“Don’t let calculus get in the way.”

If you caught Meet The Press yesterday, you were privileged to see Mark Emmert live down to expectations.   Emmert continues to pretend there is some concrete difference between the $2,000 stipend the he would like to see the big conferences hand out and pay for play in general.  Charlie Pierce shreds that distinction into tiny pieces.

The star of the proceedings was Mark Emmert, who makes six figures as the head of the NCAA and who works in a $35 million headquarters in Indianapolis, all of which was paid for primarily by the proceeds of unpaid labor. But, I paraphrase.

EMMERT: Well, the gap needs to be closed around the context of being a student at a university. So if we provide the N.C.A.A. members, universities and colleges, provide a young man or a young woman with all the expenses they have, legitimate expenses as a student athlete, including this so-called stipend, right, that extra amount of money.

The “stipend” is the last redoubt of the buffet-grazers who rake in the cash. Unfortunately, once you institute a “stipend” for athletes, that’s the ballgame. You are doing pay-for-play no matter what you choose to call it. And you won’t be able to argue that a $200 a month stipend is all right, but a $2000 stipend is wrong. Not if you want to make sense, anyway.

Like pregnancy, there is no “little bit” to payment.  There is no slippery slope here.  Instead, you simply step off a cliff.

But I can’t say that Emmert was the individual most detached from reality on the show.  That honor would go to Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who evidently believes that athletic directors can sit down and reason with the likes of Jimmy Sexton to usher in a better age for all men.

Universities need to tie bonus pay of their coaches and athletics directors more prominently to their college athletes’ academic performance, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said today on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“The incentive structures for coaches, the incentive structures for ADs have to be changed so much more of their compensation is based not upon wins or losses but around academic performance and graduation,” Duncan said. “And university presidents and boards have been very complacent and soft in this issue, and you have to really look at the leadership of universities here.”

The university presidents and boards have followed the wishes of their constituents to the letter.  That’s how you wind up with circumstances such as Bruce Pearl being hired at Auburn at $2 million+/year four months in advance of a show cause order being vacated.

Nobody’s paying Nick Saban ungodly sums of money to boost academic performance and graduation rates a decimal point beyond what it takes to keep his players eligible and his program out of APR limbo.  And barring government action – fortunately, that wasn’t a shoe Duncan was prepared to drop yesterday – that ain’t gonna change.  At least not until the day when ESPN is paying big bucks for the broadcast rights to psychology class.


Filed under Political Wankery, The NCAA

51 responses to ““Don’t let calculus get in the way.”

  1. AthensHomerDawg

    “The Labor Market

    for College Coaches

    There is no question we are overpaid.

    – Lute Olsen, basketball coach at the University of Arizona

    You don’t lose your job as a coach because you don’t meet educational objectives. You lose your job because you don’t win.

    – Floyd Keith, executive director of the Black Coaches Association

    Fifty thousand people don’t come to watch an English class.

    – Paul “Bear” Bryant, football coach at the University of Alabama

    [T]he determination of a coach’s value to a school has fundamentally defied normal business analysis … the bottom line right now is that there is no real way to objectively look at [coach’s salaries and compensation].”

    – Rick Horrow, sports consultant

    How much do you think MLB managers would be paid if every major league team was exempt from taxes, was supported by million-dollar operating subsidies from both a university and a state budget and the players’ salaries were constrained by law to be no higher that $40,000 annually …

    – Andrew Zimbalist, sports economist

    Two important and obvious influences are the market structure of the NCAA and coaching productivity (e.g., winning percentage). As you already know, the NCAA cartel generates significant monopsonistic and monopolistic rents. Some of these rents are captured by the coaches. Also, as in any sport, coaches who win more games usually earn more money than those who do not. But other factors must be considered as well, notably winner-take-all labor markets, risk aversion, the winner’s curse, ratcheting, and old boy networks.”

    The things a senior finance major chooses to share with his Dad are so much different now than when I was a student.😉 Anyway I think Auburn got a deal for Pearle at 2 million. We have Fox(Felton 2.0) for 1.7 million. Bobo may haz a crayon. Fox has a HP 12C Financial Calculator.

  2. Hogbody Spradlin

    Right Arne. And the lion shall lie down with the lamb.

  3. Scorpio Jones, III

    You guys keep putting the body slam on po ole Bruce Pearl.

    If he and wins a national championship while cheating like a rat in heat, then gets cancer, history indicates he will become a national hero at some point in the future.

  4. 69Dawg

    This whole subject makes me want to scream. The NCAA is just an enabler for the for the schools. No one will address the elephant in the room. Grown men are taking advantage of younger men, who have no other way of pursuing their careers than to attend a college, to make obscene amounts of money for entities that hold a special privilege within our society. How can we think the people who are making the money will seriously change the system. Human nature being basically looking out for yourself, this is not going to end easily.

    • Ant123

      69Dawg You say “who have no other way of pursuing their careers than to attend a college”.
      Really? They can’t get a side job and continue to train until the NFL wants to hire them?

      • You know anyone who’s successfully done that?

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          Maurice Clarett tried to after his college eligibility got stripped post his litigation attempt to force the NFL to allow him to be draft eligible before his 3rd year, but we all saw how well that worked out for him.

        • Senator, I agree generally with your stance on this subject, but I don’t see why this is the colleges’ problem to solve.

          • Because the NCAA is taking advantage of the way the pros are limiting the market.

            • College football and hoops were in place well before any professional leagues were established, so I just don’t think this is the universities’ problem to fix. If the NCAA were in cahoots with the NFL and NBA, it would then be the colleges’ problem.

              • Seriously? There wasn’t a college playoff back then, either. Or a twelve-game regular season. Or football conference championship games. Or…

                • Senator, I want a sustem that keeps college sports viable without it becoming pro sports lite. I believe we’re on the cusp of killing college sports.

                  • And you’re worried that’s the players’ fault?

                    We’ve had a decade of conferences blowing up and rearranging in pursuit of the mighty TV dollar. Conferences can’t shuck traditions aside fast enough if it means more money. Playoff expansion is here and it’s going to grow – again, for more money.

                    Brother, I hate to tell you, but that train’s already done left the station. I’m having a harder and harder time justifying screwing the players in the name of amateurism. That seems to be the only tradition the CFB powers-that-be still fervently embrace. Wonder why that is…

                    • Damn… You said it all!

                    • Senator, I agree with you regarding the cash grab by the conferences, the NCAA, and the schools and all of the hypocrisy. We will HATE it the first time someone eggs the QB’s house because the dimwit says the player deserved it because he paid the guy through the ticket price or the contribution. Booing becomes the norm when the home team doesn’t perform to expectations because, by God, they’re pros and should never lose. I think there is a reasonable way to handle this:
                      1) Allow players to trade on their likeness and collect royalties based on sales of items with their name or face on it. Todd gets paid for the #3 jersey with Gurley II across the back, but he doesn’t receive a royalty for the jersey sale with no name.
                      2) Allow athletes to get jobs that don’t interfere with academic & athletic commitments – I know some people will complain about a recruit that receives $20,000 per year to wash cars a couple of hours per week and lift weights the rest of the “work” time. If some booster is that stupid to be separated from his money like that, then he has more money than sense. If the university is involved, it becomes a major violation.
                      2) Full disclosure of all outside income whether from jobs, endorsements, or other income – Anything done outside the system is dealt with harshly (i.e., one strike and you are out and the university is penalized as well). Failure to remit taxes due is also handled drastically against the athlete.
                      3) The athlete cannot use university trademarked items in any outside appearance/endorsement – once again, the university cannot make the arrangements on behalf of the athlete
                      4) Enable the athlete to obtain outside representation to manage those affairs – If the athlete is out of compliance, the representative also loses his/her certification to represent a college athlete.
                      5) Full-cost scholarships paid by the university including a true cost-of-living stipend – all of which is tax-free
                      6) Go to 5 years of eligibility – no more redshirting and give players a real chance to complete the degree
                      7) Eliminate roster management practices by requiring the 5-year commitment up front
                      8) Set up a fund for future medical hardships due to the long-term effect of injuries
                      I think these reforms handle the root cause while also keeping the model viable. What am I missing?

        • Anthony

          I don’t know any that tried.

        • Eric Swann? Aside from him, crickets.

  5. Scorpio Jones, III

    *If he wins

  6. If the D of Ed is going after for-profit colleges, I guarantee the Feds led by the President and his Chicago-based secretary of education are ready to go after the NFP designation of university athletic departments. We either regulate you into irrelevance or give up the not-for-profit tax status.

  7. SC DAWG

    You guys are incredible. These kids are getting FREE tuition, room and board. How many of you graduated college with student loans up to your neck? It’s quid pro quo and a darn good one, for both sides.

    • Well stated – I have said that those who have a problem with the current system should look to the suits on Park Avenue at the NFL headquarters. The colleges shouldn’t have to pay the players, but the NCAA shouldn’t regulate player activities off the field from an economic standpoint.

      • Ant123

        I agree with you to a point. But the reality is we would all get angry when history repeats itself and some Auburn (or whatever school you want to name) Is getting paid $30,000 (or whatever amount you want to insert)
        to show up (or not) and lift weights, throw or kick, a ball around and study a play book. That is the reason those rules exist. The best solution I have heard is for the school to pay for the entire cost of that athlete to attend school which, any of us who have been to college, know it is more than books, tuition and a dorm room. That is not paying an athlete as an employee. But it is enough to cover all of the legitimate expenses of college life at that school.

        • Good points all. The question is whether we want all of this out in the open or under the table. Right now, it’s all in the shadows for those willing to take the risk of bending/breaking the rules.

    • DawgPhan

      They arent getting FREE anything. They are earning it. The only question is if they are worth more than they are currently EARNING.

      You know like when you work a job and do really well and you talk to the boss during your review about a raise. Except if you are a football player your boss just says no I can’t pay you any more and if you think about going somewhere else I get to decide where you can go.

      • They also don’t pay any taxes on those earnings. They sign an agreement to comply with the rules of the NCAA regarding transferring. It’s similar to signing an agreement that you won’t go work for a competitor without permission from your current employer. If you work for Coca-Cola and your agreement says you can’t work for PepsiCo until after 2 years from leaving, it’s the same thing for Florida to say you can’t go play for Georgia without a cooling off period. If we want college sports to become NFL Lite, go ahead but there will be a lot of people who are dyed-in-the-wool fans who will walk away.

    • LMAO. Not even Emmert’s making that argument.

      • SC Dawg

        You can laugh your ass off all you want, but he’s 100% correct. These kids go to school for FREE, they have FREE books, FREE room, FREE food and a stipend check. Much better than graduating with a mountain of student loans that will take 20 years to pay off. I suspect you had no loans when you graduated. It’s quid pro quo and a very good one for both sides.

  8. Dawg in Austin

    Not surprisingly, but sadly, that MTP was a joke. Producers drum up something topical for viewers and then half ass the prep and guest selection. Where was Bilas? Reggie Love, God bless him, looked like he just got off a red eye flight and was attached to an electric zapper held by Emmert. Duncan was there for what exactly? The whole scene made Emmert look almost reasonably informed about the subject. What a waste of air time.

  9. wnc dawg

    I am no NCAA apologist, but I don’t see how the stipend crosses the Rubicon. My brother got an academic scholly that gave him tuition, room, board, a monthly stipend check that was significant, & even 2 round trip plane tickets home each year. His notification letter & such described it as a full cost of attendance award. Is that not the same line of thinking as the $2k stipend for athletes?

    Personally, I think players should be permitted to make money off their likeness, autographs, etc. But to people in academia who are familiar with schollies like my brother’s, they probably view the stipend as an elegant way to get everyone to back off so they can keep cashing huge checks & continue to avoid paying labor.

    • Your brother wasn’t told by the NCAA that it was necessary for him to remain an amateur in order to keep his scholly, was he?

      • wnc dawg

        Fair point.

        I’m more pointing to the fact that they are more likely viewing extending full cost awards to athletes as justifiable bc other students are treated similarly.

        But, no, he had no other restrictions placed on him other than staying in good standing. He most likely could’ve earned lots of $ on the side if he so chose.

      • SC Dawg

        Small price to pay for a free education. These players other option is to go to college like every one else and borrow the money or don’t go at all. College is a privilege, not a right.

        • Small price to pay for a free education.

          Easy for you to say. How much has anyone offered you for your autograph?

        • “These players other option is to go to college like every one else” No it’s not, because a lot of them academically wouldn’t be at these colleges. And we can’t give them the time or support to catch up thanks to NCAA rules about “progress towards a degree”. Schools bring them in simply because they can play a sport well, make sure they can take classes that allow them to maintain eligibility for 4 years, and then don’t care what happens after that. These guys making millions off their efforts and athletic talents are the ones getting the privilege of exploiting another, not given a right to do so under the guise of generously allowing them an education.

          • SC Dawg

            If only you knew what Mark Richt and these coaches do for these boys. Your ignorance is shocking.

  10. South FL Dawg

    Alright I don’t know if anybody is still reading but here is my take. I had no problem with players getting their scholarship and calling it a day, nor with the tax exemption of athletic associations. Key word is “had.” Over the years the athletic budgets have multiplied several times over, with the salaries for football and basketball coaches – as well as administrators – rocketing to numbers I never imagined. The people in those jobs have left kids hanging that had believed they were going to play for Coach X, they have ended rivalries (still trying to end more of them) and have torn conferences apart. And if it isn’t a profit motive that’s driving their actions then pigs can fly. Meanwhile, the universities themselves (thanks to whom there are student athletes and a tax exemption) are constantly cutting teaching salaries despite raising tuition.

    So what do I want to see? First thing I’ll ask for is treat the athletic associations like any business and do away with the tax exemption; if they want a tax deduction they can donate to the university the same as any taxpayer. Hopefully they would want to do that; if not, then pay the tax man. If they still have millions left to pay coaches and administrators – and the big schools will – then lucky them that get the big bucks.

    Second, change the wording in athletic scholarship papers so that the athletes retain the right to make money if they become marketable while still in college. This is only going to impact football and men’s basketball players that are high profile enough. Most importantly, letting the athletes market themselves won’t cost the schools one cent since the money will come from third parties. This is probably what is going to happen anyway from the cases making their way through the courts today so either way, it’s going to happen and it’s throwing out good money to keep fighting it. And finally, let players transfer without losing eligibility at least if there is a coaching change.

    Insofar as the NFL and NBA force kids to play college ball, the colleges would still benefit from those players for 1-3 years (if not, they would not be admitted). It’s still a win for college sports. But if B1G commish Delany wants to insist Michigan will step down from D1, I would just say, “show me.”

    • Class of '98

      How does the NFL and NBA “force” kids to play college ball? There is no rule that says you have to play in college first.

      Basketball players can go play in Europe, for a paycheck, and football players can play in semi-pro leagues or simply not play at all before going pro, as Clowney was supposedly considering.

      I think many of you forget that the equity is in the “name brand” of the school. We show up at Sanford every Saturday because of the “G” on the helmet, not because of the name on the back of the jersey.

      • I think many of you forget that the equity is in the “name brand” of the school.

        No doubt that explains how TAMU was able to sell sharing a table with Johnny Football at $20K a clip. A backup outside linebacker was originally scheduled to attend, but had a lab that conflicted.

        Why is it so hard for some of you to acknowledge it’s a two-way street?

        • Ant

          So your saying if Johnny Football was at Presbyterian then Presbyterian could have sold that table for $20,000.00. I don’t agree with that logic. Class of 98 has it right.

          • Is that what I’m saying? Funny, but it doesn’t sound like it.

            • Ant

              It you seemed to be saying that TAMU was able to sell that table for 20k
              because Johhny Football was sitting at that table. So I followed suit.
              Well if that is not what you were saying. What were you saying?

              • Both parties contributed to the value of the table. Manziel wouldn’t go to a school like Presbyterian and Presbyterian doesn’t have the kind of fan base that would be willing to shell out that kind of jack. But TAMU couldn’t get a tenth that amount from boosters to sit with a walk on defensive back.

                Both parties contributed value, but only one got compensated for it. Hence my “two-way street” comment.

                • Ant

                  Only one got compensated if you value a scholarship, a chance to show your talents on a national stage, and the instant credibility of playing at a place like TAMU not to mention the degree that the athlete has an opportunity to earn at zero.

                  • What does sitting at a table raising money for the school have to do with any of that? He’d get the same compensation if he’d stayed home instead, right?

                    What you seem to be saying is that as part of the deal, not only does Manziel have to forego making money off his likeness, but he gets to cooperate in allowing the school to make money off his likeness. This strikes you as fair?

                    • Ant

                      The school and athletic department has spent and does spend millions of dollars annually to pay for that table Johnny where is sitting. The same table that will in all likely hood insure Johnny is a first round pick in the draft. Would he have that opportunity to do that at Presbyterian or most any other smaller school. No he would not. So he chose to go to the big stage. As for “the same money if he would have stayed home” comment, would he be getting ready to sign a multimillion dollar contract if he would have stayed home? Of course not. The school gave him an opportunity and he made the most of it and now he is going to be rewarded for his efforts. It seems fair to me.
                      As for making money off his likeness. His likeness wasn’t worth a dime before he got to TMAU. To say his likeness would be worth anything with out that big name high dollar school is absurd. Performing well on a stage like TAMU is what brings value to the number 2 Jersey. But the truth is next year someone else will be wearing that number 2 jersey and someone else a few years later and several have worn it before. I would bet if you look back on EA Sports NCAA Football 2009 there was a number 2 back then also…and it had nothing to do with Johnny….. football.

                    • You seem to be arguing that it’s exposure that makes a kid a first-rounder. There are plenty of examples otherwise.

                      Forget about the jersey for a second. “Johnny Manziel” doesn’t belong to the school. Why should TAMU be the only party to profit off his name?

                      It’s great that it seems fair to you. I suspect your concept of fairness isn’t going to carry the day in court when all is said and done.

                    • Ant

                      ” I suspect your concept of fairness isn’t going to carry the day in court when all is said and done.” Federal courts are not often fair in this day in time so it would not surprise me.

  11. Class of '98

    “unpaid labor”

    I guess four years of tuition, room, board and meals has no value.

    When you proponents of paying players want to have a serious, adult conversation about this, get back to me. I won’t hold my breath.