One man’s potential for corruption is another man’s hypocrisy.

Those of you who are firmly convinced that student-athletes who take part in revenue generating sports at major universities are fairly compensated for their efforts with a scholarship, tell me something.  If the NCAA’s amateurism protocols expired today, do you think those kids would receive greater compensation tomorrow in a free market setting?


Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

80 responses to “One man’s potential for corruption is another man’s hypocrisy.

  1. greeneggboy

    To some people, “the way it’s always been” is a very powerful argument.

    • DawgByte

      Stating that tag line as the sole reason for opposing increased “stipends” or other “pay for play” schemes is a typical liberal ploy designed to simplify the opponents case. It’s the standard Johnny Cochran smoke ‘n mirror approach… “If the glove don’t fit you must acquit.” It sells to the Low Information Types, but to those of us who can actually think for ourselves it doesn’t fly.

      As is the standard of progressivism, consequences are never calculated. In this particular case when Pandora’s box is finally opened those consequences will be revealed and college athletics will be ruined. Solving a problem by doubling down on the root cause is never a wise option.

      • Fake Juice

        Damn those progressives and their free markets! Occupy College Athletics!

      • Emerging from Allie

        “Your opinion differs from mine; ergo, you don’t think for yourself.” Yes, I can see you’re quite the logician.

        • DawgByte

          I’m sorry you don’t recognize the sheep mentality of liberalism… I realize indoctrination is hard to overcome.

          Now back to this topic. People are struggling to define both the “problem” and identify a solution – if one even exists. Part of the reason is emotions and money are involved. The voices of “fairness/equity” etc. have risen, because some believe colleges are making copious amounts of money off the backs of “forced labor”, which is a patently fallacious argument at best and at worst an outright lie, given the definitions of amateurism and student athlete. The “free market” line is another red herring in this debate. When it comes to money the fact is most college athletic departments operate in the red, so pay-for-play will wipe out the vast majority of institutions providing athletic scholarships and displace hundreds of thousands of athletes who will no longer be able to participate in their chosen sport. Is that what you people want??? Unintended consequences can be a bitch!

          Missing from the debate is the average person lack of understanding regarding the tangible monetary value of each athletic scholarship. If people really understood the privileges these athletes enjoy they’d change their tune. Never forget that nobody is holding a gun to these students head and forcing them to play football or basketball. Lastly, progressivism is marvelous until it has to be implemented – see Obamacare for further details. Unintended consequences can be a bitch!

          • Hackerdog

            I haven’t seen any demands that REQUIRE schools to pay players. Most of the proposals that I’ve seen would ALLOW schools to pay players. If Georgia State doesn’t have the capital to pay its football players, then it’s free to market itself as an option for kids who can’t command a salary from Alabama or UGA. The program doesn’t have to be shut down, it just becomes a little more removed from the lofty heights of SEC programs. What’s wrong with that?

            • DawgByte

              “I haven’t seen any demands that REQUIRE schools to pay players.”

              Perhaps that’s because you’re not reading enough blogs or sports sites. There’s no question that certain segments of the population are making such demands and have been for years.

              Your suggestion that only rich schools offer pay-for-play also has unintended consequences – i.e. “the rich get richer”, to coin a liberal placard. Once money becomes part of this solution, then boosters will exacerbate the situation and oversight will be impossible.

              Sometimes it helps to pull one’s head out of the sand and sniff the hypocrisy. By trying to help a very small segment of the student athlete population you’re inadvertently trampling on the rest. Hmmmm, again kind smells like Obamacare now doesn’t it Emerging from Allie?

              • Emerging from Allie

                I’d just like it entered into the record that this sentence was written in support of the NCAA position:

                “Sometimes it helps to pull one’s head out of the sand and sniff the hypocrisy.”

              • Hackerdog

                Sure. Some people want to require pay for play at all schools. Some people also want a minimum wage of $50k/year. They’re not going to get it. Schools like UGA can afford to pay players. Schools like Grambling can’t. Any realistic proposal to allow schools to pay players would also give some schools, and athletes, the option to opt out.

                And yes, SEC schools paying players while SWAC schools don’t would be widening the gap between the conferences. But only the naive would think it possible that the conferences could be equal.

                I don’t see how allowing Todd Gurley to be compensated for his skills equates to “trampling” on athletes who don’t have the same elite skill set. Brad Pitt gets paid millions of dollars to act in movies. Should I be offended that his revenue stream is denied to me? Hypocrisy, indeed.

          • Emerging from Allie

            Wow, I think you hit on every talking point there: the death of non-revenue sports, the value of the scholarship, “no one’s forcing them,” “I wish I had it so good in college…,” even some Obamacare mentions.

            That’s some pretty impressive, original stuff. Glad to see you’re such a free thinker, unlike all those sheep out there.

          • Dog in Fla

            Elisabeth Hasselbeck saw it and didn’t like it because it was like Bubba Gump shrimp


      • Mark

        Since when is it the liberals that are for a free market system? Conservatives and libertarians should be shouting from the roof tops about the free market system applying equally to all. The current system is all about “equal outcome” instead of “equal opportunity”. The current system IS liberalism at its finest.

        • greeneggboy

          The economics of major college sports have changed significantly in the last five years or so, with billions more generated. Prior to the revenue spikes we are currently seeing, college athletics were at least reasonably funded. So my point is, using the pre-2005 revenue marks (adjusted for inflation) as a baseline, finding a way to include college athletes in the distribution pool of the amounts in excess of the base shouldn’t be an impossible task. And not to sound like a liberal, but I just don’t see how a fair wage for the talent will corrupt and ruin the game.

          • Mark

            We are in agreement. I wouldn’t use the word “fair” wage so much as I would use the word “market” wage.

      • Dog in Fla

        Asking trick questions is another typical liberal ploy. They have a plethora of them in their arsenal as they prepare for the inevitable overthrow that will put the student-athletes in charge of Pandora’s box of gold

  2. Wow, given those numbers, a school with 80 scholarship players (using 80 bc most schools don’t actually carry 85 once the numbers shake out), would on average have a payroll of $14 million.

    When I first calculated that, I thought, “There’s no way that can possibly be right”. But when you figure the NFL salary cap is $133 million for 20 or so less players, yeah, maybe that sounds about right for a market value at the college level. You’d be getting 80 players for less than the cost of one Peyton Manning. Interesting.

  3. Gravidy

    So we’re only worried about “revenue generating sports now”? Wow, I thought our hearts were bleeding for all of the poor, abused student athletes.

    • Nice dodge of my question.

      • Gravidy

        I’m not dodging anything. My position has never changed. I’m just trying to keep track of the manifold other arguments.

        As a refresher, my position is this: Every athlete at Georgia who plays any sport other than football is making out like a bandit, and the great majority of the football players are as well. Of course, there are a number of football stars (probably a dozen or less in any given year) who are personally responsible for bringing more money to the university than they receive in scholarship compensation. The question is what (if anything) to do about those few players, and I honestly don’t have a good idea what the answer to that question ought to be, but I’m pretty sure a union ain’t it. And for the love of all that’s decent, please don’t take this as a defense of anything the NCAA has done. Ever.

        So, no, Senator. I’m not dodging a damn thing. Judging from the responses I’ve gotten on this blog lately, I’m one of the very few who will meet this issue head on.

        • Not really sure what a union has to do with free market compensation at this point. This is more about what happens should the antitrust suits kick down the amateurism door. Honestly, once that happens, the union probably turns into a necessary evil from the schools’ standpoint, much as is the case with the NFL and NBA.

          • Gravidy

            You are correct about the suits, of course. But if you think a union has nothing to do with compensation, well…let’s just say I’ve got a really sweet deal on a bridge.

            And speaking of dodging things, I noticed you only addressed one half of one sentence of my post. But in fairness to you, that’s one half of one sentence more than has been addressed by others lately.

        • DawgByte

          Gravidy – We’re members of the few who are on the right side of history regarding this issue. See my post above.

  4. Senator, you’re right about that. Players especially elite players would earn more in a free market setting, but I thought this whole conversation wasn’t about pay-for-play. I thought the issues were about working conditions – player safety/health care, access to educational/career opportunities, ability to profit from name/likeness, full-cost scholarships, elimination of the 1-year renewable scholarship and roster management, improved transfer rules, etc. I would hope that both sides could find common ground in which to find the right answers to these questions without going all the way to pay-for-play.

    • There are two separate tracks in play here. One is unionization. That one – at least presently – isn’t about money, but about control of student-athlete conditions.

      The other are the antitrust lawsuits. Those are definitely about the money.

      • And to be fair, to think that those two don’t dovetail at some point is naive. The unionization effort is very smart to not frame this as pay for play from a PR standpoint while they’re trying to get established. But if they are ultimately victorious and player union(s) become a thing at the college level, pay for play will enter the discussion VERY quickly, they won’t settle for full cost scholarships/stipends.

        That’s not a knock on the unionization effort or an argument for or against anything, just stating the inevitable.

        • A union can’t move in that direction until the NCAA ends the amateurism protocols.

          • Or until the protocols are ended for them in the antitrust suits. Then the two dovetail together.

            Yeah, that’s what I was trying to say. 😉

          • C.S.

            And remember, the union bargains with the (private) university. The union does not bargain with the NCAA. No union would ask for anything which would on its face violate the current amateurism restrictions (like direct payment), because that would render all the players ineligible. And the university couldn’t agree to it because then there would be sanctions.

            So yes, the union stuff is not about money – and can’t be about money – until the NCAA changes its rules.

      • Ok, let’s say the courts through O’Bannon, et al, force the NCAA and its member institutions to pay-for-play. What then? I assume the athletic associations quickly lose their not-for-profit tax status because they are no longer in the business of providing educational opportunities but are in the business of “professional sports.” I guarantee that the IRS is already planning for this and is ready to pounce as soon as the dust settles from the litigation. At that point, I would assume Title IX no longer applies to athletic associations, and they can then fund the sports they want to. Therefore, the number of student-athletes go down. I would have to assume that the IRS will quickly issue regulations that state that the value of athletic scholarships is now imputed taxable income to the student and will start going after the players and athletic associations for payroll taxes and income tax withholding. Eventually, some university presidents say this isn’t worth it and it isn’t part of the university’s academic mission and end the athletic program, move down in classification, or move to form another organization to replace the NCAA. These are just some of the unintended consequences that could happen as a result.

        There has to be a 3rd, 4th, or 5th way to handle this without pure pay-for-play or maintenance of the status quo.

  5. ChicagoDawg

    No, I don’t think the average compensation per student athlete would increase with the dissolution of collegiate athletics. I am guessing the semi-pro and/or minor league compensation would be blow on average and +95% of current SAs would be looking for a job outside of athletics and/or trying to figure out how to get themselves through college.

    • Again, that ain’t the question I’m asking. Nice try, though.

      • ChicagoDawg

        Yeah, but your question depends upon or results in what I describe happening if not immediately then certainly over time (within a generation).

        • Thanks, Delany!😉

          Seriously, CFB and CMBB are generating billions in revenue for the big schools and the NCAA. If the people running those sports can’t figure out how to salvage a business model with that much money flowing in, they’re even worse at business than I already think they are.

          • ChicagoDawg

            As long as Mens CBB and CFB can be separate but unequal (relative to Title IX and other sports) all bets are off. However, I wasn’t aware of the successful challenge to Title IX that removed equal consideration requirement for matters such as per diem, supplies, housing etc.,

            • Hackerdog

              Title IX is directed to students, not employees. If the players (all or some) are redefined to be employees, I don’t see how Title IX compliance will be necessary.

  6. Bulldawg165

    For some athletes, their comp would absolutely increase. For most athletes, they would be broke.

  7. Cousin Eddie

    If the deal ended, yes the new deal would be way more profitable for the athlete-student. I don’t think the numbers in that article would work or more likely be the numbers used but something on the order of ~$15-25/hr. for practice time (NCAA mandates X numbers hours a week per sport). This would give the athlete-student walking around money and not be so detrimental to the “not haves” of college sports. The NCAA has to be able to keep their thumbs on the athlete-student.

  8. Mg4life0331

    If the deal ended, some kids would profit and others would fall. I hate the NCAA as much as the next guy, but whatever gets worked out needs to prevent the other sports from falling to the wayside. I would hate it that less scholarships were given out because the football team cost too much. Is there a way to redistribute to those less fortunate without being too liberal and cast away as a commie bastard? I do not know the answer to this question.

  9. If I want to watch pro football I will just watch the Falcons.

  10. Hank

    So, according to “The report” referenced in the article (I read the article, I didn’t study it so I may have missed something) student athletes would be paid after the season based on what they accomplished and how their individual effort affected the team? Just how would the recruiting and signing process work? Manziel, a 3 star recruit if I’m not mistaken, would make 500+k the first year he played? Or, does everyone get a clause in their negotiated contract that says they get X if they win the heisman? Even the pro’s don’t get paid after the fact, unless it’s a new contract for the future. You get 4 years in college.
    They would have to evaluate talent on 16-18 year old kids and offer contracts that could pay more than the assistant coaches make. 5 stars can bust. 2 stars can shine. The whole premise of what that article states is ridiculous. I think the kids should get something, but when you start where do you draw the line. Watch what you are wishing for, the pretty face you are looking at might just have a personality that is not worth the effort.

    • DawgPhan

      basically that article is just using the NFLPA collective bargaining agreement formulas for paying players. Manziel is getting the most because he is considered a top 10 player. there is a formula for how much he should get.

    • I didn’t get the impression that the report was saying they should or shouldn’t get paid, it was just trying to quantify the market value today of players. Then people can take that data and extrapolate from there.

      Your points are valid that nobody knew Manziel was gonna be what he became back in high school. Maybe there’s a pay structure where everybody gets the same base amount no matter what. From there, bonuses could be earned for lots of things:
      – Team bonuses – Winning your conference, winning the national title, play in a certain tier of bowls (or make the playoffs), etc
      – Individual bonuses – being named 1st/2nd/3rd team all conference by an agreed group, being named all american, winning individual awards like Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, maybe even small bonuses for named finalists for those awards, etc.

      Then if players also gained the right to license their own name/images, that would be supplemental income not coming from the school, but would still be considered part of their market value. Obviously the Manziel’s of the world would end up much higher than the guy who is on the team but rides the bench, reflecting their market value, without having to create bidding wars at the high school level.

    • Emerging from Allie

      Well, we certainly can’t have any players compensated at a higher level than assistant coaches. I mean, think about all the images of John Jancek that CBS and ESPN use to promote their games. Or the replica Gary Crowton headsets that LSU can’t keep on the shelves.

      • Hank

        Nothing in what I said had anything to do with players making $ off of their images. IF schools go to paying players, and it’s not a set/universal amount, they would provide a contract. I don’t think any school would be dumb enough ( I know that is probably a leap) to sign contracts that would be renegotiated. If I’m signing Lorenzo Carter would I guarantee him 500k a year based on what he could do? If Nike wants to, great. Then, if he did something foolish, like say – emerge from an alley on a scooter, it would be on them and not the school. By the way, Janek has been coaching for years and based on his past performance and contacts he has a market value. He hasn’t been without work since I first heard his name and he is in the top 10% of wage earners. Hutson Mason set state records as a QB in high school. $750k for 5 years?

  11. Normaltown Mike

    Oh the humanity, the NCAA, slave driving 1%er that it is, has forbidden a competing free market alternative.

    America was once a free country where any upstart rooter tooter could start a football league, Be it the AFL, USFL, XFL, Arena League. No more. The Koch brothers have taken over America and won’t allow college players to refuse a scholarship and pursue their own hearts desire.

    If only Obama knew.

    • Maybe you should launch a campaign to have Congress and Obama abolish antitrust regulation. The Kochs would be down with that.

    • Emerging from Allie

      In case anyone missed Cosmic Dawg’s definitive reply yesterday to the “just start your own league” crowd …

      Hey great – you’re a free market guy, I am too.

      This is America, right? So how about we let the market work. Get rid of the monopoly exemption the government has granted the NFL, also their ability to set wage and price restrictions (illegal in other industries) like salary caps, and how about the millions in subsidies provided by municipalities? The subsidies from local govts are Constitutional, but they’re hardly “free market” – you think the Senator’s league should have to compete against all that?

      Also, the NCAA and colleges are effectively in collusion as well, because they are price fixing, too – as part of the government, they’ve collaborated with the NFL on this price-fixing scheme –creating an environment where the players must sell their services for the cost of an education or have a value-less skill, much like if the government outlawed electricians unless they went to work for the government for a three year unpaid apprenticeship.

      So tell you what, give us a free market where young football players are free to exploit their talents like the rest of us, and business are competing for their labor like the rest of us, and if nobody wants their labor but colleges, then we can tell them to stfu and be happy for the opportunity to play for Grand Ole U. Until then, this “America” you’re referencing exists only in your

      • Emerging from Allie

        … mind. (Sorry, last word cut off.)

      • Normaltown Mike

        The NFL doesn’t have a monopoly exemption. Or haven’t you heard of the USFL, World League, XFL & Arena League?

        The salary cap rules are negotiated with the workers’ union (or haven’t you heard of the NFLPA?) through collective bargaining rules (as governed by NLRB).

        The free market exists for young football players. They can hire on with any outfit they want. Save the NFL where the NFLPA (in congress with the owners) has agreed to exclude otherwise qualified individuals.

        I don’t like the NFL rule and believe the Clarett case was wrongly decided. Claiming that college players are denied the right to work (outside of the NFL) is simply false.

        • Emerging from Allie

          The NFL most certainly does have an antitrust exemption. It’s what allows the teams to negotiate their TV deals collectively. But, yes, the USFL was able to sue the NFL (successfully!) In antitrust court. Hope they didn’t spend the $3 all in one place. Clearly a level playing field exists for a startup league to compete with the NFL.

          So there’s no restriction on earnings for elite HS football players … except for the complete restriction by the primary employer in their field of specialty. Got it.

          • Normaltown Mike

            “Get rid of the monopoly exemption the government has granted the NFL”

            “The NFL most certainly does have an antitrust exemption”

            I know words and letters seem like arbitrary doodles, but they actually have meaning. If you can’t distinguish your own statements, there is no point in enlightening you.

            “So there’s no restriction on earnings for elite HS football players”

            none, except for the union made rule.

            ” … except for the complete restriction by the primary employer in their field of specialty”

            Why do you hate the NFLPA union?

            “Got it”


            • Emerging from Allie

              I’m all ears … No snark, please explain to me the difference between a “monopoly exemption” and an antitrust exemption. Because I’ve frankly never heard of the former (those were Cosmic Dawg’s words).

              • Normaltown Mike

                monopoly exemption would mean the NFL controls entrants to the market. They don’t do this (e.g. XFL was started up in 2K, NFL couldn’t prevent this). The NFL is not exempt from monopoly rules on professional football.

                The antitrust exemption goes to the profit sharing agreement between horizontal competitors and is limited (I believe) to media revenue. Specifically, the NFL won the right to share broadcast revenue among teams. Thus, even if TV ad revenue sux for Tampa and rules for Dallas & NY, all teams share the ad $$ evenly. The alternative would be that certain teams get awesome $$ and spend it and others suck (which happens in MLB). Also, I don’t believe teams share $$ made for stadium seating, seat licenses, hot dogs, etc. and I’m unsure about apparel (and don’t want to bother looking). The reason they were granted the media antitrust exemption (briefly) is that they argued that they sell competition and that sharing $$ equally benefits the competitiveness of the product and thus it is not collusion by owners to share this $$ but a means to guarantee a competitive product.

                • Emerging from Allie


                  I would, however, point out that as Pyrrhic as the USFL’s victory was, the jury did rule that the NFL is a “duly adjudicated illegal monopoly.” But in its award of $1 in damages (trebled), it basically said the legal equivalent of “tough titties.”

  12. Mark

    This is one of those “no brainer” arguments Senator. People worried about the “end of college sports” don’t understand business. There’s no way the NCAA will let go of its cash cow. What will happen is that they will learn how to continue to make money and pay the athletes. My guess is that you are right about the run to congress. The first step will be to get an antitrust exemption. I bet they get it too, but with some caveats to protect the politician’s goat.

    • Mark, I understand business, but I’m not for a pure pay-for-play model. I’m also not for the status quo. I think there are multiple other options available to minimize the impact on the college sports model.

      In this political environment, do you really think Congress is going to grant the antitrust exemption given the toxic perception of the NCAA right now? I can’t see that happening.

      • Mark

        With your understanding of business, do you really think that the NCAA will kill the goose that laid the golden egg? The sport will survive even if it goes to a free market system. That was my point.

        Yes, I do think congress will grant some sort of anti-trust exemption just as they did with baseball. However, I also think they will provide themselves cover to do so by putting some serious change requirements on the NCAA. They have to be careful though because of Title IX issues and how that constituency will respond.

        • You’re right – the system is going to adapt, but who is going to pay for the changes? Anyone who thinks the univerisities are just going to take these expenses and cover them is kidding themselves. Eventually, the buying public says, “Thanks, but no thanks” because the cost isn’t worth the benefit.

          • Mark

            The universities will adapt and so will the paying public. I would imagine that coaches’ salaries will go down initially. When the public stops paying, the schools will have to do something different. That is what is so good about the free market. An equilibrium will be reached. If one side overreaches, as what is happening now, then they will pay the consequences of that. The universities will have to compete, as they do now, for the consumers dollar. Forcing them to compete for their employees won’t change that fact one bit.

            • I agree. The invisible hand of the market will find equilibrium. I don’t see coaches’ salaries going down (maybe the rate of increase slows down). I’m a free market guy, but this situation is one that blows the cover off college sports.

              In a pure pay-for-play scenario, how do high school players get recruited especially given the restrictions on player evaluation, etc. by the NCAA? Is there a draft where the 120+ schools get to select from the draftable pool? Does Georgia State and its 0-12 record from last year get the 1st selection? Does Florida State get the last selection and in theory the 120th best player in the country? Is it a free-for-all where a 5-star goes to each school and gets their best offer? What’s the real value of a high school football/basketball player who hasn’t proven himself? Pay-for-play likely produces roster management in a way that would even make Nick Saban blush. There’s no way the schools keep the 85-scholarship limit in place. The number likely drops to 60-70 (the NFL active roster is 55 – another way you have NFL Lite). You think coaches have pressure now? Imagine an alumni base when they don’t get the results on the field for the money they kick into the program for the players signed. Does the walk-on program end because I guarantee that kid doesn’t want to pay the union dues? Once again, the law of unintended consequences will kick in and introduce issues that many won’t be able to see or anticipate.

              Caveat emptor.

              • Mark

                There are always unintended consequences. Create by destruction is what free marketers often preach. I value freedom of self determination more than I do college football. I would imagine that a union will be developed to negotiate with the schools many of the issues you bring up. Without a union, an anti-trust exemption will be needed for the NCAA to fully regulate it they way they see fit. Otherwise, they will have to forgo the dollars and go back to real amateurism.

  13. Ausdawg85

    The arguments about amateur athletes are getting horribly twisted by all sides. The NCAA and colleges are fooling no one with their blind grab for money while still claiming they only exist to benefit the welfare of the children. Profiting from the players while denying the player’s rights is an egregious practice. But having student athletes declared employees and thereby enabling them to enforce all associated rights is truly misguided. The proper solution would be for the NCAA et al to restore amateurism, which would also take some of the money out of the equation. And there is the rub…Pandora’s Box is open and sadly there is no going back. All sides are racing towards a cliff of no return. Has anyone even seen a proposed model that preserves college football and basketball going forward? Stipends and union rights are not where this ends, so who has a vision of the future?

    Wait, I know…the class action lawyers.

    • Ausdawg85

      Shoot. Should have read Serh’s opinion article in the previous post first and just said “ditto”.