A liberal’s guide to student-athlete compensation

Accusing those of us who favor free-market solutions to replace the NCAA’s amateurism model of being liberal no doubt makes those who shout that feel better, but makes little sense to its intended targets.  What we’re asserting is certainly a change to the status quo, but it’s got nothing to do with being a social justice warrior.

Don’t take my word for that, either.  Here’s how Jonathan Chait, a left-of-center commentator at New York Magazine, defines the difference between the two groups:

If you are a philosophically committed libertarian, there is no need to explore this question any further. Individuals are morally entitled to earn what the market will bear, and any mechanism that infringes on the natural market distribution is inherently suspect. There’s not much need to know anything else about the situation. But if, like me, you’re not a laissez-faire absolutist but instead see markets as a tool that work well in some circumstances but not others, then you would need to know more about the specifics of the situation before deciding.

This may sound like a completely abstract discussion of a concrete problem with obvious human consequences. But it’s impossible to come up with a solution for reforming college athletics without first deciding what problem you want to solve. Is the problem artificial barriers are preventing people from capturing their market value? Or is the problem college athletes are being overworked and under-rewarded? Those two different conceptions of the problem lead to very different kinds of solutions.

The gender-equity issue is one immediate illustration. A scheme to pay college athletes on the basis of their market value will reward only male athletes. With very few exceptions, money-earning college sports are limited to football and men’s basketball. If market principles are your moral guidelines, then you have no problem with universities paying men’s basketball players but not women’s basketball players. Market principles would also dictate paying marching-band members and cheerleaders, who work hard and whose performances play an important role in drawing spectators. But if you think college athletes should be paid on the basis of the work they put in, then you’re going to pay all the athletes, not just the ones who participate in sports that have attracted profit-sustaining fan bases.

I’ll get back to discussing how badly Chait whiffs here in a minute, but first, let’s look at his proposed solution to the problem.

1. Lift the NBA one-and-done rule. Disproportionate attention has focused on the relatively small number of basketball players who are forced into college for a year, and have no intention of graduating, or using their education for any purpose other than maintaining technical eligibility. Most of the rage at this absurd state of affairs has focused on the NCAA. “If you look at the pros and the cons, college basketball is a big con,” Kylia Carter, the mother of Duke freshman Wendell Carter, tells William Rhoden.

But it wasn’t Duke or the NCAA that made her son spend a year on campus when he wanted to play professionally. The NBA has a rule barring players under 19 years old. The solution is for the NBA to open more professional paths for men’s basketball players who don’t want to attend college. That would end the one-and-done farce. Just this week, top high-school recruit Darius Bazley announced that, rather than spend a year playing college basketball, he would go straight to the NBA’s developmental league. “I’m aware that this might start a trend and that’s one of the reasons why I am doing this,” he explained. “Someone has to start the fire.”

Professional football can follow suit (and there is also some movement to do so). Keeping college sports as an avenue for athletes who also want to pursue a college education will be better for college sports. And it will also require that the NCAA create more protections so that players can actually fulfill this promise.

2. Universal stipends for college athletes. The U.S. Soccer case shows how difficult it would be for universities to justify a scheme that pays some athletes more than others. The payments should be shared equally, on the basis of hours of effort put in, not on how many people an athlete gets to watch them on television. Band members and cheerleaders should qualify, too.

3. Guaranteed five-year scholarships. The old four-year model envisioned sports as an extracurricular activity that could be performed on the side while a student studied. The demands of sports make this difficult for many. Every scholarship athlete should be guaranteed five years of free tuition and room and board during which they can have four years of athletic eligibility. The scholarship should only be revokable in cases of proven misconduct or academic failure. No pushing kids out of school because they failed to develop athletically.

4. Unions for college athletes. We have an institution that specializes in bargaining for humane work conditions and protection of vulnerable employees: unions. Northwestern football players tried to form a union, and were denied by the National Labor Relations Board. But some union-like organization could be formed in place of a formal one, and it would take on the role of collective bargaining. That would help ensure that as much of the surplus revenue generated by profitable college sports is shared by college students, rather than lavishly paid administrators and coaches.

Like what you’re hearing there?  Hell, some of you need to look in the mirror, as number one seems to be the favorite choice of everyone defending the status quo, never mind that (1) it’s one thing over which the NCAA exercises zero control and (2) as even Chait admits, will affect a very small number of players.

But let’s go back to the point where Chait’s argument goes off the rails.  [WARNING:  Economics ahead.]

The larger conceptual problem is that the vast majority of college athletes do not have market value. That category includes virtually all female athletes, virtually all male athletes in sports other than football and basketball, and even many football and men’s basketball players. Indeed, they have negative market value. College athletes are recruited out of high school as prospects, and a huge percentage of those prospects never pan out. Once those players have shown that they aren’t going to develop as the coaches hoped, they become a liability, taking up a precious roster spot that could instead be given to an incoming recruit who has a chance to become a star.

Allow Andy Schwarz to retort.

In other words, you don’t get to go back in time and undo a deal that didn’t work out when you signed the kid out of high school.  (If you could, boy, wouldn’t that be a great way to get rid of bad coaching contracts?)  With this kind of labor, you bet on the come in the real world and you don’t get mulligans.  (Sorry for the mixed metaphor there.)

Beyond that, if kids weren’t generating enough value to justify the current arrangement, the schools would have reduced what they’ve been offering to recruits.  As they haven’t done so…

Further, as Schwarz notes, uncapping the labor market lifts all boats, because Title IX will require some matching effort be made for women student-athletes.

Beyond that, Chait completely ignores the potential third-party market for players’ NLIs.  That’s a position he shares with Mark Emmert.

Advocates of the Olympic model believe allowing players to receive above-board deals and vetting agents like the NBA and NFL would solve some of these issue, as the economy for elite basketball players is there whether the NCAA allows it or not.

“I think one of the things that this recent scandal in college basketball has shown us is that there is money out there to give to the athletes that doesn’t hurt the NCAA or the university economically,” said University of Houston professor Dr. Billy Hawkins, who has written extensively on the sociology of the NCAA.

Asked specifically about the Olympic model this week, Emmert said the NCAA will have to decide what the organization seeks to be.

Emmert said the fundamental principle is “whether or not we want to have college sports as it exists today — that’s student-athletes playing student-athletes — or whether we want to move toward a model where these are employees that are compensated, whether directly or indirectly, for their performances.”

Which leads to a puzzling accusation by Chait:

The fixation with markets as the solution to college sports has always been strange. Sports in general have never operated along purely market principles, even at the professional level. (Only professional sports can deny a person the right to work in the city of their choice simply because a firm in another city has drafted the exclusive right to make them go live and work there.) College sports are especially un-conducive to market principles. They didn’t evolve to fill a market need but a social one, and the vast majority of its participants do not serve any capitalistic function. Unless you believe the expansion of market forces is everywhere and always a virtuous development, the proper response to the encroachment of market dynamics into college sports is to push back.

Hmmm… maybe that explains why Rutgers is a proud member of the Big Ten these days.  Thus endeth the lesson.

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85 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

85 responses to “A liberal’s guide to student-athlete compensation

  1. The market distortion called out about work location is the result of the CBA. The drafts are creations of the teams and the players’ associations.

    I would be comfortable with non-revocable 5-year scholarships as described here, more liberalized (not free agency) transfer rules, and the ability to trade on name and likeness. Throw in reform of training and development rules that make the student-athlete look more like a student than an athlete with appropriate health care for the long-term effects of injuries.

    If the NCAA won’t relent on some of these issues, then I hope Jeffrey Kessler burns the whole thing to the ground.

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  2. Former Fan

    Hard for me to see how this is a liberal issue. As a free market conservative (i.e. one that sees regulation needed to encourage competition but not to make everything fair), I have no issue with the men in college football and basketball making a ton of money because they bring in a ton of money. Women’s softball players and basketball players might get a wage hike too. Not sure where people are coming from that call wanting to pay wages based on the market liberal. What would be liberal would be wanting the women tennis player to make the same amount of money as the starting QB even though one brings more in demand talent than the other. That’s not a free (but regulated to encourage competition) market either. Paying the players what the market demans, would seem like a very conservative/libertarian thing to do, IMO.

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  3. sniffer

    Our sources say the incredible 991.2 GT3 will be the last naturally-aspirated GT3 Porsche will make…

    I could not for the life of me understand why this debate “rages” at GTP. Then it hit me. Click. Bait. See above. Mommy wants new shoes and daddy wants a new car..

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  4. CPark58

    At the end of the day, college athletics are really a partnership between the players and the universities, and the universities are royally screwing the partners they need. Without the training, facilities, and notoriety associated with big time athletics the players are just gifted teenagers with aspirations. HOWEVER, without the natural talent of the athletes, most of whom are admitted to the university solely because of their athletic ability, the interest level and in turn, the obscene amount of money would be limited to mostly donations, small market tv deals, and ticket sales to a much smaller group of alumni.

    I’ve said it before many times but a compromise would be to:
    4-5 year contract w/ hold a % of revenue, including tv deals, ticket sales, merchandise, branding, and allow them to personally endorse products with the money going back to the university, in escrow for 5 years and release equally to the players upon graduation. Kinda like a graduation 401k except if you don’t graduate, your piece of the pie goes to the rest of the athletes.

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    • Personally endorse products with money going to the university to be held in escrow until graduation? I’m sure Michael Dell would have signed up for that while building mail order PCs in his dorm room in Austin. You talk about a conflict of interest … universities would try to figure out ways to keep players eligible without them graduating so they could keep the money earned.

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      • CPark58

        you’re probably right, but i was just spit balling trying to address all the issues at hand. Not like it matters at all anyway because it ain’t gonna happen.

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        • Gaskilldawg

          Why would you withhold the money from the players during the only four years of their lives that they are otherwise unable to work and earn an income?

          When Todd Gurley’s Mom needed rent money the landlord wasn’t going to wait until Todd drew his “graduation 401(k)”

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  5. ASEF

    I love it when political or social commentary journalists wade into college sports. They get so much wrong, typically because they start with a half-assed understanding of the issue. Then they proceed to “fix it” with predictable ideological prescriptions that warp the discussion even further. Happens from both directions.

    One thing market-based discussions never include is the fact that demand for these scholarship spots in all sports vastly exceeds the supply of spots. It’s fine to discuss paying players, but if that’s your position, you HAVE to advocate removal of the 85 limit. That’s an artificial prescription exponentially inflating the value of spots at a program like Georgia football, as well as denying opportunity to players. But it never enters the discussion at all.

    I don’t see how you can do one without the other.

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    • Former Fan

      The same way any company does it. Many apply, but only a few are chosen. The NFL limits it’s rosters. Every company on earth limits the number of employees. What makes sports different is they often act like one big company and limit each division (team) to the same numbe. They need an anti-trust agreement or a bargaining agreement to be able to do that. I think the NCAA will eventually petition congress for an anti-trust agreement.

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      • ASEF

        Companies do. Industries do not.

        Imagine Cheerwine telling Coca Cola how many people they could hire.

        And NFL roster sizes are collectively bargained.

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  6. treedawg21

    This topic has always been so frustrating for me. Every participant in this system is operating as rational actors in a market (salaries for coaches, facilities improvements) except for the NBA and NFL Players union. I will agree that the NCAA does not operate with the best intentions, but the expectation that they solve the market inefficiency thrust upon them by the professional leagues is foolhardy. I am a full advocate for no age limits or restrictions on eligibility for professional leagues (no one and done, no 3-year football rule, no baseball high school or 3 years system). If Chubb wants to go pro after his freshman year, let him. If a baseball player or basketball player wants to go directly from high school, let him. I am tired of treating 18-year old’s as participants in society who have no agency in their decisions. If all players can go pro at any point, the colleges will have no expectation that they should compensate those players who have market value. College is for those who appreciate the value that they give them (academic enrichment, lower risk TV exposure, life experience). For those who don’t want that, go pro. Obviously, this will lead to some who go pro who shouldn’t, but who should be policing that behavior? It’s the professional leagues and the individual athlete. College sports should be enjoyed by those who derive value from it, not something that is the only answer for an athlete. One issue with this argument that was raised by John Calipari is actually pretty compelling. I don’t want those to forgo high school academic achievement on the hopes that they go pro. But we can’t be too prescriptive on how we handle the young people of our country. I am aware of societal problems with allowing high school grads to go pro that I have not been able to fully rationalize, and I admit that. My solution will overwhelmingly impact those of lower economic status who will engage in riskier behavior by skipping college for a quicker financial solution. This short-term vs long term decision is understandable for those with lower means. I am also not yet advocating any fix to the NCAA itself, which as the Senator pointed out, is an abdication of responsibility. I am just tired of no national conversation on how the leagues themselves have created this problem.

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    • If all players can go pro at any point, the colleges will have no expectation that they should compensate those players who have market value.

      Why so?

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      • treedawg21

        I guess that is a good point. They will have to “compensate” them in a non-financial way that is compelling enough for them to not leave school early. Just like a coach convincing a great player to stay for their senior year.

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        • There’s enough money to go around. And isn’t keeping talented players in school for another year a good thing for college sports fans?

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          • treedawg21

            I absolutely want talented players to stay around as long as possible. I am first and foremost a college sports fan. There is enough money to go around, for sure. It’s all of the problems with equity across athletes, sports and schools that are created once we open that Pandora’s box. If we have to operate within the constraint that the professional leagues will do nothing to solve this problem (which is probably the correct option set), I would advocate for players able to trade on name and likeness during school, but if they are currently receiving a scholarship to do so, they should disperse those funds across all student athletes at the university. This solves the equity issue. Some players may opt out of their scholarships to receive private funding, but that is a risk they take upon themselves. If Nick Chubb wants to take an endorsement deal, he can opt out of his scholarship and the school can credibly say “he is paying his own way.” As you can guess, even this system will cause bigger headaches than we currently have now. Also, if the scholarships are only renewable yearly offers, there should be no restrictions on unlimited transfer of players.

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            • I would advocate for players able to trade on name and likeness during school, but if they are currently receiving a scholarship to do so, they should disperse those funds across all student athletes at the university. This solves the equity issue. Some players may opt out of their scholarships to receive private funding, but that is a risk they take upon themselves. If Nick Chubb wants to take an endorsement deal, he can opt out of his scholarship and the school can credibly say “he is paying his own way.”

              Why does there have to be such a trade off?

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              • treedawg21

                I appreciate the probe. As I mentioned – the better solution rests with the leagues…but I am diving into this part of the argument as a novice.

                I think a fundamental problem is that there is an expectation that there will be equity across all student athletes. If this is not a constraint, then there is no reason for the trade-off. I think we should assume that any movement toward compensation of players will have a component of a “wink and a nod’ toward the end of equality among those who receive a scholarship. Title IX advocates and those who are aware of the state funds that go to universities will assuredly have their say on this topic. If schools are truly the ones who will be “paying players,” I have difficulty seeing a system that in unequal in financial compensation that does not run up against equal rights issues.

                Unequal compensation will have to come from the private sector, if at all.

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                • Former Fan

                  So long as the schools earn money off the kids playing for them, the kids can be compensated. Just because a kid isn’t good enough to turn pro doesn’t mean his not good enough to earn the college money. He should be compensated for his labor based off what the market determines.

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            • Got Cowdog

              Tree said “Pandora’s Box”. Is that still a drinking game? Should I pull over and drink now or can I wait until I’m off work?

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    • treedawg21

      and yes, the players unions are operating as rational actors…they want to enrich current players at the expense of future ones.

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  7. What you’re missing here Senator, is that it’s an either or proposition.

    Either you accept the tenants of Title IX, which is government regulation that demands an equal playing field where one does not exist in opposition to the free market, or you junk Title IX and begin paying players what they are worth in the market. Also, if you pay athletes, which I’m not opposed to, scholarships should go away as well.

    So, a “liberal,” which is a term that has lost all of it’s actual meaning, I think you mean “progressive,” in this case, will demand “equal pay for equal work,” regardless of the fact that the work of some is far more valued than the work of others, and yes, while many times that follows down gender lines, not always is this the case.

    A fiscal conservative or libertarian would argue that you pay players what they’re worth, because life isn’t fair. If more people find more worth in college football than in women’s track, well, then those football players should be paid far more than those track athletes. In this case, most women’s sports and many men’s sports wouldn’t be paid anything. In actuality, in this case, they would actually OWE their schools money as they are no longer covered by scholarship.

    There are many hidden costs in the pay model the vast majority of progressives never see because most progressives have no idea how economics actually work. It’s not just room, board, tuition, text books. These young men and women are receiving elite coaching that costs thousands and in some cases, hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. Everything goes in the pot when you decide to pay players and junk Title IX and scholarships. In this scenario, football keeps all of the money generated by football. That means the TV money football earns doesn’t go into paying for women’s sports and other men’s sports that don’t make money.

    So outside of the meager donations the UGA women’s track team may get from donors, who is going to foot the bill for the Championship-level coaching these young women get? Well, no one shows up to enough meets to be able to pay the coaches. Someone has to pay the coaches, for the equipment, the travel. The team, if run like a business that pays its workers, must, if not make a profit, at least break even. Some Nike money and sponsorships will help, yes. But if the company (school) isn’t breaking even, then “layoffs,” will occur. Or a bill will come due to the athletes for all of the “free” coaching, training, equipment, travel, lodging, food, and schooling they get? In the free market, that’s how it would actually work. Anything else is nonsense.

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    • Where do the Olympic model and Title IX intersect? That wouldn’t cost schools a dime.

      Why would a school have to quit offering scholarships if student-athletes were being paid? There are plenty of other ways to foot the bill than what you suggest as hard reality: pay a head coach $6 million a year, instead of $7 million; pay a coordinator $500K less; spend $50 million instead of $63 million on stadium renovation; don’t build waterfalls in locker rooms; don’t offer coaches and ADs obscene buyout provisions are just a few that come to mind quickly.

      If schools and the NCAA had to quit treating their revenue flows like found money because of an artificially restricted market for labor, they wouldn’t spend so recklessly.

      Needless to say, I disagree with your assessment of my analysis.

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    • Derek

      Another way of putting it is that an entity that has a women’s equestrian team that is a net economic loser, may not be a purely economic actor.

      The university of georgia’s sports programs may have some attributes of a business, but it isn’t a business in any traditional sense. It knowingly wastes money without hope of remuneration and with no thought that they are making an investment. It collects donations from any and everyone.

      This is not the business practice of Google or Apple or BP or any company looking for a ROI for its shareholders. You can’t then ascribe traditional wage and labor standards on it simply because the money is there.

      This is not a political or an economic argument. What we have is mutual exploitation because both sides have lost sight of the foundational reasons colleges have sports programs. I would admit that the schools get the better financial end of the exploitation game. However, if you don’t think there are talented kids who get their free ride, coast on talent and then wait to turn it on when the paychecks start getting signed, then you aren’t paying attention.

      The answer isn’t to pretend that the UGAAA is a business entity that must pay its labor just like anyone else. The answer is to get to the foundational root of why it pays money so girls can play softball and get a free education.

      If tomorrow CBS gave the SEC 60 million to broadcast women’s softball, it doesn’t follow that everything must now change and the star pitcher should be able to sign a contract with Nike and stay eligible. Why? She isn’t yet a professional. If she doesn’t like the arrangement she is free to leave and pursue whatever professional arrangements she can make with those talents.

      Yes the colleges lucked up and found a pile of money, but you can’t say that’s why they are in it. In fact, most of the profit is a direct result of the existence and business presences of the professional leagues themselves.

      In short, the colleges should be able to decide for themselves how they want to run their programs consistent with the values that led to their initiation, or their greed as you may see it. Nobody is forced to participate.

      My preference as stated many times is to simply eliminate lower admission standards for athletes and the problem of mutual exploitation is solved.

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      • In short, the colleges should be able to decide for themselves how they want to run their programs consistent with the values that led to their initiation, or their greed as you may see it.

        As long as they’re not in violation of antitrust law, anyway.

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        • Derek

          True dat. Anything that reduces exploitation, I’m for that.

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          • Former Fan

            Remove the anti-trust violations and the free market will pay some kids but not others.

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            • Not sure I agree that one follows the other.

              Profiting off of likenesses and restricting transfers have anti-trust implications. I’m on the players side on each fwiw. Not sure there is a credible anti-trust case that requires compensation for players.

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              • Former Fan

                The NCAA can’t limit compensation. Confences can. I don’t see how an anti-trust win for the players will allow the NCAA to continue to state “team A cannot pay $50,000 to their QB”. Anti-trust will break up the NCAA. Now a conference may be able to limit players, but that is because one conference competes with another. Once the NCAA can no longer enforce a limit/cap on player compensation, the schools will compete for the best players because schools with the best players will make more money.

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                • Is it an antitrust violation for Exxon to be disallowed from placing a Senator on salary? Especially if he is doing their work for them?

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                  • Former Fan

                    Its an anti-trust violation for all the oil companies to determine a price they are willing to pay or not pay the Senator for his labor performed for them. That is collusion. That’s what the NCAA is doing. Exxon can decide to pay him whatever they and the Senator agree to so long as all the oil companies do not collude together to determine that salary.

                    That’s why the NCAA can’t determine the pay structure.

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                    • Derek

                      Actually, Exxon can’t pay the senator a salary at all and there’s no antitrust violation in banning such payments.

                      Not paying players isn’t an antitrust violation. It won’t be found to be an antitrust violation.

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  8. Ellis

    I don’t think the argument is liberal v conservative v libertarian. The fact is athletes do get paid, in large revenue sports those salaries are easily over six figures, not to mention future earnings potential regardless of a professional career in a given sport. If an athlete wants to test the market and see if they are worth even more then I would have no problem with professional leagues allowing high school athletes to be drafted.

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    • Former Fan

      Why does one need to be in a “professional” league to test the market? There’s a market for college players too and that value is being suppressed as colleges collude with one another to set a salary not determined by the market.

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      • Ellis

        How can you say it is not determined by the market? If I had scholarship offers to play football at Auburn and Stanford, one is obviously more valuable than the other. Just because an athlete may choose the less valuable offer doesn’t mean the market did not work.

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  9. Macallanlover

    It exists because the owner of this blog has adopted this “cause”, which is his right, and exactly how liberals act daily. Even if their cause can bring down a bigger need, they have to throw themselves into it. I get what he says, just don’t agree with the logic of where it leads. It also is OK to ignore that the free market would have rejected Title.

    I simply don’t agree with additional compensation for athletes in college, and that is my right. I feel the university owns the “business” of athletics, provides the platform, and accepts the losses when they are incurred, and is entitled to reap the profits when they come. Let the “free market” provide them with a platform that gives them them a better deal. If it isn’t there, they should either quit in protest, let the owners make the rules. This whole idea of burn it down if they don’t accept our demands is a bad path to take, particularly since it could end up depriving more people of the benefits currently provided. The unintended consequences of righting this “wrong” will cause a loss of scholarships to more minorities and females, imo. But of course, then the activists will demand a safety net to make sure there is deficit spending to right this new wrong, which was caused by them. We see similar results all around us for similar reasons. Doesn’t bother many, pisses me off. One of the downsides to a free society when those receiving the freebies can out vote the others. “A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always count on Paul’s support (vote).” Maybe we should just kick the can down the street and print more money. Let the snowflakes rage on.

    It is too pretty a day to not be on the golf course. It is Masters week after all, and words in this forum rarely change others’ opinions. To his credit, I don’t think the Senator posts this subject for click bait, it really means that much to him. And he is right, eventually the lawyers will make sure we follow this to its ugly conclusion, raking in millions in fees all the while. Golden Goose will get ill and die eventually but everyone will ignore the root cause that we voluntarily imposed on the old girl. MCFBGA? Why? We all see the costs will hurt more than it rewards, but we must get a few superstars (and their lawyers) some dollars, damn the consequences!

    I personally wish it would rain hundred dollar bills on everyone’s heads equally, unlimited healthcare would be free, every worker could be president of the company and make all the rules. But utopia isn’t reality; just modify things in a reasonable manner where the changes help things more than the damage they cause. I supported spending money for all scholarship athletes for decades before it happened but, imo, this is a dangerous path to go down. Respect others right to disagree, but probably shouldn’t have entered this fray again.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lots of straw men there, Mac. Enjoy your day on the golf course.

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    • Derek

      Just curious mac.

      If, as you say, the people who get the freebies distort elections can’t you see the possibility of even greater attempts to distort? First I would suggest that a great deal of the people getting “freebies” don’t participate. (Unless you are including SS and Medicare as “freebies.”). If you’re talking about programs that feed children, they don’t vote at all. Why do the idiot libs do that? Self interest? Electoral politics? Because hungry kids just seems wrong?

      Second, my concern about distortions is the opposite way. I think we’ve become an oligarchy where the rich have bought the government to suit its ends and then it sponsors propaganda to propagate it. They are setting American against American while filling there pockets.

      That concern actually has demonstrable facts. Over the last 40 years, the rich have gotten obscenely rich while the middle and lower asses have been left behind and told all sorts of stories of why that is happening, like “it’s the Mexicans!!. Meanwhile the only thing that gets done over and over is lowering rich peoples taxes. That’s it.

      So I can agree that your concern that a person in welfare can vote to maintain that program, that is far less power than buying a politician or a political party or a television station or Sinclair Broadcasting. In short, why the fuck do you think the dangerous political power in the country is in the hands of a poor person on welfare? Are you hitting the ball with those clubs or your head? Just wondering.

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      • Got Cowdog

        I don’t know what you call rich, but I am in the highest income bracket and the amount of tax I pay is criminal.
        It is to the point that I have to funnel funds into sheltered accounts to keep their actual value from being halved and cannot use them as I would like. So whatever your argument is, and I’ll call myself successful, not rich, the higher brackets do not get breaks, my man. The more income I have the less I am able to use it as I see fit without substantially reducing its real value through taxation.

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        • illini84

          Delta his ready when you are.

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        • If you’re paying a higher rate than your secretary then you’re not rich enough. Warren Buffet offered a million bucks 20 years ago to any CEO who could show that he paid a higher marginal tax rate than his secretary. To date, there are no takers.

          Just in terms of a percentage of your income being lost to various state, municipal and the federal Government, the folks making 100k are worse off than the ones making 500k and those folks are worse off than the ones that pay 250k for a ticket to a political fundraising dinner. In my view, that’s upside down.

          Buffett agrees with me: http://money.cnn.com/2013/03/04/news/economy/buffett-secretary-taxes/index.html

          The people who are struggling are behind you and I and the ones that are running the show and profiting from it are above us.

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          • dubyadee

            Derek,

            This is because of how CEOs make their money (stock options) being generally subject to capital gains treatment rather than some regressive payroll tax scheme. Ask high earning professionals (doctors, lawyers, bankers) whether they pay a higher marginal rate than their secretaries and you will get a very different answer.

            Of course, other non-progressive consumption and property taxes disproportionately affect the less wealthy, as they usually have a higher percentage of their wealth tied up in consumption and taxable property.

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      • Former Fan

        There’s no doubt that liberals have bought votes. Wisconsin was a case in point with the union donations to liberal politians. I think the same is true of a lot of giveaways and those folks do vote.

        You are right about the oligarchs though. Crony capitalism is not capitalism at all. We have moved away from the free market that use to be around. Companies now make more money by lobbying than by being competitive and that goes for both sides. The military complex isn’t so efficient but then neither was solandra nor telsa.

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        • I still say that you have to focus on the MAIN issue and not make perfect the enemy of the better.

          We just had huge tax cuts to the rich and we aren’t paying for them and they are going to blow a hole in the deficit. You have a small segment of this country that have paid to have themselves exempted from paying for it.

          50 years ago they set out (Grover Norquist, Paul Weyrich, the Heritage Foundation, etc., etc…..) to literally break government to achieve the destruction of the New Deal and Great Society (read Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid) and its happening without the consent of the voters. That’s a scandal and a major problem far greater than union dues.

          If they want to run on a platform that says: we’re ending these things, fine.
          Let them get 7% of the votes. But that’s not what they do. Instead they eliminate the government;s capacity to pay for them and them claim that they aren’t affordable any longer.

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          • Former Fan

            The voters put those folks in office knowing that a tax cut was forthcoming. Now, Obamacare was without the consent of the voters so much so, that Mass. put a republican in office for the sole purpose of stopping Obamacare. Unfortunately, the politicians didn’t listen. Fortunately, they lost their jobs for not listening.

            BTW, if the rich pay the vast majority of the taxes (and they do) and you have a progressive tax structure (and we do), it is impossible to cut the taxes paid by the non-rich without cutting taxes paid by the rich too. You know the old saying… want less of something tax it. Want more of something, tax it less than you do now.

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            • Derek

              Yes they knew there would be a tax cut. They werent told that the benefits would largely fall to people who make vastly more than them. No one ran on a let’s give the rich folks another huge tax break. What the people also don’t know because they aren’t told is that those revenue shortfalls are going to be used as an excuse to get rid of popular programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

              There are lots of things that could be done to give middle class folks tax relief and secure their future.

              However, what actually happens is that all policies are for and of the wealthy while they pit one group of poor folks against another. Facts are stubborn things.

              The richest 1% now owns over 50% of the world. That wasn’t the case before reaganomics aka “voodoo economics.” The idiots won’t be satisfied until they have 100%. They’ll be blaming the Mexicans, welfare queens, libruls etc… when we get there never considering for a moment that “trickle down economics” means you get pissed on.

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            • Now, Obamacare was without the consent of the voters….

              Except for that part where there were 18 months of public hearings and over 200 Republican amendments throughout the process that Dems eventually decided to pass via budget reconciliation in the Senate (not arguing for or against, but just pointing out how it was passed).

              You know – totally unlike a certain recent tax bill that was also passed by budget reconciliation in the Senate (i.e. simple 51 vote majority and NOT 2/3 vote) over the span of 4 weeks that was effectively written in the dark of night by tax lobbyists.

              As someone that is involved in implementing these sweeping changes in my organization, I can assure you it is a shittily written bill (SO MANY ERRORS) that could have been well written and benefited everybody except that Republicans refused to bother reaching across the aisle and do actual politicking to come up with a bipartisan solution to make the US tax structure more competitive with the rest of the world without fucking over John Q. Taxpayer when the individual provisions sunset in 8 years.

              You can certainly hate Obamacare, and I don’t begrudge you that, but at a minimum – health care reform started as a bipartisan effort. I’d like whatever it is that you’re smoking if you believe recent tax reform was somehow more the consent of the people than the process that resulted in Obamacare.

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              • Got Cowdog

                I have been very clear here about my apolitical stance. But If I read the fine print right on the healthcare act correctly, when I enroll my health care insurance cost is capped at roughly 7k a year regardless of income until Medicare takes over. That’s the last box to check on the retirement list. If this is correct (I’ll find out this week) then Ol’ Barack done me a solid.

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            • TL;DR version – Neither of the processes that resulted in Obamacare or tax reform is inherently more righteous than the other.

              Again – I scoff at your notion of “without the consent of voters.” I’m pretty damn sure folks voting blue circa 2008 knew that healthcare reform was policy priority for Dem leadership no different than folks voting red the last cycle knew tax cuts are also policy priority for the Rep’s.

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              • Derek

                True, but they lie about who’s going to be getting the benefits of those tax cuts and they hide their long term motivations: deconstruction Social Securiy, Medicare and Medicaid.

                I’d have a lot less of an issue if they would just say: we oppose those programs and we want them to end. That’s how they actually feel but they won’t say it because it’s political poison.

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    • illini84

      Kiss my ass.

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      • Got Cowdog

        Don’t be a hater, Bro.
        I’m just telling it like it is. But I have to say, Costa Rica is looking better and better as a place to spend my tax deferred dollars 😎

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        • illini84

          That wasn’t for you, it was for mr badass with his “snowflake” bullshit.

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        • AthensHomerDawg

          Missed your window. Best deals were in 2000. I found a place between Manual Antonio and Quepos overlooking the ocean. Great fishing. A friend a college roommate) who now lives in Poas) moved there after his divorce in 1998. Hes an attorney who helped with it all. Then Marina Pez Vela was opened in 2010. The economy for me soured and I learned a big lesson about the difference between rich and comfortable. Sold it. in 2011. Lol. You look back on those days and wonder what you could have done different. YOu sell off your baubles and toys to stay afloat and start again. If anybody in multifamily didn’t make big bank in 2015 and 2016 they weren’t trying,

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          • Got Cowdog

            I took a swift one in the taters around ‘06-08 as well. Was fortunate I remained liquid enough not to starve, but the Senator and his ilk were often the only ones to get paid on the deals.(No hard feelings, Bluto, nice Porsche 😉 ) Anyhoo, like you said I “learned a big lesson” and started over. I am now looking at being able to stage a vey nice exit from careerism but have finally found one that pays well and I truly enjoy. What’s a Dawg to do!?
            I was mostly kidding about Costa Rica. The Missus and I are looking at Germany. Congratulations AHD for surviving that time, that was some hairy-scary shit for a while.

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    • Former Fan

      So liberals “bring down a bigger need with their cause”? In other words, you are more along the lines of “From each according to his ability. To each according to his need” kind of conservative?

      What bigger need are we talking about here? For the life of me, I can’t see how any conservative would be against a true market wage for any laborer. At the writer of the article rightly noted, the true progressive would want to see how the women are impacted, the men in lesser sports, etc.

      Paying players is a no brainer for libertarians or free market enthusiast. The greater need… what does that even mean when it comes to college football?

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    • CB

      Genuine question: Have you ever worked in college athletics? I don’t mean that to be too snarky, it’s just that you seem like a smart dude, but you don’t seem to have a solid grasp on the way college athletics actually works. There is nuance to it.

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  10. CB

    2 things:

    I don’t like the idea of a professional minor league for football. That would rob UGA of great players like Gurley, Greene, and Stafford etc. That is just me being selfish though.
    Billy Hawkins taught at UGA 10 years ago. That doesn’t add to the discussion at all, I just thought some of you might find that interesting.

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  11. Mayor

    This issue is neither liberal nor conservative. It is a question of right and wrong. Is theft a liberal or conservative issue? A crime is a crime no matter what your politics. The fact is college athletes are being taken advantage of by university administrators–for profit.

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    • Paul

      Colleges offer a scholarship to play football. They don’t offer monetary compensation. Take it if leave it.

      I don’t want compensation in college athletics – it doesn’t belong there.

      That said, the NCAA shouldn’t be able use the NFL or any pro organization to enforce a term of commitment. An athlete should not be restricted from going pro at any point if they so choose, unless colleges can enforce a multi year contract signed by a prospective student athlete by and between the athlete and the school.

      It doesn’t matter if the school loses money or makes millions. They’re offering a scholarship to play. Do you want a Scholarship to our University? Here are the terms…

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      • End the union closed shop known as the NFL Players Association.

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      • South FL Dawg

        The school is paying the players but withholding the money and remitting it to the academic side on their behalf. This is form vs substance. If your employer offers health insurance but they deduct it from your paycheck then you would say you are paying for your health insurance. The athletes are paying for their tuition.

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  12. South FL Dawg

    I have no idea where I fit in this philosophical scenario. I want to kill the tax exemption for athletics and force schools to put the money into real education in order to get a tax deduction. The rest we can compromise on later. However, because I know the tax exemption won’t be killed, I’ll settle for free market. Whatever hat I have to wear is fine with me.

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    • Paul

      It is a free market as long as schools can’t use other private entities to enforce attendance.

      If I chose to take a job earning substandard pay and no health insurance, then my choice is on me. As an organization, the NCAA has no requirement to insure you get a job commensurate with your “worth.” They cannot however, take an action that would prevent you from doing so if the market will afford you something better.

      Start a minor football league, if the market will support one. If their is collusion between the NCAA And the NFL to prevent it, sue them.

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  13. Paul

    I would ask readers to consider this:

    If this market (college football) is so profitable, and said profitability is due in a measurable amount to student athletes who don’t really care about the college aspect as much as the development and exposure necessary to make it in the pros, don’t you think there is an endless supply of wealthy people who would love nothing more than to start a semi-pro or minor league football team using said players, hoping for a small fraction of the profits the NCAA receives?

    Personally, I don’t think a minor league football would be any more successful than minor baseball. The worth of college athletics is driven by 1) alumni and team identity pride and 2) the draw of amateur sports.

    I believe that UGA fans want to win. They want to beat Bama. UGA fans will pay to see UGA beat Bama with whatever team we put on the field. The fact that our desire to win has driven our team and others to bring in a high percentage of players that wouldn’t ordinarily matriculate, has created such an obtuse viewpoint of what college athletics should be.

    Should the fact that we’ve driven college athletics to such a distorted place just so we can win, compel us to now pay players?

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    • If this market (college football) is so profitable, and said profitability is due in a measurable amount to student athletes who don’t really care about the college aspect as much as the development and exposure necessary to make it in the pros, don’t you think there is an endless supply of wealthy people who would love nothing more than to start a semi-pro or minor league football team using said players, hoping for a small fraction of the profits the NCAA receives?

      If the real world always worked like this, you wouldn’t need antitrust laws at all, because the market would always self-correct. Take a look around. Is that what you see out there?

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      • Paul

        It depends on the barriers to entry. Monetary, technical and anti-competitive behavior . Technical is typically what we see today, although money can be. I don’t think either one pose a significant barrier in this case. The only thing that I could see getting in the way would be anti-competitive practices. Again, if there is collusion, sue.

        NFL teams want to win too. They’ll accept a felon in a minute. If the market can provide winning players from a different path than the status quo, I think the NFL would be all in.

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    • Now let me ask you a question in return: if the NCAA abandoned amateurism tomorrow, what would you expect would happen to the overall level of player compensation?

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      • Paul

        I don’t know. From a fan/alumni standpoint, I don’t think I would walk away, but UGA sports would lose much of its luster. Over time, I think a general malaise would set in among fan bases.

        How do you think non-alums would view UGA football versus Falcon football? Much of our fan base has never set foot in Athens. What do you think attracts them to UGA football?

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        • I don’t know. From a fan/alumni standpoint, I don’t think I would walk away, but UGA sports would lose much of its luster. Over time, I think a general malaise would set in among fan bases.

          I didn’t ask whether your enthusiasm would suffer. I asked if the players would receive more compensation if the NCAA weren’t artificially restraining the market.

          You really believe Todd Gurley didn’t have any value at all to Nike until the second he announced he was going pro?

          Since you mention it, though, how’s your enthusiasm been doing since schools started paying a COA stipend and then raising it?

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  14. TnDawg

    “Accusing those of us who favor free-market solutions to replace the NCAA’s amateurism model of being liberal no doubt makes those who shout that feel better, but makes little sense to its intended targets.”

    That’s it in a nutshell. A liberal bases decisions on felling better. Is that you?

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  15. mg4life0331

    So when Sony Michel makes more than Marylou Smuckatelli on the softball team because of “free market” then the liberals can bitch about the gender wage gap.

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  16. doofusdawg

    Looks like you have an ally in Fox news. And the CBC is now on the case. Like everything else today it appears it’s all about race. Congratulations.

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  17. BrooklynDawg

    For an economics perspective, here’s a full journal issue focused on the NCAA’s cartel power: https://link.springer.com/journal/11151/52/2/page/1

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