“It may be difficult to view revenue-generating players as exploited.”

Thought I’d throw this opinion piece out there for you to chew on.  It’s the author’s perspective that’s most interesting.

… I can’t endorse a system that exploits football and basketball players so that “nonrevenue” athletes like me — runners, tennis players, golfers, gymnasts, swimmers — can both play and study.

Unlike college athletes who bring in revenue, nonrevenue athletes get to earn quality degrees. We are the beneficiaries of college athletics. Meanwhile, the professionalism required of big-time college football and basketball athletes leaves no time for the “student” part of the student-athlete equation.

As an undergraduate student and track and field athlete at University of North Carolina, I was the prototypical athlete you learn about in NCAA messaging: Elite athletics enhanced my education as I earned my degree to “go pro” in something other than sports.

So, then, she’s a Title IX baby who had her place paid for by the revenue generating sports.  She’s honest about that, along with how the demands on the student-athletes in those sports were different from those on her.

I embraced the weekly grind of the college athlete lifestyle, much like they did. I hit hard workouts, lifted weights and completed my prehab and rehab in the training room. But, unlike them, my sport responsibilities ended there. While they memorized playbooks, studied films and fulfilled media obligations, I escaped to the library in what became a love affair with history.

Thanks to the labor of football and basketball players, I did not pay for college, took full advantage of attending one of the top public universities in the nation, and traveled to cool places on the school’s dime.

She goes on to make a Jim Crow analogy that I’ll leave for another discussion, but my main question is more generic:  if her situation, which essentially was a full ride for a certain commitment level, is considered a baseline, is it really fair to limit consideration for student-athletes required to provide much greater contributions time-wise and effort-wise in sports that generate large sums of revenue for schools to a level that isn’t that much higher?



Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

31 responses to ““It may be difficult to view revenue-generating players as exploited.”

  1. Former Fan

    I think her perspective kills the whole “well they get a degree” argument. She’s saying that she gets a degree for a lot less effort. Ergo, the revenue athletes are underpaid.


  2. Former Fan

    I should have put this in the first comment but it slipped my mind. One of two things needs to happen:

    Limit the amount of time players can devote to the sport. i.e. close down the weight room, and practice fields, etc. during the offseason. Get rid of spring practice. Allow a reduced class load in the fall. Cut back on the number of games. Etc.
    Pay them for the work they are doing. All corporations revenue share via salaries. Time for college football to do the same.

    In the long run, the colleges will pay the players. They won’t give up the money in order to keep the “student” in “student athlete”.


    • They totally should allow a reduced class load in the fall.


    • Macallanlover

      “All corporations revenue share via salaries” As do athletic departments, you just don’t like the split. The costs include: all scholarship related expenses to the school (tuition, room, board, and books), training, coaching, facilities, medical oversight, insurance, tutors, so-called “cost of attendance” pay, etc. That is no small cost/salary for an “intern” to prep for their dream job.

      If your point was that corporations totally split profits with employees via salary, bonuses, and stock options, you may want to do some research. This is just a salary beef for cause people. I favored the spending money approach and felt it should be level nationally ($500-600 per month). I dislike the path it took because all the anticipated, usual games got played with it, but it seems to have died down and, hopefully, will stay an insignificant non-issue.


      • Mac, the problem is the cartel that is the NCAA. Its practices with regards to the players is going to be crushed in Kessler’s antitrust lawsuit. The only question will be what the new model looks like.


      • Former Fan

        I have a problem with the distribution only for one reason… its not based on the free market. If the free market determined all the players should get was a scholly, then so be it. If a cartel determins that, then yea, that cartel needs to come down. Cartels are against the law and unethical. Way past time for the courts to deal with the collusion that is preventing a free market.


        • Macallanlover

          Oh, I believe both you and ee believe what you have stated, I just disagree with your positions. The players are well compensated, imo, and if you compare it to what other “undeveloped interns” get (including the incredible auditions/exposure to future employers) they should have have zero complaints. There are far more important/significant causes to support. Again, my opinion. Anyone expecting fans to feel sorry for full scholarship athletes is laughable to me, but there are plenty of people in line who feel as you do. Life is tough on the plantation for the free riders, who knew?


  3. As long as the NCAA and its member institutions can maintain its labor cartel as the status quo, they are going to do it. Burn it down, Jeffrey Kessler, burn it down.

    The money is too big now to return to a student-athlete model in the 2 money sports. The question is whether or not the athletes get to participate in the revenue sharing.


    • Former Fan

      Right on. I’ve never been a huge fan of lawsuits. But they are absolutely necessary to keep society in some working order. They come at a great cost to society, but the cost without them would be even greater.


  4. Thorn Dawg

    I asked this same question in another thread this morning, but why can’t the revenue generating (student) athletes major in what they’re good at and passionate about? There are huge salaries and many, many career choices in Football, Basketball, and Baseball. This could solve a lot of problems.


    • Some do. After Keith Marshall got hurt, he changed his major from management to finance because he wanted to be challenged (not saying management isn’t a challenging major itself). The Stinchcomb brothers majored in highly challenging subjects. Of course, Terry Hoage famously majored in genetics. Myron Rolle at FSU was declared too smart to play in the NFL because he wanted to attend medical school and pursue the Rhodes Scholarship he had earned. Many are steered by coaches and counselors into majors to keep them eligible.


      • Thorn Dawg

        What I’m asking is why can’t these athletes major in Football, Basketball, or Baseball? Why do they need to major in Sociology, Underwater Basket weaving, Finance, Romance Languages, Female Studies, Art, Music, or Anthropology?

        Careers in Football, Basketball, and Baseball can pay huge salaries outside of playing the sport.


        • Agreed. There needs to be some type of track where you are killing 2 birds with one stone here–whether you’re going to become the next college GA on the Kirby track, the next beloved middle school PE/coach of everything or the next Jimmy Sexton, it should all be incorporated.

          There should be a way where some large chunk of your 120 hr requirement can be completed at the Butts Mehre. Or they need to reduce the academic load to only a 20hr requirement total in any full academic year but give them 6 years to finish the degree, i.e. another 2 paid-in-full years after their eligibility runs out.


        • 92 grad

          I think the main problem is really the ability to design a degree program that will get passed by the board of regents. Every major has to be built hour by hour within one of the schools within the university, it’s a pretty serious endeavor and touches on the accreditation process all schools go through regularly.


          • Thorn Dawg

            Year One: History of Football
            Year Two: Game Management/Strategy
            Year Three: Football Administration
            Year Four: Football Economics

            Minor in a business/public relations degree, and you’re on you’re way to a career at Butts-Mehre.


  5. ASEF

    Above and beyond additional compensation…

    Let’s say Georgia created majors in football, basketball, softball and baseball. For every course in their “major,” they also earned a credit towards a future course, undergrad or grad. So, a guy who went pro after three years could have his degree in football and 3 or 4 semesters of free education waiting for him if and when he chooses to return. A guy or gal who invested 4 years in their sport and exhausted their eligibility would have 4 or 5 semesters of additional undergrad or grad school paid for.

    I have no issue with additional money, as long as it doesn’t become an excuse to pull back with the other hand.


  6. DawgPhan

    Doesn’t the NCAA also still allow the olympic sports athletes to have sponsors for their olympic training, but still be considered amateur?

    So they have even made the consideration before for other sports.


  7. Bright Idea

    It seems that more football players than ever are eager for a degree of some sort. The rules have forced the schools to help them in every way. Basketball is still making a mockery of the term student-athlete. Do the one and dones even go to class 2nd semester?


  8. Normaltown Mike

    meh. So she enjoyed school, BFD.

    I was in challenging classes with several football players that chose to maximize the education opportunity. I also knew non-revenue athletes that had no business being enrolled at UGA (and this was in the 90’s so it’s not like we had rigorous standards) that were there for the booze and the women, not the rigorous education that she so adored.

    people make choices.


    • True. I’ll always remember David Greene majored in Risk Mgmt / Insurance. That program is #2 in the country behind only Penn. I was coming through Terry at the same time and Chris Daniels absolutely kicked my a** grade wise in that class. And I was an out-of-state kid that came in with the highest marks from a private school. (Remember, Daniels’ name got slung through the mud because of a bogus “academic fraud” PE class that should not have been a requirement to begin with. I may be forgetting something, but in any case, dude balled out in the 1 Terry class I had with him)


  9. CPark58

    Pay the big revenue sports players a bonus after their graduation for their sacrifice, floating the rest of the athletic department, not to mention the money and exposure generated for school. The non revenue sports, per this article, aren’t eligible for the reasons she outlines. Done.


    Stop making academic exceptions based on athletic ability for the big revenue sports and limit the focus of the sport for the athlete…that shit ain’t happening.


  10. Mark

    A decision to pay the players raises other questions: which players? Do we pay players in revenue-generating sports only? Of do we pay players in the non-revenue-generating sports, as well? And among the revenue-generating players, do we pay walk-on scout teamers, or not?


    • David K.

      And which schools as well? Surely being a basketball player at UNC generates more $$ than a basketball player at Georgia, and vice versa with football. So then are some schools able to offer more when recruiting?


    • And which players ? I mean, that Tua Tagoviola kid held a clipboard all year, surely they could give him the bare minimum, right ?


  11. Squatchdawg

    I still think we overlook the value in being able to essentially audition for a multimillion dollar per year job that only a small % of people will ever have a chance at. The revenue generated is building the vehicle used to give them this opportunity.

    Also I’m pretty sure the Universities generate revenue in patents and other research from students – and the students are happy with the resume boost and opportunity. Should they get paid as well?


    • Squatchdawg

      OMG I just read the rest of her editorial and lost 20 IQ points. She implies that there’s institutional racism because the % of black students at UNC is lower than the % of the black athletes on the basketball and football teams. “If you’re black and not an athlete good luck at getting into UNC”

      2018 – when affirmative action apparently isn’t affirmative enough. Why don’t we just do away with testing entirely and enroll students based on predetermined racial quotas.


  12. doofusdawg

    As I commented in one of your previous posts on this subject… as soon as the football and basketball players get paid then the title ix and other sports participants will cry foul that they are prevented from seeking some form of compensation. I am sure the complaint is already written and ready to be filed… somewhere.


  13. I view this as doofus does (wait…that sounds more than slightly incriminating) in that the current climate all over the entertainment world will not abide payment of masculine athletes at the exclusion of ladyfolk. Though *rump was at the CFP game so there’s that to consider.


  14. HVL Dawg

    After following that link I was shocked, shocked I say, to learn that James Franco scored some babes.


  15. Noonan

    Does a degree in History have any economic value? I’m skeptical.


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