefits to be paid out after eligibility is exhausted or the player leaves school (turns pro).
How about just letting go of all the dumb ass rules that the NCAA has put in over the years that make zero sense. If I as an alumni want to give a player anything I should have the right and the player should have the right to take it. If you want to say you can’t help recruiting then OK but once they are ours we should be able to help them out. I forget who it was but UGA got a slapped on the wrist years ago because a player was given a ride home from New Orleans by a “booster” who just happened to be from his hometown. This and the damn bagel rule should convince any reasonable person that the NCAA is either absolutely corrupt or just the damn dumbest organization on the face of the earth.
The entire thing is a farce. The higher education system is rapidly running over the edge of a cliff, with costs skyrocketing and the quality of the education provided plummeting at the same time. People are leaving school saddled with mountains of debt and skills that leave them utterly unable to repay them. On top of this the universities do everything they can to force the few students who are in a position to actually make money for themselves to instead make it for the university for as long as possible. When they are no longer of any worth to the school they are tossed aside. I don’t see any means through which the current system can be tweaked or adjusted to redress a situation so out of balance, or even any feature of it sufficiently redeeming to bother.
It’s not running over a cliff at all–how many schools do you know of that are closing or filing for bankruptcy? If you want to tell me expenses are high or out of control, there may a discussion there. But there is no shortage of customers to pay the bill as it stands now.
Also, are we making that little mistake of connecting AD and general university finances again? What do high tuition and fees have to do with the topic at hand, exactly?
All of the replies suggest answers that just make the problem worse. While it is true that the schools have set things up to maximize the value they extract from these kids it does not follow that the solution is too spread the wealth. Allowing kids to profit from their playing days simply encourages kids to choose schools that will maximize that number; artificially and otherwise. Moreover while punishing schools for minor and innocent seeming violations, if they were not policed at all, saban would be offering recruits limo rides to class with escorts to boot. (all done by anonymous boosters without any actual knowledge of the school to be sure.)
The bottom line is that encouraging more and more incentives that have zero to do with the goals of a university will only lead to more and more exploitation even if it may end up being a two way street.
The answer is to realize that the system has gone too far. The colleges should quit serving as minor leagues for the pros and only admit kids that have legitimate shots at getting a real education and kids who see collegiate athletics as a valuable part of the process of getting a degree. Those of us who are alums will support the team and go to games even if we are playing with real live college students. While we may lose fans to Sunday football, that would probably be for the best.
College football does not rise and fall upon the caliber of the players. Talent is only relevant to the extent that the playing field is relatively level.
College football need not be and should not be NFL-lite. College football is great because of the pride we take in our schools and what the teams we put out there represent in us. Sadly, we are very quickly losing that connection.
Pie meet sky, I’m afraid, Derek. I do agree with your sentiment.