Pay for play: a thought experiment

After yesterday’s spirited discussion about COA, I’ve got something to ask the crowd ready to burn their college football fan cards over money paid to college football… oops, paid to college football players.  Check out this quote from Todd Gurley:

“You’re the one who brought up what-ifs,” he says while going over his abbreviated career. “I try not to focus on that, but I can’t help it sometimes. We were so close to winning championships. I missed 10 games. What if I had gotten to play in all of those games? We’ll never know, and we can’t go back and fix it. So now I’m focused on making sure I can max things out at the next level.”

So here’s another what-if for you.  What if, in a shocking burst of common sense, the NCAA had thrown in the towel in the O’Bannon litigation and agreed to let student-athletes market their names, likenesses and images without that affecting their eligibility?  And what if last December, instead of Mark Richt announcing that Todd was going to enter the NFL draft, Gurley held a press conference to announce that he was coming back for his senior season because he felt he owed it to his teammates and the fans and could afford to do so after signing several lucrative endorsement deals?  Would you be excited, or would you walk away from Georgia football because of Gurley’s bank account?

Bonus quasi-rhetorical question:  we know for a certainty that at least two of Georgia’s best players over the last decade (Gurley and AJ Green) were paid because of their football prowess.  If paying players is such an anathema, are you still following the program?

85 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

85 responses to “Pay for play: a thought experiment

  1. Aladawg

    Following it and appreciating that some of these really needy kids have a little spending money to enjoy their college experience like I did! But, the NCAA is not that thoughtful!

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  2. ASEF

    Counter-premise: How much fun would this off-season be if Chubb was staging a hold-out? Or if Chubb had gone somewhere else because Gurley had consumed too much of our salary cap last year?

    You’re the one who keeps saying the sport can’t be a little pregnant. If Kessler wins, that’s the “free market” model he’s litigated in other sports. This is why I asked the question in the prior thread. What does a “free market” CFB really look like? No one knows. But I suspect they will imitate what the pro leagues have done simply because it looks like the safest route legally.

    Universities with adjuncts on food stamps teaching classes. Universities with running backs making six figures. Hot damn, can’t wait.

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    • Fair enough to ask those questions.

      The problem with your analogy to pro sports is that college sports aren’t organized the same way. There isn’t a structural monolith like the NFL or MLB. So unless the conferences are suddenly going to cease doing business, the reaction at the college level, assuming Kessler wins, won’t be similar.

      As for your last paragraph, the free market is a bitch. If you’re unhappy about the disparity in compensation, tell America to quit giving a shit about organized sports.

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      • ASEF

        I regretted the last two sentences the moment I hit post. They are a separate issue, as you noted.

        The free market doesn’t care that CFB isn’t a monolith. In fact, I think it will use those disparities and divides as leverage at every turn. And from a pure business standpoint, it should. So yes, it won’t be similar. It could easily be much worse. But we see hold-outs and salary caps in the pro leagues. Why would a professionalized CFB be immune? Because Kessler romanticizes college sports?

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        • I’m not saying what CFB would be immune from. I’m just saying that the P5 conferences don’t act in lockstep on a lot of issues and it’s foolish to assume that player compensation would be an exception to that.

          BTW, you’ve sidetracked the debate here. Does players making money off endorsements offend you, too?

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          • ASEF

            Endorsement deals for players? I don’t mind someone who has captured the imagination of a fan base or even the country making cash off it. I think watching rival fan bases try to crowd-fund the recruitment of players would be an interesting exercise. And I think the ink on the agreement would be still be wet when Mercedes announces a partnership with Saban, brought to you by (insert sponsor here), to make sure every 5-star recruit gets free use of of a Mercedes during their stay in Tuscaloosa. But it’s not going to end there, is it?

            My larger point was that the “pay for play” people objections that I hear to tend to fall into scenarios closer to the ones I’m asking about than the ones you’re asking about.

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            • So players getting paid isn’t a problem per se. It’s just players getting paid by schools that is… or getting paid too much. 😉

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            • AusDawg85

              Saban (and Richt and nearly every other head coach) already has such a deal with sports apparel companies, so you’re right…as soon as the loophole is invented for transportation, the Mercedes deal is already drafted waiting to be signed.

              The problem is that the horse with the huge money bags has already left the barn and any notion of “amateurism” or “it’s about the kids, education, etc.” is out the door. To not allow kids to own their marketing rights in a contract they neither can understand nor negotiate is wrong. To have them become professional athletes on behalf of a sponsoring college is equally wrong in that it’s not longer our romantic version of CFB. (Not so funny side note…history will show UGA involved in many of the circumstances that changed CFB forever, from Herschel/USFL, UGA/OK lawsuit, Sanford Stadium expansion, Green/Gurley, etc….some legacy to put in B-M hallways!)

              To your question, Senator…like you, I’ll hang on until I don’t. Already happened with college basketball years ago. Didn’t even pay attention to March Madness due to complete lack of interest, not any type of personal protest. It’s just no longer the game I grew up with. I tried to follow the Dawgs season, but it was a stretch.

              No way Gurley stays a 4th year making thousands when the NFL pays millions…NO WAY!!! We’ll be as close to “one and done” as the NFL draft permits. When that day happens, I’ll be a casual fan at best…no donations, no season tickets, no travel. DVR and watch after a round of golf will be good enough, thank you.

              So Mark Richt better damn win his MNC fast! Time’s running out for entirely different reasons than most suspect.

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              • The problem is that the horse with the huge money bags has already left the barn and any notion of “amateurism” or “it’s about the kids, education, etc.” is out the door. To not allow kids to own their marketing rights in a contract they neither can understand nor negotiate is wrong.

                While I understand the sensibilities of those that want to preserve the status quo, this is the exact reason I kind of just roll my eyes at the folks around here that go all “WON’T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF CHILDREN” and opine that players getting theirs is going to bring about the end times of college football. As you stated, that horse done left the barn and it wasn’t the players that commercialized the sport or shook every penny out of every couch in the joint. I’ve said this all along – the colleges decided to run this entity like a very-much for-profit business in every sense of the word with the exception of paying labor. Unfortunately for them, the cost of admission for running a for-profit business is you gotta pay the labor.

                It also equally amuses me that some folks around here think that if pay for play or whatever becomes a real thing, that the schools are suddenly just going to say “Fuck it, we’re going D-3”. Sure – that’ll happen to some of the schools that should have never tried to join big-boy football, but I suspect most schools in the power conferences are going to keep on doing what they’ve always been doing. Don’t let their financial statements fool you. Any accountant worth his weight can make a non-profit’s earnings be at break-even / loss even though they’re raking in cash hand over fist.

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          • ASEF

            We agree that the conferences would not be in lockstep. I think I hear you saying that reality would result in less contention and chaos for the college game. I think it would be contention and chaos multiplier.

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    • 3rdandGrantham

      “Universities with adjuncts on food stamps teaching classes. Universities with running backs making six figures. Hot damn, can’t wait.”

      Since when was capitalism supposed to be totally fair or equal for all? Whether right for a healthy society or not, sports is of paramount importance in this country, which is why you have baseball players making 30 mil yearly, NFL QB’s making 20 mil, and top NBA players making 25 mil yearly. And that doesn’t include any endorsement deals or other revenue streams.

      A blue collar laborer in brutally hot Phoenix might pull down 25k a year while a Manhattan trader might make 5 mil in 24 hours with simply the push of the button, all from a comfy corner office on the 58th floor overlooking Central Park. As for your adjunct professor analogy, ironically enough one of my best friends and his wife were both former adjuncts here at UVA. They now are full time professors making a combined 300k+ yearly income along with other appreciable benefits like free healthcare, and an overall lifestyle that most in the private sector could only dream of. So let’s please not portray college professors as some sort of sad lot waiting to use their EBT card at checkout at a local Dollar General store.

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      • ASEF

        As I said to the Senator, it was a regrettable throw-away line that turned the direction of the original post. Very poor writing skills on my part.

        I think the way we treat teachers in this country flat out sucks. But it’s not an issue here.

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        • FWIW, I agree with your sentiment re: teachers.

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        • 3rdandGrantham

          No worries, and as a son of a recently retired teacher of 30+ years and a brother of special education teacher, I totally agree with you. What makes teachers so unbelievably special is that the vast majority of them do it for the sheer love of the truly noble cause of teaching. With that said, they should be afforded the opportunity to make a greater income, like in certain European countries where really good teachers are truly supported.

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          • Debby Balcer

            My daughter would love to do away with all the paperwork and beauracracies. Increasing her pay would be nice too but she teaches special ed because it is a calling. If she did not love her students it would not be worth it.

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          • Hackerdog

            The problem with comparing a teacher’s salary to Matt Ryan’s salary is the number of employees.

            A better picture of priorities is to look at how much we spend on pro football in total versus how much we spend on education in total. And the fact is, we spend many times more on education than we do on football. If the Falcons employed thousands of players, they would each make teacher money. Instead, they only employ a few dozen. So each player gets much more.

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    • Monday Night Froetteur

      Universities with adjuncts on food stamps teaching classes. Universities with football coaches making eight figures and worthless administrative rentiers making six figures.

      FTFY so it describes the status quo.

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  3. Just Chuck (The Other One)

    If we’re voting, put me down in the “following” column. Isn’t the Cost of Attendance payment supposed to fix this problem? What a can of worms that’s turning out to be.

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  4. PatinDC

    I agree that paying players a stipend or something of that nature is a good idea. My concern is that that powers that be cannot control themselves and it blows up quickly, see this year.

    IMHO there either needs to be an even payment, either by conference or across the land, or a “salary cap” situation like in the GASP NFL. I see no way around it.

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  5. 3rdandGrantham

    I don’t think such folks would walk away from the program; they would only be even more miserable on the inside and would find other things to bitch about. As I’ve mentioned previously, I honestly believe that a lot of this comes down to a simple case of age discrimination, in which, in their eyes, an immature 19 or 20 year old kid shouldn’t be placed any higher on a pedestal than they already are.

    For whatever reason, the thought of college aged people making solid if not quite substantial money drives some people out of their minds. Perhaps its due to sheer jealously and/or a lack of personal success, or due to the fact that they personally had to grind it out well into their 20’s or 30’s before finally getting ahead, thus some 19 year old given a fast track to wealth drives them utterly batty. Such a mindset rears its ugly head here all the time, like one poster here last week who suggested that giving a 19 year old 100k would quickly be blown on wild parties that would make Nevin Shapiro blush (hence we should never let such a thing happen).

    Most will never admit the their true feelings as to why they are against pay for play, thus they will use other well-worn excuses as a guise in effort to save face and present themselves as some sort of paragon of virtue, who is bravely standing up for the noble endearment of true collegiate athletics.

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    • Scorpio Jones, III

      Third, if what you are saying in the first paragraph is that the constant “discussion” of money dilutes the emotional attraction of the game that has kept a large, well-educated, fairly affluent group of people on the edges of their seats for almost 100 years, then I absolutely agree.

      Would I not break into tears if a rich Todd Gurley returned a kick off for a touchdown to win the national championship game? Of fucking course I would.

      The simple truth, for me, is that I don’t care if we pay them or not, as long as they keep wearing the uniform, playing the games, bringing the chills and tears.

      If your allegiance to your college football team is going to be influenced by money, in any shape, manner or form, then you need to find a new sport.

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      • …if what you are saying in the first paragraph is that the constant “discussion” of money dilutes the emotional attraction of the game that has kept a large, well-educated, fairly affluent group of people on the edges of their seats for almost 100 years, then I absolutely agree.

        Yep.

        But we’ve been going down that road for at least a couple of decades. The only difference now is that players want their piece of a much larger pie.

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        • Scorpio Jones, III

          Does this mean the punters are gonna get better?

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          • So then the only big question coming from Scorps and 3&G’s well reasoned arguments is how to maintain some kind of competitive balance within a organization much bigger and less centralized than the NFL. This puts a lot on the shoulders of the NCAA and those well paid University Administrators to figure something out.

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            • Scorpio Jones, III

              “This puts a lot on the shoulders of the NCAA and those well paid University Administrators to figure something out.”

              Dear Jesus in a red Corvette. We are doomed.

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              • No worries Scorp, have you seen the amount of effort Admins put into not having to think through the hard stuff? They would much rather throw it over the wall to lawyers and hope everything works out.

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    • RBM

      Amen 3rdandGrantham.

      And just to expand on the topic of age discrimination…I see age discrimination in the workplace all the time where older workers give younger workers a harder time than they give their generational cohorts. Then the same bozos turn around and pout when they believe they’re being discriminated against b/c of their age.

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      • 3rdandGrantham

        Absolutely, and I mentioned this just the other day. I have witnessed countless cases where the mid 40’s career guy, who’s basically in a continual state of drift just skirting by without making a meaningful impact, is suddenly outraged by the upstart, ambitious, type A personality type in his mid 20’s who was just recruited in for a 6 figure sum. From that instant, jealousy if not outright hostility towards him/her takes over.

        Of course, that’s the easy way out, which is why its such a common reaction. The correct yet hard approach would be to take a long, hard look in the mirror, admit their own failings or underachievements, and make the necessary changes.

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        • ASEF

          If the mid-20s person was just recruited in at six figures, how have they made an impact to earn that? I imagine that scenario would also apply to your stalwart, 2 year starter offensive guard who has to watch an Isiah Crowell walk in the door with a deal 5 times better than said guards.

          Some people do resent these athletes for the reason you mention, but many are just sad to see the same sorts of nonsense that we turn to sports to escape invading our escapes.

          I get it, it’s not an escape for the individuals involved. It’s their lives and their opportunities. I just dread the Wild West era that’s coming before all parties figure out how to compromise. And that starts with the NCAA and the universities that direct it.

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          • 3rdandGrantham

            Just to address your first paragraph only, such a person might be a natural sales rock star, in which his first 2-3 years out of school, he/she makes a considerable splash and wins a number of substantial deals through hard work, creativity, perseverance, and sheer passion. As often is the case, word then quickly spreads about the deal, and often the other competitors (who lost out on the deal) take notice. Especially ones who feel their product of service is equal or better than the winning provider. They then will approach the sales executive through some various channel to inquire about their openness to jump ship, in which some sort of carrot is dangled in front of him (more money, better title, leadership position, etc.)

            Meanwhile, the mid career, state of drift type continues to skirt by while not taking initiative to improve himself, all while making excuses for being out smarted and out hustled by younger, hungrier competitors. Yet they become infuriated when someone 15 years their junior suddenly is not only making more than them, but is also placed in a higher corporate capacity as well. I’ve seen such scenarios countless times over the years, thus, in my view, experience is vastly overrated in most verticals. Top run companies like Google harbor similar views, thus they hire for talent/results first, with experience taking a distant backseat.

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            • ASEF

              No argument that the dynamic exists and that correlations between experience and productivity are domain specific. It’s not a universal value.

              Bit to MNF’s point last thread. sports $$$ is more about the future than the past. How do you do that in CFB?

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  6. The players being taken care of doesn’t offend me. Professionalizing the players is different than making sure they have what they need. The problem for me is the mutual exploitation. College sports is not intended to be a profit driven animal. It’s supposed to augment the college experience for those who can play and those students who want to watch. Everything else is superfluous and unneccesary and ought to be dismantled. I will never endorse a system where colleges and players are getting together and neither gives a damn about the education which should be primary, but is now altogether irrelevant.
    In short, you might be able to sell pictures of your daughter in her bathing suit over the Internet legally. You might even be forced to consider sharing some of the money with the talent because she’s earned it. In truth though, you should stick a shotgun in your mouth and pull the trigger because you’re a sick fuck. Bringing a functional retard with socialization problems onto a college campus so you can both make money is not too different. It’s still prostitution if of a slightly different nature.
    I say burn it all down and start playing with the kids that can get into your school. Have some fucking integrity. We could use the example. A recognition that money is not THE ONLY THING that matters in this world would be a nice change from the norm.
    Yes I know this won’t happen and yes at some point I may walk away. We’ll see.

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    • Russ

      Derek, I agree with your sentiments. Though I still love Saturday afternoons in the fall, I’m not sure how much longer my 50+ year love affair with college football will last.

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      • Cousin Eddie

        This at 40+. If it wasn’t for sharing the time with my son I would be further down that road now. I have felt my overall feeling, no longer call it a love, for the sport fade dramatically the last few years. I used to be able to quote stats and score for most of the P5 teams almost every weekend now I couldn’t tell you who was in the top 10 at the end of the season.

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    • DawgFlan

      Admit athletes that can “cut it” academically and then take care of them would be great, but simple statements are not easy to execute. We have seen kids with borderline academics coming in to UGA make the most of the opportunity and resources and go on to get a degree and be successful outside of the NFL. Isn’t giving kids from disadvantaged backgrounds a chance a noble mission of the athletics program as having STAR students go on to the NFL? If we could separate the kids that really want to make the most of the chance (and who also have NFL dreams) from the kids that could care less about school and see college simply as NFL training, I would only want the former. That’s why I hate the 1 & done in basketball. I want to see kids make progress toward a degree and get that degree, even if they have to come back after the NFL to finish it. (An underappreciatted point of pride with the program under Richt.)

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      • It’s a noble idea and I agree in principle. You hit the nail on your head with the comment about simple statements not being easy to execute, though. All you have to do is look over at UNC or Syracuse or UGA in the Jan Kemp days to see how corrupted the academic mission of a school can become when chasing these athletic $’s. The reality is that many of these kids have literally ZERO business being in college aside from their athletic talents. They are completely unprepared to do college level work, but we make admissions exemptions and prop them up with bullshit, keep them eligible, majors because they can run faster or jump higher than the rest of the general student body. The fact that the academic mission has become so corrupted at many of our universities is why I have zero sympathy for the argument made by those on here that a scholarship is sufficient compensation. The schools and coaches have little to no interest in graduating players. Their only goal in life is to keep them eligible and I don’t believe that truly serves any higher academic purpose other than to keep them employed. If their literally is no attempt to provide a REAL education, then just cut out the middle man and allow these guys to profit off their own likenesses.

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        • 3rdandGrantham

          Indeed. Most schools offer utterly worthless majors like Social Sciences, General Studies, Communications, and the like, which seemingly are only in place for certain athletes. These pointless degrees serve no benefit in the real world, and that’s not taking into account that quite a high % never even graduate to begin with.

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          • ASEF

            While I have never taken a communications class and hence have no real take on it as a discipline, I do find it amusing that the most important job/life skill we will ever employ gets no formal attention K-12.

            Language arts is one long procession of grammar worksheets and that crucial ability to figure out how the guy or gal who wrote the multiple choice question is trying to trick you into picking C when D is really the right answer. That’s an end-of-grade testing issue (policy), not a slam on teachers.

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          • GaskillDawg

            I disagree as to your view that the liberal arts are “worthless” and exist only to provide a degree path for athletes. The skills that liberal arts education develop are very useful. Also, liberal arts majors have been around before Rutgers and Princeton kicked off in 1869.

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            • I saw firsthand when I was in Athens (I’ve stated this point here before) that a large contingent of the football team tended to be clustered in the consumer economics, family planning, and rec & leisure studies majors. The optimist in me figures there are some discernible academic / life skills to be garnered from those majors, but the cynic / realist in me suspects an athletic department adviser pushed them towards those majors because they have a reputation as being easy.

              Obviously, all that can be caveat-ed with the fact that there are guys that make legitimate use of their scholarships, but those success stories are more than offset by the guys that see their education being de-emphasized by the university (as commenter RBM points out below) just to keep them on the field of play. That, to me, is why the “scholarship is plenty of compensation” stance is an intellectually dishonest place to make your stand. To me, it’s not equitable at all to suggest that the athletes are the only ones that should be taking the education seriously (i.e their compensation) while at the same time not holding the schools / athletic depts accountable for fostering an environment that doesn’t treat education as the top priority if we’re going to call these guys students first, athletes second.

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  7. What fresh hell is this?

    What if, in a shocking burst of common sense, the NCAA had thrown in the towel in the O’Bannon litigation and agreed to let student-athletes market their names, likenesses and images without that affecting their eligibility?”

    Then I would fear the unintended consequences… the inevitable camera-grabbing, facetime seeking, sackdance, sharpie marker in the endzone, Randy Moss-mooning, Ochocinco-like bullshit we see in the pros. And I realize that there are rules against that behavior in the college game, but those rules also exist in the NFL.

    And since we’re now OK with recruiting a player as he’s being pulled from his momma’s teet, this behavior can extend backward into HS and Junior High with players seeking to make a name for themselves. You think signing day ceremonies are overblown bullshit now….

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    • Some would behave like obnoxious kids yes. That enough reason to oppose the consequences of a successful O’Bannon litigation? Can’t tell if you are tongue and cheek Fresh Hell…

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      • What fresh hell is this?

        Actually I don’t oppose the O’Bannon suit and agree that there are kids out there that could act with class and dignity, but I do fear the unintended consequences as we potentially move from COA to large sponsorship contracts and the player “marketing” that would ensue. There are few enough players at the pro level that handle the limelight and instant cash well. Now we can throw it at kids who don’t even have a driver’s license.

        I fear it will ruin the game I love.

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        • ….there are kids out there that could act with class and dignity…

          Honest question – why do you care at all? Do you worry about the boorish behavior afforded Wall Street types because they make money? Did you stop keeping your money in banks because some of those folks go nuts with hookers and drugs?

          What does it matter to you how an individual expresses him / herself and what does making money have to do with that?

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          • What fresh hell is this?

            Why do I care? Because I don’t spend 10 hrs on a Saturday watching Wall Street, and another 3 or so hrs on Thursday evenings, but I hate to even go there because your Wall St analogy is so bad. I can’t name a single Wall St “personality”, can you? What I’m talking about is a college, or worse yet, a high school player becoming a complete assclown because he thinks the attention will help secure a Nike or Under Armour endorsement deal.

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          • Dog in Fla

            “Wall Street types”

            Looters steal billions of dollars, destroy businesses, leave thousands homeless

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    • Monday Night Froetteur

      Then I would fear the unintended consequences… the inevitable camera-grabbing, facetime seeking, sackdance, sharpie marker in the endzone, Randy Moss-mooning, Ochocinco-like bullshit we see in the pros.

      A different phrase for that is “expressing individuality/emotion.” I love it, I think the biggest reason people under 40 are avoiding baseball and hockey is the lack of individual expression. And obviously I am not alone, as the NFL and NBA have that in droves and are both flourishing.

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  8. PansyTheDawg

    I thought JCDawg83 had an interesting proposal – the NFL should simply allow 18 year olds to sign directly with the NFL.

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    • Why would the NFL voluntarily give up a no-cost development and marketing vehicle like CFB?

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      • PTC DAWG

        They won’t, until some stud player forces the issue and wins his case. But that may take an owner getting out of line and agreeing to sign him to help bolster the case. BIG RISK ALL AROUND.

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        • If you’re referring to suing the NFL to take a player earlier than 3 years out of high school, that’s already been tried. Maurice Clarett lost.

          As far as an owner “getting out of line”, that’s pure fantasy on your part.

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          • PTC DAWG

            Agreed, that last part is what it will take. Odds are way out there for it to happen, but if someone had a contract it would be interesting.

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      • PansyTheDawg

        I mean, I’ve only thought about that a little bit since yesterday. I don’t know if, why, or how the NFL would do that, but I think it’s an interesting idea that might begin to approach an ideal situation for CFB. If it would be ideal, even if that ideal situation seems unlikely or difficult to attain, it could serve to develop a starting point in improving the current state of CFB in that there would now be a goal to work towards.

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        • I understand why it would be good for college football. But I have no clue why NFL owners, who are some of the greediest folks on the planet, would voluntarily give up what in essence is a free minor league system. What’s their incentive?

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    • It’s an interesting proposal but would never happen without a change to the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the NFLPA. I’ve always said if Jerry Jones, Arthur Blank, and the NFL owners could make money at minor/developmental league football, they would have done it years ago. It’s a losing proposition, so there’s no reason for the owners or current players to do a darn thing about it.

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      • RBM

        Exactly. The NBA is in almost the same situation. They have a very mature, developed minor league system in place in college basketball. And it’s free. Why would they want to give that up?

        The NBA has a development league but the only reason they created it was to appease the players’ association. It’s very telling that they’ve spent very little money on it. It’s still the same crummy little league it was when they started it 14 years ago. It’s used more as a place to house guys that can’t make teams’ 15 man rosters in case they’re needed due to injuries.

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        • I didn’t even know the NBA’s developmental league still existed.

          I would imagine MLB today would kill for the developmental leagues that the NFL and NBA have. The parent clubs subsidize the payrolls of their farm system and they are money losers. The difference is that the minor league system was put into place decades before college baseball was a sport. If MLB could go to the colleges and tell them we’ll give you the wooden bats if you’ll copy the football and basketball model, you may see minor league baseball literally disappear overnight.

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  9. PTC DAWG

    marketing yourself is another story, I have no issues with that at all.

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  10. Skeptic Dawg

    I am completely against paying players above and beyond what they current receive. I am not concerned about players that come from low income families having money to party downtown or buy a steak. The opportunity to better yourself via a free college education with the possibility of landing in the NFL should be reward enough. I am not sure if I will stop watching once players are paid. Once kids are on the payroll college sports then becomes a performace based job. When the player rises above the “G”, then my passion will fade. I root for the university, the “G”, and the Red and Black, not individual players.

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    • RBM

      Yeah, god forbid it should be a performance based job…like every other job associated with this money making machine (coaches, support staff, administrators, etc).

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    • Once kids are on the payroll college sports then becomes a performace based job.

      There is no difference between your concern and the current set-up with year to year renewable scholarships. Coaches can already elect to not renew the scholarship of players that aren’t performing and players have no recourse.

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    • Monday Night Froetteur

      I root for the university, the “G”, and the Red and Black, not individual players.

      Do you pay equal attention to the nonrevenue sports that lack the high profile stars that the football team features? After all, they’re wearing the G just as prominently, and fit the university’s academic profile more closely.

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      • ASEF

        I watch high school football and basketball and college football and basketball. I don’t watch amateur volleyball or baseball. I don’t watch professional football, basketball, or baseball. I suspect most people’s habits are equally idiosyncratic but with differing results.

        I dislike professional sports because the scale of the money makes everyone risk-averse and the experience about as spontaneous as a Las Vegas casino or a Disney hotel. You can almost see the people behind the green curtains pushing the buttons.

        As a viewer, I start with the sport. I personally choose amateur sports because it has a feel of spontaneity and enough bursts of the unexpected to make the viewing experience rewarding. I like watching the dime-a-dozen offensive guard slug it out with the can’t miss NFL defensive end for a couple of hours. However, some people choose professional sports because they prefer the higher levels of athleticism and execution and the best-against-best nature of a professional league.

        To each their own. But as college sports professionalize, I strongly suspect that the distinction between the Atlanta Falcons and the Georgia Bulldogs will diminish even more and at an ever-increasing rate. What I enjoy most about college sports will diminish.

        I understand the existing model is no longer tenable. I also think that antipathy towards the NCAA warps or even precludes discussions about what makes the college sport special and what might be preserved. Reformers aren’t interested in the discussion, and no one on the other side of the debate has a shred of credibility.

        So, we get one long lecture on fairness for the players when we are defining the problem and one long lecture on “life ain’t fair” when we talk about what comes next,

        I am not against NCAA reform. I just don’t find ways we have developed to discuss it very productive.

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    • Hackerdog

      I couldn’t agree more. People shouldn’t be allowed to do things that I think are unseemly. I’m not concerned about liberty. Screw everybody else.

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  11. I’d be very excited Senator if Gurley (or any upperclassmen) were to come back. I guess I’m in the camp where I don’t believe giving them free schooling is enough ‘reward’ for playing. We read so much about how some of these kids are scraping by with food, transportation, and sending money home to their families. Meanwhile the athletic departments (some anyway) are rolling in dough.

    I’m still for some type of “cap” that would fix the payment ceiling but it would be damn more than a measly $5k/year which is what the COA would bring them.

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    • RBM

      The point that is missed more often than not is that the education part of the experience is not emphasized at all. It is DE-emphasized. Players are guided into worthless majors and given little time to study and do homework. And their free time is often consumed by the pressures of studying the playbook and working out…just to keep up.

      The “yeah but they get free education” justification is a complete joke.

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  12. Lots of good points made on both sides of the pay for play opinion line. Well done GTP’ers. Good read and thanx. We don’t really know what kinda shape we’re in regarding this sport we all enjoy so much. Glad my kids got to enjoy what I did. Hopefully theirs will too.

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  13. Beakerdawg

    Just skimmed an article in Georgia Sportsman (May 2015) about College Bass tournaments where the “student-athletes” can win $2k, $5k, $25k, $50k, $500k, Ranger bass boats, sponsorships by Carhartt, Bass Pro Shops, etc….

    How is this possible? There is not a NCAA-type organization governing this activity. There are over 600 institutions that have teams competing.

    Remember these names – Byron Kenney and William Treadwell, of team UGA, won the 2014 Cabelas/Boat US bass championship in 2014 on Lake Pickwick in Alabama.

    Guess which conference was the first to hold a tournament:
    1995 – the Big 10…..

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  14. GaskillDawg

    While I respect the “players getting a cut of the pie will ruin the game I love by making it too commercial” comments, it seems to me that the ruination has already occurred. Notice the in game ads in Sanford Stadium?

    The issue is not whether college football resists being a business. It has been for quite a while. That commercialization has already created a big pot of money. The issue now is who gets distributions from that pot. Denying the players anything beyond tuition, books, room and board does not result in rebates to the fans. We are not competing with the players for the money. Instead, the money is going to executive salaries, or contractors to pay for stuff such as indoor waterfalls for weight rooms, and, at UGA, commissions that the reserve fund managers make off of deposits into the fund.

    The debate really is over whether Greg McGarity gets the money that would have gone to Gurley for the use of his likeness or whether Gurley gets it. McGarity isn’t rebating us, or CBS, or ESPN. Either his Wife spends it or Gurley does.

    That is really the debate, McGarity’s wife spending ti will not cause the college game to be any less of a business and any less commercialized.

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  15. 69Dawg

    Just a note, the NFL yesterday announced it was going to give up it’s not-for-profit status. Wow how the hell did they get it to begin with?

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  16. Cosmic Dawg

    One of the best ways to make this work is to simply treat the athletes exactly like every other student. They can play in an exhibition league in the summer. They can work PT at a car dealership in the summer. They can sign and sell whatever they like. Then, you are only rewarding those athletes that actually could have made more money going pro early. It’s a boldfaced farce that you’d pay football players any more or any less COA than other students on scholarship at your college.

    Count me as another who thinks the football team at UGA ought to be made of, you know, UGA students, not dudes we pay to wear the uniform.

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