Two very telling quotes from Jon Solomon’s piece about Jeffrey Kessler:
“I think if we go down the road of paying football and men’s basketball players, as the agents and their agents, the trial lawyers, would like us to do … we’re going to be put in a situation as a series of enterprises that we’re going to be forced to make that exact decision, that the non-revenue sports are going to get eliminated,” Texas athletic director Steve Patterson said at a recent forum sponsored by the Big 12.
“You’re going to see schools ask to go from 16 sports, which is the minimum to compete, down to 12. I’ve already sat in meetings where those kind of conversations have happened, and that’s bad for the country. That’s bad for Olympic sports. That’s bad for opportunities for people to get out of lesser environments, get to a university and have a better outcome in life.”
Kessler brushes aside such doomsday warnings. He focuses instead on the mixed message he says universities apply while attempting to educate students and be commercial enterprises without paying players.
“What is there about an educational mission for the SEC schools to spend $25 million this year on digital television studios on their campuses for the SEC Network?” Kessler said. “It’s a very nice business investment, but does that have anything to do with educating their students? Does that have anything to do with the student-athlete experience? It has to do with one thing: selling cable television programs. That’s OK, but acknowledge the reality.
“The people who say, ‘Gee, I wish we went back to no television schedule and no sponsors and none of this and just focus on the educational mission,’ that’s a perfectly worthy viewpoint and small schools, like the Ivy League, do that. That’s a perfectly legitimate choice. Maybe in some sense it’s a better world. But the world we live in, there are more than 150 schools who have made a very different choice, and those schools have decided to engage as businesses to generate huge amounts of revenues, and what they need to do is treat fairly the people who helped them generate those revenues.”
Which do you think a trial court will find more convincing?