But what about athletes like Vince Young and Johnny Manziel, who create huge benefits and revenues for their universities, from fund-raising to ticket sales to sponsorships and licensing? Shouldn’t they at least be allowed to monetize their famous names? “No,” he says categorically. “I am not saying they did not benefit the university. But you have to understand that both parties benefit. The university is largely creating the value. The athletes are trading on the value the universities have created. No corporations are going to be lining up to pay them money out of high school. They also get a huge benefit on the college stage by having such assets as strength coaches, nutritionists, psychological support, tutors, mentors, media training. All of that costs money. It is too easy for those in the sports press to say, ‘You are manipulating and using these kids. You are giving them nothing.’ We are not giving them nothing.”
There are also practical problems with paying athletes, Patterson says. He suggests that if schools pay Young or Manziel, they are going to be sued by athletes on the soccer or basketball or rowing teams, looking for equal pay. “That would almost certainly happen,” he says. “And if you have a situation where the students are employees, you will have to either hugely increase revenues or cut costs and eliminate teams.”
It’s that he thinks saying it helps his cause.