You know the schools’ argument for amateurism is running on fumes when you get to this level of hairsplitting:
“The fact is we have student-athletes in all sorts of sports that, if you apply any form of value to their labor, you cannot pay football players and not pay gymnasts just because the football player has the blessing of an adoring public,” Bowlsby continued. “That’s the only difference. There are a lot of student athletes that are worthy.” [Emphasis added.]
Right. Bowlsby’s conference members can’t reward football players for participating in an economically attractive enterprise because they don’t work any harder than other student-athletes. However, that’s not stopping schools from demanding ESPN and Fox pay them more for their football players’ participation in an economically attractive enterprise because they don’t work any harder than other student-athletes. The only difference in those two cases is the NCAA’s artificial amateurism construct.
Put it this way.
“Revenues derived from college athletics is greater than the aggregate revenues of the NBA and the NHL,” said Marc Edelman, an associate professor at City University of New York who specializes in sports and antitrust law. He also noted that Alabama’s athletic revenues last year, which totaled $143 million, exceeded those of all 30 NHL teams and 25 of the 30 NBA teams.
Now let’s play a little with that quote from Bowlsby.
“The fact is we have organizations in all sorts of sports that, if you apply any form of value to their labor, you cannot pay Alabama and not pay an NHL team just because the football school has the blessing of an adoring public,” Bowlsby continued. “That’s the only difference. There are a lot of sports leagues that are worthy.”
As a former wrestler, how does that sound to you, Bob? If the management of a pro basketball team or pro hockey team works as hard as the Alabama athletic department, do you think Bowlsby would suggest that their revenues should be equalized, even though their economic popularity isn’t? Not on your life. So why should a football player be expected to relinquish his value in a way that Bowlsby would never consider doing?
You know, if the assholes running college athletics had to live by the same amateurism standard to which they seek to hold players, this whole charade would have been amicably settled a long time ago.