Seth Emerson entitles this piece “Georgia players, Richt, disagree on autograph issue”, but if you read it carefully, they’re really just squabbling over peripheral stuff.
Here’s how the players interviewed break down:
- Drew and Dawson say the existing rule is all that’s currently relevant.
- Garrison Smith thinks players should be paid.
- Jordan Jenkins thinks players should be paid in general, but he doesn’t think autographs should cost money.
Jenkins is articulate on the subject.
“It’s sort of like you’re getting screwed off the system because you’re making everybody else money,” Jenkins said. “The NCAA, I don’t care what they say, it’s based on your likeness, that’s money they’re making off our image and stuff like that. … It’s sort of like you’re earning other people money for four years and you don’t get a little bit of it. I know some people say it goes to the scholarship, but I feel like athletes earn the university so much more money than that scholarship.”
But Richt expressed a reservation, shared by many, that it would lead to larger problems.
“I just don’t know how it could all work where it didn’t become so hard to manage,” Richt said. “If you just said, OK everybody can sell their stuff, you can just imagine yourself what that might turn into and how problematic it could become.”
Richt did agree that athletes should get some money, reiterating his support for “at least” a $2,000 cost-of-attendance stipend, which the SEC has supported.
“And we were ready to go further than that,” Richt said. “But we think that’s the best shot of getting more money into the hands of our players.” [Emphasis added.]
In other words, even Richt supports the concept that student-athletes should receive compensation. His disagreement is over the method of distribution.
Face it, folks, amateurism is dead. Not a single person interviewed by Emerson has a thing to say in support of the NCAA’s guiding principle as justification for not paying players.
Granted, this is a small sample size. But I’ll bet you’d find it representative if you asked a lot more of their D-1 peers.