During a question-and-answer session with those in attendance Thursday at the SeaGate Centre for the “Access for Justice” awards dinner, Harbaugh hinted that paying players might not work.
“Four years of playing high school football, I don’t think anybody’s looked back on that and said they wish they hadn’t played,” Harbaugh said. “But now you take all those people who played all four years of high school football, I believe the percentage is 1 percent of them will go on to play college football.
“And then all of the players that play college football, I think again the percentage is actually 1 percent that will actually play in an NFL game.”
Where is Harbaugh going with all this? He’s trying to push the idea that college athletes should focus on their education, first and foremost.
That means obtaining a degree at a four-year school, or a two-year school, the military, or even a trade school.
“Something after high school is a must these days,” Harbaugh said. “Really, that education is what’s the most valuable and what’s the most important. Sometimes, somebody thinks what’s good for them and what they need are two different things.”
But here’s where Harbaugh gets serious on the matter, questioning whether paying players a salary would really work. Say a player receivers a $65,000 athletic scholarship, he says, and then a school tacks on a $30,000 or $40,000 salary.
What happens when it comes time to pay taxes?
“I don’t know if anybody’s asked this question, but does the scholarship then become a taxable benefit?,” Harbaugh said. “Is the government going to look at that and say, ‘OK, now you owe us 40 percent in taxes?’ You may now have to pay more money than you actually make in the salary with taxes.
“No, I don’t think (they should get paid).”
Mind you, big Jim has no intention of getting an actual answer here. He’s just asking so he can warn his players if they’re not careful, they could wind up writing a check for the privilege of playing for him. That’s some especially ripe bullshit there. Almost makes me wish Corch would come out and say if that ever were to happen, Ohio State would pay their kids enough to cover the loss… which, of course, is just where things would start.
In the meantime, kids, get that valuable degree. At least as long as it’s in a program that doesn’t take too much focus off your football work. Oh, and remember to make enough of a contribution on the field so that you don’t get to the point you have to seek a transfer — preferably to a school where Harbaugh doesn’t object to your enrollment.
He’s a real prince.