Don’t they know how fortunate they are?

Spencer Hall’s cri de coeur about student-athlete compensation got a fair amount of buzz yesterday.  I doubt it’s gonna change many hearts and minds – I don’t think it was written with that in mind, honestly – but I don’t see how anyone who thinks the current state of affairs is all good can rebut this part of his argument:

… College students aren’t generally wealthy or in a wealth-building stage of life, sure, but there’s more than a little evidence that student-athletes don’t just tread water for four years, but instead are made significantly poorer by the experience of participating in amateur athletics.

When and if they do receive their degree, it might mean even less in terms of real future dollars than those received by their peers. The networking they might have done with others on campus is restricted by their class schedules and practice; the networking with wealthy alumni that might benefit them in business is explicitly forbidden in many instances, something Princeton’s own Michael Lewis points out in The Blind Side. The athlete receives no dividend or funds kept in trust for their well-above-average financial contributions to the university on graduation.

By rule they are separated from the income they make, and by system they are separated from the university education they were promised. They are neither amateurs nor professionals, and effectively moved as undeclared contraband through the United States tax system.

No man’s land.  And that doesn’t even touch on the physical risks they take suiting up for dear old Football U.

Those of you who are still intoxicated with the romance of the myth of amateurism, I’m almost jealous of you.  My cynicism makes it a little harder for me to love the sport with each year’s passing.

148 Comments

Filed under The NCAA

148 responses to “Don’t they know how fortunate they are?

  1. John Denver is full of shit...

    This guy will never agree with your plight senator and thus is a feeble effort on your part to convince him otherwise. However, I enjoy and agree with your posts of this nature and glad you are paving the road for like minded folks in dawg nation.

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  2. I hope this happens some day, but the NCAA isn’t going to allow it until either Kessler burns it down with his lawsuit or the top 64-80 programs tell the NCAA to go pound sand to form their own organization.

    I’m certainly not naive enough to believe the 2nd option is going to happen, so we’ll have to be content to wait for the suit to work its way through the system to give us a system built by judges and lawyers rather than one built with common sense. Is that cynical enough?

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  3. Harvey

    This never has seemed as complicated to me as everyone has made it out to be. These kids aren’t slaves. They have free will. They know the program and they have a choice to play football or not.
    Nobody cries about unpaid internships that offer no promise of actually landing a job in he real world.
    What makes them different from any other kid who GOES INTO DEBT to get their diploma only to have no promise of being gainfully employed the minute they step into the real rat race?

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    • Good point.

      Other than sacrificing their summers in the name of “voluntary” workouts, not being able to transfer to other schools freely or market their skills to third parties, as any other student can, risking serious injury… well, I can’t think of a damned thing that’s different.

      Like I said, I almost envy people with your mindset.

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      • Harvey

        Sorry, Senator. Doesn’t hold water with me. Again. They know all this going in. Don’t like it? Go get a student loan or get a scholly on other merits like everyone else.

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        • Again, I didn’t expect your mind to change.

          But I don’t think your argument is much of a rebuttal to the quote I posted, either.

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          • RocketDawg

            I have to admit I have a hard time feeling sorry for these guys. I get what the article is saying about how they are somewhat isolated from the rest of the student body etc, etc. but having the opportunity to graduate from college with a useful degree (if they so choose) and no debt. That sounds like a win/win in my book.I would also counter with the fact that they have the best of facilities and resources to ensure their academic success that aren’t available to other students

            As far as networking and such, you can’t tell me that being an ex player (even a reserve that didn’t play much) doesn’t hold some amount of weight when interviewing for a job after graduation. I know a few guys who played at UGA (well they were on the team at least) and all have said that the fact they were ex UGA players helped them to get their foot in the door for their first jobs out of school.

            I am not against COA stipends in order to give the players some pocket money and cover incidentals and I don’t agree with the fact that they can’t profit from their likeness while they are in school. In theory if a Todd Gurley wanted to have an autograph session and charge $25 each he should be able to do so. That being said all it takes is a corrupt booster to “buy” 1,000 autographs and you have an issue.

            I just get tired of the “poor mistreated player” meme that has been bandied about the past few years.

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            • … but having the opportunity to graduate from college with a useful degree (if they so choose)…

              “If they so choose”? Funny, at a lot of places, I didn’t think choice was part of the equation.

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              • RocketDawg

                I mean you can major in Finance or Business and have a useful degree or get into one of the “football majors” and stay eligible and have a somewhat less useful degree.

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              • PTC DAWG

                If a player chooses to sign with a school that has a history of culling players, so it goes.

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            • That being said all it takes is a corrupt booster to “buy” 1,000 autographs and you have an issue.

              Two questions:

              1 – If you’re all for a player profiting off his own name and likeness, why should this matter at all? Let the man sign until his hand bleeds if he damn well feels like it.

              2 – How is this any different than what boosters do behind closed doors right now when players can’t profit off their own name and likeness?

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              • RocketDawg

                The way it is different know is that if Bobby Lowder gives Cam Newton’s dad $180,000 to play at Auburn then Cam should be ineligible and Auburn should get the death penalty for cheating….oh wait…..nevermind.

                Probably not that different at all.

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              • AusDawg85

                It’s not the player making the money, it’s the boosters intention and any expectation. The NCAA has not been able to find a system to screen out gambling interests and under the table free agency other than to try by eliminating any money transfers to players. Not totally effective, but it’s the best they’ve got. A better system is probably to embrace player marketing and revenue sharing and just focus on preventing gambling interests from influencing the game.

                Hahahahahha…even that makes me laugh.

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        • Actually the majority of these players are 17 or 18 year olds who have never even signed a complex legal document in their life. Most are the first in their families to even attend college and they are not allowed to even have legal representation to advise them on the document they are signing.

          The document requires them to forfeit all rights to their likeness to the athletic department and the member sporting organizations for as long as they are enrolled as student-athlete in perpetuity.

          But yeah – its fair deal for them.

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          • Cojones

            Then retired lawyers should form a foundation to tutor recruits just before they sign and give them the options available. Volunteers are both for their alma materl and availability to other schools. Similar to retired business execs who tutor people for free when they are going into business.

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            • Napoleon BonerFart

              Or, perhaps the NCAA could provide lawyers to the kids to advise them on what they should do. Of course, the kids hiring their own lawyers to avoid conflicts of interest would jeopardize their amateur status.

              If there were only some way that a “market” that was “free” could address these problems. Oh well, screw those kids.

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    • Macon Dawg

      “Nobody cries about unpaid internships that offer no promise of actually landing a job in he real world.”

      You’ve haven’t been paying attention over the last couple of years to the issue of unpaid internships.

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    • CB

      NCAA institutions don’t make millions of dollars off of the likenesses of “any other kid.”

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  4. JCDAWG83

    Anyone who really believes college athletes don’t have any benefits of network building is living a self induced fantasy. I can’t think of a more connected group than former athletes. There are many, many businesses run by alumni who are more than happy to hire former athletes. I would say athletes, with their free publicity, are probably in a much better position to get a job than a regular student who has to start the job search process as a completely unknown member of a graduating class of 5000.

    To say college athletes are separated from their fellow students is equally absurd. Assuming they are going to class, something that may be questionable at Auburn or FSU, they are in classes with other students. They also go out to bars and other social functions with other students. While it’s true their schedules are more full than most students, they have time to socialize and enjoy themselves. They are not kept locked up in some gladiatorial dungeon and only trotted out to compete in the “games” for the benefit of the spectators.

    The current system is far from perfect, but it is even further from being a system that hurts the scholarship athletes. To even present the argument that athletes somehow suffer from receiving a college scholarship is totally specious and absurd. If this inane argument were true, why would anyone sign a scholarship?

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    • PTC DAWG

      JC and I agree more often than not, especially when he’s not getting all emotional on CMR…I think he’s spot on here.

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    • Dog in Fla

      “To even present the argument that athletes somehow suffer from receiving a college scholarship is totally specious and absurd. If this inane argument were true, why would anyone sign a scholarship?”

      Lack of representation, which is okay if you believe management and profit-taking trumps labor

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      • JCDAWG83

        It’s not slavery, if the scholarship is such a terrible burden and ordeal simply don’t take it. If the player does take it and then decides he is being ruthlessly exploited and being taken advantage of and is missing all the networking and meeting with rich alumni, he should quit the team and become a regular student. No one forces these kids to play football.

        I’m sure the majority of these high school students could get into the universities they are offered scholarships to and have access to all the regular students and rich alumni without the burden of playing football (sarcasm on full).

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        • Napoleon BonerFart

          If there’s anything that burns me up, it’s when minority kids start getting all “uppity” and demanding “rights” and “freedoms” that other kids have. Don’t these kids know how good they have it?

          And while I’m ranting, adults kill me complaining about this country as well. I mean, we’re not slaves. Do you think taxes are too high? Well, instead of complaining about it, or advocating for change, just emigrate to a country with lower taxes. Or, do you think that interminable wars in the Middle East are unwise wastes of blood and treasure serving no strategic purpose? Well stop questioning your wise and benevolent overlords in Washington and move to Switzerland. You’re not slaves, even though you live subject to laws and regulations that you may disagree with and you had nothing to do with establishing. Shut up or get out! That’s what I (and JCDAWG83) always say.

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    • Because most often do not have any other option especially when it comes to funding a college education.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/13/magazine/is-college-tuition-too-high.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=mini-moth&region=top-stories-below&WT.nav=top-stories-below&_r=0

      It is far more likely that college athletes at the Division 1 level in football and basketball are the first generation in their family to attend a 4 year institution. As we saw in the last few weeks with Auburn, athletes in football and basketball are clustered into majors to preserve their eligibility and to streamline workouts etc. rather than athlete self-selecting their majors.

      Look there are good and bad stories when it comes to the scholarship athletes. For every story we hear about an athlete that is chewed up and spit out by the system, there are just as many stories of the athlete who has taken advantage of the opportunity.

      However, the fundamental fact remains — amateurism in sports was founded on unfair principles (racism, classism, etc.) The NCAA remains the largest sports organization who remains committed to it. All of the other major sports organizations in this country and most of the world have discarded it. It will remain fundamentally flawed even if you try to reform it.

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    • Napoleon BonerFart

      I agree. The last time I checked the Forbes 400 list of the richest individuals in the country, the list was swarming with former college football players with degrees in Consumer Economics or Sociology who stepped straight from the playing field into cushy jobs paying the big bucks.

      Hopefully, one day my son will be large enough, strong enough, and fast enough to get a public administration degree from Auburn, or an African American studies degree from North Carolina. Because from there, it’s straight to easy street.

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  5. rick marbles

    Senator,

    Read Swindles piece. People are entranced with his writing style, but I dont get it. Mixed metaphors, overblown, seems a bit juvenile. Its better suited to humor than outrage I think. I think the thrust of the piece centers around some sort of logical fallacy. I was raised without financial stability and I can therefore really sympathize with the plight of Division 1 atheletes. There is a subtext of- if you cant, then you have never known economic hardship. Which is mostly a thing that even once financially stable/succesful you can never truly shake.

    Much prefer the more tempered discussions on here. I have a few questions that have probably all been addressed by you in the past, but indulge me.

    How much money is out there per athlete really? If you take the NFL as an example, how much money does the whole thing generate, and what percentage is then shared with the atheletes? If you take these numbers and apply them to the DIV 1 NCAA. what kind of per athlete money are we talking about?

    Spencer insinuates one of the great motivators to playing the game is the possibility of NFL, and that without that carrot the whole thing falls apart. He talks about the risk of bodily harm and the implication is that without the false dream, a significant portion of atheletes wouldnt do it. Doesnt this seem to discount the other reasons why a lot of these men play football? LIke all the lesser divisions out there, the kids who play with no delusion of getting to NFL, love of the game, etc? I wonder if the NFL ceased to exist, how many players would immediately hang it up?

    I guess whatever change occurs, it will be incremental, like cost of attendance, etc. What is the ideal vision of a paid college athlete model? If you pay them real money at the highest level, can the whole charade of ‘being a normal college student’ just go away? No class or degree?

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    • How much money is out there per athlete really? If you take the NFL as an example, how much money does the whole thing generate, and what percentage is then shared with the atheletes? If you take these numbers and apply them to the DIV 1 NCAA. what kind of per athlete money are we talking about?

      Since we don’t know exactly how schools run their numbers, it’s hard to say.

      But here’s what I can say: given the race to the top we’re seeing with COA stipends, it’s obviously more than they were getting before.

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  6. Rp

    Major D1 football players receive financial benefits in the range of $50,000 – $100,000 per year by my best estimate. I include things like the value of the scholarships, housing, meals, access to world class athletic trainers and facilities, and the exposure they receive by playing for top tier programs. By contrast “professional” AAA baseball players generally earn less than $20,000 per year (although top prospects receive significant signing bonuses). While some constructive changes can and should be made, I still can’t abide by the notion that these poor athletes are taken advantage of.

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    • What’s your best estimate on how much college football brings to a P5 school financially versus what a AAA baseball team generates in profit?

      It’s easy not to abide by a notion when you don’t consider all the surrounding details.

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      • Rp

        I agree that the schools benefit from the player more than the minor league team. However, as has been thoroughly documented in this thread, the players receive ample compensation and benefits for their services. No one is getting screwed. Let’s work on the medical insurance and players’ rights to their own likeness and call it a day.
        Also, are millions of people world-wide who play competitive sports for $0.00 per year because competitive sports are fun! If you don’t like to play, don’t play.

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    • I include things like the value of the scholarships, housing, meals, access to world class athletic trainers and facilities, and the exposure they receive by playing for top tier programs.

      I receive many benefits from my company such as training, license renewals, professional association dues, travel expenses, etc. It also pays me a salary. I don’t know of any companies that consider expenses like that to be a direct form of compensation.

      I don’t think anybody truly believes that the players are getting absolutely nothing, but to pretend that they aren’t effectively employees is to continue to romanticize this institution of amateurism whose roots come from rich folks not wanting to get their asses kicked by poor folks on the playing field.

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      • JCDAWG83

        Tell your employer you want to be a 1099 employee and you will pay your own expenses if those things are of no value to you. I can promise you, your employer knows exactly how much the things you list cost per employee and they factor them into their compensation model.

        All things being equal, without the scholarship, the athlete would have to pay for all the things Rp cited and the cost would easily be $50-100,000 per year depending on the school. I seriously doubt more than a handful on each team would be valuable enough to earn a “salary” equal to the value of their scholarship.

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        • DawgPhan

          And when I do 1099 work I charge double what I get as salary. This isnt hard people. We all agree that they are getting something for their efforts. The only argument is that they are not free to get what they feel their efforts are worth. Arguing against the freedom to participate in a free market and get for yourself the true value of your efforts seems like a strange hill to die on.

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          • JCDAWG83

            If it’s truly a free market, how much will a player like Brendan Douglas be able to demand vs Nick Chubb? Will Brendan be able to demand enough to cover his tuition, room, board, etc? What happens to the Justin Scott-Wesleys, whose careers are ended by injury, does he get “released”?

            The free market is a great thing but it’s not the best thing for college athletics.

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            • DawgPhan

              Well Brendan Douglas is already demanding enough to cover his tuition? Not sure you are making a point.

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              • JCDAWG83

                So are the guys who never set foot on the field, but that’s under the current system. Under a free market system, players would be paid based on their worth to the team. I’m not sure all the players currently on scholarship would be seen as having $50,000 a year worth of value.

                You seem to be a pretty smart guy, I think you know what I’m saying.

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                • DawgPhan

                  They offered him a scholarship. They have already established the baseline value of every player on scholarship? This isnt hard?

                  They didnt offer him a scholarship as charity. They did it because they need him and they think he is worth it.

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                • CB

                  I asked earlier if you knew what a free market was. Now I see that you don’t. I repeat, in a free market everyone isn’t paid the same. Just like at your job. Your boss (if you have one) probably makes more than you.

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            • What happens to the Justin Scott-Wesleys, whose careers are ended by injury, does he get “released”?

              Your hypothetical is literally no different than what can happen now with year to year scholarships.

              If it’s truly a free market, how much will a player like Brendan Douglas be able to demand vs Nick Chubb?

              Why do you over-complicate the question over fake concerns that a person perceived as more valuable to an organization than somebody else would command a higher wage? That’s the way the labor market works. This question isn’t as complicated as you’re making it to be. You just don’t like the answer which is why you’re over-complicating it. I assure you that if a true pay for play labor model ever came to fruition in college football, folks can figure out how to pay the players commensurate with their value. As shocking a concept as it sounds, many organizations do this on a daily basis.

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              • JCDAWG83

                The only thing that complicates the issue is the fact that these are supposed to be college players, not professional athletes. I have no problem at all with a group of 18-22 year old men being paid to play football or any sport. I do have a problem with the rule that these men cannot be professional football players in the NFL, a large professional football business until they are 21. I don’t see the solution to the problem being the establishment of another professional football league that is, in some cases, subsidized by colleges.

                I’ve said it many times before. I think the ultimate solution to this is to make college football more like high school football rather than more like NFL football. Make the players have to be admitted to the school before they can be on the football team. This system works in a lot of college sports and at a lot of colleges that do not give athletic scholarships. Let the NFL figure out how to create a farm system without total reliance on the colleges.

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            • CB

              Brendan Douglas will not get as much as Nick Chubb, just like Rex Grossman doesn’t make as much as Matt Ryan. Do you know what a free market is? Everyone is payed based on their market value, which means compensation varies from player to player.

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            • CB

              JSW can be released right now under the current system without the protection of a union. The only thing keeping him on scholarship is Mark Richt’s moral compass. Under a free market system with a players union JSW and players like him will likely sign a 4-5 year scholarships preventing them from being released after injury.

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      • Rp

        Just for reference, many of you have probably heard of IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL:

        Standard tuition for one year of boarding at IMG Academy is $68,500 plus a team sport competition and training gear fee that ranges from $3,750-$4,250 depending on the sport. A single semester costs $39,400.

        The value of coaching and facilities at a school like UGA is surely higher. So I’m now thinking these guys all get benefits closer to the $100-150K range.

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    • Napoleon BonerFart

      That’s an interesting line of thought. When establishing a salary for a job, should the employer include the cost of the building, equipment, desk, etc. as something that benefits the employee, rather than the employer? Up to now, those things haven’t really been included. Could we immediately see an increase in salaries if we start telling employees that they benefit from the office building more than the employer does, and therefore they should pay any taxes on it?

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  7. rick marbles

    RP-

    Yes I know very little about economics of AAA baseball other than Bull Durham, but this would be one pathway to avoid. Players that go to small schools where football is marginal but kept going for various reasons would suffer if the whole thing really became about economics I would think

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    • Players that go to small schools where football is marginal but kept going for various reasons would suffer if the whole thing really became about economics I would think.

      Maybe athletic departments that can’t afford wages shouldn’t be in the business of playing football. That’s an economic reality for everybody out there when you have wages to consider except these athletic departments that have been chasing crazy TV $ over the last 25 years or so.

      Regardless of anybody’s stance on paying players, it wasn’t the players that chose to make college football the multi-billion dollar enterprise it currently resembles. Unfortunately for these guys, and I suspect that Kessler is going to force them to learn it the hard way, one of the most significant costs of running a business for everybody else in the working world is paying wages to your employees.

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      • JCDAWG83

        It is reported that 80% of D1 college football programs lose money. Do you think we should only have about 25 college football programs?

        In your world of paid players as “employees” (your word, not mine), do players still get scholarships? If so, why? Shouldn’t they take their earnings and pay tuition and fees? They are working people, why give them scholarship money to play football if you are paying them to play football? Will there be a set amount paid or will players be paid according to their ability? Will recruiting become who is willing to pay the most to a player? Will players be able to be “fired” for not performing up to expectations? Will players get free tutoring and support like they do now, or will they have to pay for those services with their earnings?

        Paying the players sounds so simple until you really start to think about it.

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        • Again, if things are so dire for the schools, financially speaking, then why are they embracing ever higher COA figures?

          And what does it cost a school to allow a player to make money off his NLI?

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          • JCDAWG83

            I haven’t done the research, and I’m not going to, but I don’t think all schools are joining the COA arms race. I know I’ve heard several say the COA stipend will put a burden on their budgets.

            I tend to agree about the players making money off of their images. I don’t think we’re talking about a lot of money anyway on that.

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        • I will continue to call bullshit on that vast majority of schools that claim to lose money. As peacedog spells out below, there are many ways that schools can make themselves appear to not be profitable / break-even that is done purely to maintain their tax-exempt status. There are many costs that could be cut and directed to stipending / paying / whatever you want to call it players and nobody would miss a beat.

          You seem like a relatively smart guy, but if you believe the schools at face value when they claim they aren’t making money, I’ve got some ocean front property in Kansas to sell you. As the Senator states, if the schools are so flush in the red – why are they all trying to beat each other to a higher COA figure?

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          • JCDAWG83

            I think a lot of our perceptions of how schools do financially is skewed because we live in SEC World, where pretty much every program makes money. I only know what I’ve read. It seems as though the majority of schools are subsidizing athletics.

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          • RocketDawg

            Unfortunately there are a lot of programs out there who truly don’t make money from athletics (UL Monroe? Playing 8 road games in order to fund their athletic department). If college football goes to a straight pay for play model and makes the players employees then you are essentially sealing the fate of 80-90 division 1 programs. We’ll end up with a super league of 20-25 teams and it will be for all practical intents and purposes NFL light and at that point I am done. I don’t really care for the NFL model of football which I find bland and boring. I also don’t care for the fact that you can lose 7 games and still be the “Champion” at the end of the season.

            For most schools football and men’s baskeball are what pay the bills for the other non revenue sports. If you take away a significant portion of that revenue to pay players then what happens to the women’s soccer team or the golf team? They go away and then those kids don’t get a chance to defray some of their college expenses through athletics.

            Unfortunately there is no easy answer to this situation. Are players like Todd Gurley and Nick Chubb undervalued and under compensated while they are in school? Definitely. But for every Gurley and Chubb you have an AJ Turman (who might turn out to be great if he can stay healthy) or a Brandon Kublanow who probably won’t profit off of their likeness or rate a higher “salary”. Believe it or not some of these kids are smart enough to figure out that they aren’t going to the NFL and are trying to get an education that will sustain them after football is over.

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            • CB

              What fate are you sealing for 80-90 percent of Division 1 programs? They don’t have to pay players if they don’t wan to or can’t afford it. They can still play road games to fund their seasons. Nothing really changes on that front. Sure, all the best recruits will still go to the P5, but how is that any different than now. It’s not like ULM is legitimately knocking on the door of the 4 team playoff.

              You don’t need to spend $25 million on a field house. Build a cheaper one and pay the players with the rest. Wages wouldn’t come from Title IX allotments that’s just NCAA fear mongering, but even if it does. Why should Todd Gurley have money taken out of his pocket so Georgia can give money to the equestrian team with 50+ girls on it that nobody ever watches. The only reason that team was created was for Title IX compliance. It’s a complete joke, and it’s blatant socialism.

              The NFL has 32 teams and 12 make the playoffs that’s why a 7 win team can win the Superbowl. There are 60+ Power 5 college football teams and currently only 4 make the playoffs so there is no chance a 7 win team would ever even make it in, much less win the whole thing.

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        • CB

          If they’re really losing money then how are they able to pay their coaches and administrators so handsomely? How are they able to afford such extravagant facilities? It’s time to wake up and stop ingesting the bull.

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          • RocketDawg

            I can’t believe that I am about to type this but I agree with JC on this one. You are limiting yourself to SEC World on profitability and surplus $$ to pay the players. There is a reason ULM is playing 8 road games this year and that is to fund ALL of the sports in their athletic department. There are more schools in the ULM position than there are in the flush with cash position. It may not matter to you if the Sun Belt or CUSA goes away but personally I like the fact that those programs give kids an opportunity to play football and get an education who might not get that otherwise.

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            • CB

              Sun Belt and C-USA aren’t gong anywhere, just like DII, DIII, and NAIA. They can still play there low level of football while the big boys get paid.

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        • Dog in Fla

          “Paying the players sounds so simple until you really start to think about it.”

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        • Austin

          If only 20% were making money, then they would cancel it. Making a profit, in football, in an academic setting would be frowned upon, so the money is funneled, moved, spent, and set into trusts so that they can say they lost money. If they weren’t making the money, they would not be building the stadiums.

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        • Napoleon BonerFart

          It really burns me when we’re able to establish with absolute certainty (because schools certainly don’t cook their books to hide profit) that these greedy athletes are taking advantage of the altruistic coaches and athletic directors who only want what’s best for them at great expense to themselves.

          I mean, sure Nick Saban makes a jillion dollars a year as a football coach. But he gives up nights and weekends to make that money. Just think how much he could earn if he were a kindergarten teacher, or an insurance agent? The poor guy.

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      • peacedogattack

        You touch on an issue the Senator occasionally touches on. I’ll spell it out more clearly.

        Play football!
        “Crazy” TV contract appears. Crazy is “wait, this is way more money than we’ve ever had before”. The TV contract exists for several reasons, but set them aside for a moment.
        Athletic department ramps up spending because it’s suddenly flush with cash. Some of this goes to coaches. Some to facilities. Some to “administrative personnel”, from the AD on down. Hire new staff. Gonna need dedicated fundraisers to help with facilities costs, after all. And everyone needs an assistant of some sort (except UGA coaches, heh). Bureaucracy flourishes in these situations.
        Still flush with cash, the AD starts indulging in extravagances, like sending dozens if not hundreds of employees to bowl games on the school dime. There’s no reason for this. It’s a “bonus” or whatever but never mind.
        The books can come out a few different ways depending on whim, but since we’re spending like crazy anyway it’s easy to get to “revenue neutral” or emphasize debts (since those new facilities draw on monies from several sources) and say we’re not making money.
        Suddenly a newer, “crazier” TV contract appears, and the whole thing repeats, only moreso.

        We’ll never get the truth on all the P5 ADs out there, of course. I’ve no doubt P5 schools could spend less on “support” personnel without impact bottom line. The lesser schools are still spending prodigiously, but nobody does it like the P5s

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      • Cojones

        By the way, AD, who in hell started chasing tv money and how? What? A lawsuit by two Universities? Which ones? Ok and WHO?

        Nevermind.

        Like

  8. Scorpio Jones, III

    I don’t know boss…. To Nick Chubb, COA proly won’t mean much in the long run, but Brendan Douglas might get some benefit from it. It makes me grind my teeth, but I agree with JC…these kids don’t go to school in a vacuum, they have the same networking opportunities they have always had, theirs are just different from the opportunities regular students have.

    I understand your cynicism, and your fear of losing the game you love, but I suspect, even if you don’t like it, on Saturday you’ll still be there, hopefully wearing your earplugs.

    Unfortunately Spencer, its not the fucking players whose options are limited.

    Unfortunately Spencer, its the poor fucking fans huddled around their radios and tvs in the junk shop on old Main Street whose options are limited.

    Unfortunately Spencer, nobody seems to give a flying fuck about ME.

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    • I understand your cynicism, and your fear of losing the game you love, but I suspect, even if you don’t like it, on Saturday you’ll still be there, hopefully wearing your earplugs.

      I’ve essentially walked away from two sports I once loved as much as CFB, so I wouldn’t be so sure about what you suspect.

      As for what I suspect, I suspect I won’t be an avid CFB fan five years from now. Maybe I’m wrong, but it sure feels like I’m living on borrowed time.

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      • Scorpio Jones, III

        Oh…five years…hell I thought you were talking about this week. Cool. All time, after all, is borrowed. What about Vandy’s defense? 🙂

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      • AlphaDawg

        “I’ve essentially walked away from two sports I once loved as much as CFB, so I wouldn’t be so sure about what you suspect.” How much of that is simply age and re-adjusting priorities? As i’ve gotten older I have made serious adjustments to how and where I spend my leisure time. I still love baseball and enjoy college basketball, I just can’t manage much time for either due my desire to spend more time with my family.

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    • I care about you Scorp. I’m all out of flying things, though.

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  9. Atticus

    I have 100% disagree with everything that is presented.

    1-The question is what would most of these kids do if they didn’t have the athletic talent to get a scholarship?
    2-There is 100% freedom to go to any school and get a free education. Or not.
    3-Just ask David Pollack and Matt Stinchcomb and even DJ Shockley and Thomas Brown whether they got a return on their investment? Look at Greyson Lambert. He graduated in 3 years and is playing at his 2nd school. You think this doesn’t present him opportunities he would have otherwise not been offered as a regular student?
    4-The networking opportunities by being a recruit and then player are unmatched. Where else can you be put in a place where you can meet a few hundred people in a higher trust situation than just sitting in class and where it will provide you a larger network for career opportunities in the future?

    Is there sacrifice? Certainly. A stipend made absolute sense. Should the schools do a better job at counseling and follow up aka the PO Network? Yes and thankfully UGA is doing just that. But that is irrelevant in the discussions. The simple question is whether or not they are provided an opportunity that is worth the investment. Its a simple yes or no.

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    • Sam Johnson

      College football players are essentially professional athletes. It is hard to see much difference in the lives of NFL players and CF players except in the exchange of class time for some practice time, and CF players are compensated at much lower rates. Sure, CF players can choose to participate or not, but their choice is restrained by the facts that (1) they are not treated as employees, (2) are not allowed to collectively bargain and (3) the NCAA is effectively a monopoly. High school athletes have the “free will” to choose from a weak bargaining position in a market that is not open, free or fair.

      Yes, they receive a scholarship, but their ability to maximize their education (like other students) is severely limited by athletic time commitments. What if, instead of the scholarships, athletes were given the choice to receive the cash value and freed from the obligation to go to class? We don’t give them this choice. Why not give them free will here?

      Athletic departments at Power 5 schools are become cash monsters that have little to do with the education and research that are the traditional roles of public universities (and are still the roles of such universities in other countries). Schools, through the athletic departments, are making huge sums of money from the labor of college athletes while paying them a fraction of their true value. The fact that these athletes choose this over the limited number of other options available to them does not mean it is fair.

      Like

      • PTC DAWG

        Ask any professional athlete if they practice more than 20 hours per week.

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      • Buz

        Perhaps the athletes should skip the additional training they get in college and play professionally instead. Instead of playing for a University they could find a professional league – Maybe Arena or Semi-pro – to develop their skills and attempt to make it to the NFL and stop wasting their time in college.
        I see the argument that the schools are making a lot of money off of the players and it doesn’t seem “fair” but if you use “fair” what about the walk-ons or the players in other sports who work just as hard.
        Hell, what about the grad student who is working on the 20 Million dollar genetics grant for his/her assistantship? Should they get a cut as well?
        Maybe a stipend for every time they appear in a scientific journal?

        I think the college experience has other benefits – These players are on-stage for thousands promoting themselves and their talents as well as their school. They gain the experience to make it to the next level and succeed with coaching would cost $1000s a month outside of school at facilities that are spectacular and don’t exist at most places on earth.

        There is a lot to think about, but college players are far from professional athletes. They are kids with a lot of opportunity, but without the college experience I can’t help but think their lives would be a whole lot poorer.

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        • Cojones

          Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. We are talking about CFB players, not a separate business model that will get rid of CFB.

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        • CB

          Students are paid for lab work so there you have it.

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        • Napoleon BonerFart

          I give advice similar to this to graduating high school kids interested in going to medical school. Sure, the standard plan is to get a bachelors degree in biology, or chemistry, then apply for medical school. But why not break that monopoly?

          I tell kids to spend their undergraduate years getting certified in heating and air conditioning repair. After four years, apply to medical school. I haven’t heard back from any of the kids I’m mentoring yet, but I’m sure they’re fine.

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  10. The whole system is crumbling because it has grown exponentially over the past two decades. The money generated from the conference championship games and the bowl coalition that ultimately led to the BCS began a spiral where things got out of control of the guys in charge. They weren’t incompetent necessarily, but they were hired to run programs that transformed radically into something they were not prepared for due to things outside of their control. They didn’t have a plan beyond SPEND because the people in their ears were telling them you have to spend to win and winning trumps all. Now we have overpaid coaches, state of the art facilities being torn down and replaced with more state of the art facilities, and nobody broached the topic of the players. Partly, I believe, because of this notion of amateurism that the game outgrew more quickly than anyone was prepared for.

    Because some of the programs found it hard enough to make it even with the new influx of cash (you gotta SPEND to win, after all), they resisted any of the new money being funneled to the players. This was wrong, and the rampant greed and the checkbook kings kept others from stepping up and making something happen (Jim Delany). It took lawsuits and befuddled NCAA reps testifying to stupidity to get where we are today. Had the powers that be decided a decade ago that the players needed a share of this new money, whether it be in the form of a COA or money in trust or something tangible (not just “better” facilities and “better” coaching), then we could have developed and implemented a plan that benefited the majority. Instead, we have administrators clutching to their purses like the players are thieves laying in wait.

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    • Scorpio Jones, III

      Man…you are one a them steely-eye’d accountants…everything you say is true and more, yet both you and I, I suspect, wake up Saturdays in the fall worrying about the important things in life…hats, Bitch influence, etc.

      Next year in Jerusalem, dude.

      Like

      • Indeed. I’m concerned about the menu and tv schedule and whether I’ll wear red because the team is, or stick with my standard white for away games. Only the truly important things.

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        • Scorpio Jones, III

          Its (color choice, hats, etc.) the only thing you/we can do anything about, contrary to popular belief, what we say here, or anywhere else, other than the bank, does not matter.

          Now, for instance, I am worried about Lambert’s delivery being fast enough for Vandy’s defense…waddayagot Loran? 🙂

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  11. SouthernYank

    Senator’s position on this subject is simply based on his personal politics.

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  12. CB

    Anyone on this thread in favor of of college athletes having their compensation capped at the value of a scholarship is endorsing socialism. Everyone gets paid the same no matter how good (or bad) they are. In any other industry this is called collusion or price fixing and it’s also illegal. Nobody is saying that these players have terrible lives, but the fact is money is being made. The issue at hand just decides who gets the money. Does it all go to school, the administrators, and the coaches, or does it go to the players that everyone is paying to see? Everyone said that professional athletes had it great before free agency because they were getting paid to play a game that most of us would play for free, and maybe they did, but nobody seems to have a problem with free agency in baseball. There is no difference here.

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    • RocketDawg

      There absolutely is a difference because institutions of higher learning are involved. A large portion of the fan base goes to see the University of Georgia football team play and we cheer for the players that are there and then cheer for new ones when they leave.

      If the college system went to a minor league football model where these kids played for the Athens Argonauts and there was no school involved I dare say they wouldn’t fill up a 30,000 seat stadium much less a 90,000 seat one. People love the college game because of the tradition and pagentry associated with it as well as the opportunity to cheer for “Old State U” on Saturday.

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      • CB

        Your whole comment is a straw man. What does that have to do with paying athletes?

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      • CB

        Paying athletes (which already happens under the table) at Georgia or Auburn wouldn’t disconnect them from the schools.

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        • Cojones

          Agree, but our ignorance of what can happen to CFB under the law if they are paid makes us hesitant concerning the future. Do we want a test case to destroy what we have now?

          How about some legal minds weighing in to suppose what happens afterwards that could affect actions of the Feds. Most of us are lay people in that area.

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          • CB

            Speak for yourself on the ignorance issue. I’m not a lawyer, but it’s not rocket science. This is already happening in the NFL and everything they’re the most profitable league in the country.

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  13. Noonan

    “When and if they do receive their degree, it might mean even less in terms of real future dollars than those received by their peers. The networking they might have done with others on campus is restricted by their class schedules and practice; the networking with wealthy alumni that might benefit them in business is explicitly forbidden in many instances, something Princeton’s own Michael Lewis points out in The Blind Side.”

    Most of the guys on our roster would not qualify academically to attend UGA. If they weren’t football players, they would be “networking” with students and alumni at some community college, assuming they had the ambition to go to college in the first place.

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    • Dog in Fla

      If they’re lucky, maybe they can become adjuncts

      Like

    • JCDAWG83

      This is all too conveniently swept under the rug in the “pay the players” argument. If players become employees, do academic standards get thrown out completely? Why would academics matter at all if the players were simply employees of the athletic association with the job of maximizing revenue for the football program? If the college programs are going to go full on in becoming NFL minor leagues, why keep up the charade of the players being students?

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  14. CB

    How does everyone on this thread feel about the fact that major college athletes are already paid under the table? Are you outraged? Are you going to quit watching?

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    • JCDAWG83

      You state this as fact. While most here believe it is happening in some cases at some programs, you state it as a fact of college football in general. Please tell where you are getting this information.

      Like

        • JCDAWG83

          Interesting article, I imagine about half of it is true. I don’t see any way all of that could be going on at most programs and no one has ratted anyone out. These kids he talks about are poor black kids with no loyalty at all to this bag man or the school. I can’t see these kids keeping the secrets when they get kicked off the team for whatever reason. Maybe not every one of them, but some would.

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          • CB

            So you just have a feeling that the article isn’t true? Based on what? You can’t just pull opinions out of thin air with no factual basis and expect anyone to take you seriously.

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            • JCDAWG83

              No, I certainly believe some of it is true but I don’t believe all of it or that it is happening with all players. I don’t think there is any way a system like that could exist on any scale for very long in any sort of secrecy with the people involved. I’m fairly certain some jilted player or player’s momma or uncle would jump at the chance to stick it to some booster or program that slighted their meal ticket athlete or, more likely, refused to pay some amount the momma or uncle thought they “deserved”..

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              • Dog in Fla

                Because whistleblowers never win

                “Mall cop.” “Hall monitor.” Read enough about college sports and you’ll encounter these terms, used to disparage reporters from Sports Illustrated, ESPN, and other mainstream outlets who uncover pay-for-play stories, a staple of serious sports journalism for decades.

                http://www.cjr.org/full_court_press/ncaa_investigation_pay_espn.php

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              • Cojones

                You might look under your standard, entitled “Tunsil”, for info, but the under-the-table and through-the-palm-of-my-hand plans are still in force with only two people involved – the giver and the receiver. There have already been post grad confessions other than DiF’s post reference.

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              • CB

                Do you live under a rock? Marcel Dareus, A.J. Green, Laremy Tunsil, Cam Newton, Johnny Manziel, Jameis Winston, multiple players at Auburn, Miami, SMU and North Carolina, Tony Cole. I just ran all of those off from the top of my head. If there is anything we can assume it’s that every single case doesn’t get picked up by the national media.

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    • Dog in Fla

      Gifting has always been part of the underbelly tradition of college football

      Like

  15. Buz

    Holy Crap! If is is so horrible for the Scholarship Athletes what is it doing to the walk-ons?!

    Like

  16. WarD Eagle

    Horseshit.

    While I understand his suppositions and things that might be true, full scholarship athletes are getting an education, room, board, medical care, tutoring, etc paid for by their participation in an extracurricular activity.

    I don’t hear the outcry for the high GPA high schooler who is working two jobs and taking out loans to pay for school. Why is that? Guilt over the income from football?

    The reality is, the poster children for what he’s saying are likely not academically qualified to attend most colleges and have no business there other than football.

    So, they’re getting a chance at a college degree and a chance at their dream – the NFL and it’s insane paychecks. At the best, they make endless millions in their career. At the worst, they will get a college degree and a chance at a lifestyle they never would have attained without it.

    I have no problem telling them to reject the offer if they don’t like it.

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  17. DawgPhan

    People would be less hung up on paying the players if the NCAA and the schools hadnt taken every opportunity to restrict the abilities of the players to better their outcomes while profiting off those players and making sure that the schools and the NCAA maintain total freedom.

    Every time some AD or coach refuses to let a player transfer, every time the NCAA attempts to further restrict transfer rules, it makes it harder and harder to stick with the amateur status. To stick with the idea of the benevolent benefactor played by the schools.

    We want UGA to be Daddy Warbucks, but really they are Mr. Burns.

    Like

  18. rick marbles

    What does the ideal vision of the future look like when schools can pay the athletes directly, and waive and academic requirements?

    If the change happens overtly, wouldn’t some of the biggest funded/most profitable programs embrace this immediately? Currently, there is an arms race in facility, coaching and staff, where a handful of schools get to dominate and be perinnial top ten(25) teams. Doesnt this just cement or enhance this position amongst these, with their new openly semi-pro league? Do the ULM’s and others continue to play with these guys with their ability to only offer scholarships? Is the overall effect a decrease in opportunity for higher education via sports pathway?

    I see lots of attacks on the current system, many justified, but what is the future for the system?

    Like

    • JCDAWG83

      If the future is “NFL Light” with paid players who are nothing more than athletic association employees, the future is going to be like AAA professional baseball. The fan’s passion will be the first casualty and attendance will be the second.

      It would not totally surprise me to see the schools take the use of their names and the use of their stadiums away from the for profit entities that are the NFL training system.

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      • rick marbles

        That is a spectre to avoid. It is funny tho how everyone is totally cool with the coaches being free market, etc., but the idea that the players arent is abhorrent. I kind of feel that way, not sure why. Its like I have some sort of true shared community and pride with those guys who attend the same school, and some shared experiences. Similar and “irrational” as love of country and family i guess, but real to me. I really cant care about the NFL.

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      • CB

        That is such a stupid notion. Like paying college athletes would really drive away fans. If they quit paying players in the AFL would they suddenly sell out stadiums? Of course not. The NCAA isn’t selling us amateurism, they’re selling us identification with the programs we support. Paying athletes what they deserve doesn’t change that. It’s a non-sequitur because there is no correlation whatsoever. Give me one real world example to support this fallacy. I’ll even accept a hypothetical.

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        • rick marbles

          I dont think its a ‘stupid’ notion. Like I said, I feel some misgiving about a sport played by professionals sponsored by a school. As in I wouldn’t empathize/sympathize with the players as much. Hard to articulate, but if you’ve played organized sports before, I think that is the feeling rooting for UGA evokes in me. And I like the illusion or maybe reality that the players feel the same way. That they are motivated by old passions of love of place and region, not purely by money. Not to get moralizing about it, it just harkens to a simpler time and in some way a purer instinct, at least to me. I would hate to lose that, but if the players are really getting exploited, and the solution to the issue is to lessen that exploitation(and not just enrich the very talented few, at the expense of many others), then maybe that is the most just way to go. I assumer the devil is in the details and would like to see the Senator lay out an honest vision for what the future holds.

          Hypotheticals, cant think about what I would pay to watch if I knew the participants did it for free versus pay.

          Maybe music is a good analogy? I’d much rather pay to see a small time local performer who is getting by, rather than pack into a stadium to see a huge show? Thats probably a function of age tho. Something about commercialism is a turn off to me nowadays, like music piped into stadiums, sponsorships splashed all over the field, etc.

          On the other hand, if you started paying kids to have the best little league team or high school football team, then I’d say that would be a definite turn off.

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          • CB

            I believe kids can still connect with the environment while being compensated for their financial contributions to the school. In fact, I would guess that they would connect with the school even more if they weren’t being exploited, Imagine if you showed up to work one day and they told you that they weren’t going to pay you anymore, but they would let you take classes for free. Would that give you a greater sense of connection to your work environment? Probably not.

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            • rick marbles

              Would they even have to continue the charade of attending class? If you are already making millions, then wouldnt it be silly to take econ 101 or whatever recs you need? Would there be a 2-tier system even within the same university?

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              • CB

                What does receiving payment have to do with class attendance? Just because players are compensated doesn’t mean they can’t be held to an academic standard. Heck, you could even fine them for poor performance in the classroom.

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  19. doofusdawg

    It seems perfectly clear how to solve all this. The students need to get paid… but some schools do not have the money. What we need is a college football tax that could be implemented by the NCAA or maybe even the IRS. A progressive tax based on each schools athletic department’s revenue. Say 39.5 % with several lesser margins. The IRS or the new College Football Czar could redistribute excess profits from the big schools like Georgia and Texas to the smaller schools that are less fortunate and did not win the college football lottery… like Georgia Teck.

    I won’t get into the allowable deductions … I’ll save that for the lobbyists.

    It’s the only fair thing to do.

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  20. ‘My cynicism makes it a little harder for me to love the sport with each year’s passing”…………Cynicism is a very bad thing and needs to fought just like pessimism,absolutism, objectivism,communism and almost all “isms” except optimism. To aid in your attitude adjustment I suggest you view college sports the same way most of us look at our country…..Democracy is the worst form of government except all the others. Senator you will find no joy in Pro football, baseball or basketball. Go back and watch your Stephen Fry post from the beginning of the season. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cn8io3kplA
    It will make you feel better….. AMERICA.
    If your waiting for perfection to get excited about it……life and damn fun will pass you by.

    Like