Turning down easy money

I know this is going to come as a shock and a disappointment to those of you who think the obvious solution to fixing college athletics’ amateurism issues is for some pro league to start signing high school kids, but the newly hatched Alliance of American Football is not gonna go there.

The new league will not accept players straight out of high school.

Ebersol explained that they’ve yet to decide whether a rule similar to the NFL’s standard (three years after graduation of the player’s high school class) or an age minimum will apply. Regardless, high school players need not apply to the AAF as an alternative to college football.

Another blown opportunity.  Sad!

Maybe we should organize a boycott to change Ebersol’s mind and make him understand his league’s purpose in life is to save college football.

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30 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

30 responses to “Turning down easy money

  1. Derek

    Sorta makes you think that kids right out of HS aren’t very valuable and aren’t going to draw crowds and aren’t worth the financial risks and that they can’t compete with the value of an offer to play college ball.

    What they should do is take kids one year or more separated from HS. Drop outs, flunk outs, behavior issues, non-qualifiers etc., etc… They can get those guys on the cheap, if Auburn passes of course.

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    • Sorta makes you think that kids right out of HS aren’t very valuable…

      LSU promoted Ben Simmons to its season ticket holders before he arrived on campus. So, nah.

      Maybe, just maybe, the pros really like somebody else handling player development at no expense to them.

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      • Sides

        Ben Simmons wasn’t going to a development league. He would have been a top draft pick out of high school.

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        • I think you just made my point re: kids right out of HS aren’t very valuable.

          Thanks!

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          • Sides

            Ben Simmons should have never been at LSU. He should have been allowed to pursue his professional career after high school (or when he turned 16). I don’t think Ben Simmons is relevant to a discussion on D-leagues taking high school talent. He should not have been required to enter college or go to a D-league/Euro league.

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      • Derek

        Of course they do. It’s costs them nothing. But you’re discounting the amount of investment being put into the thousands of non-Ben Simmons’s and the value of a D1 scholly to any kid regardless of ability.

        For the market of 18 year old football players writ large, no one can offer what colleges can and no one ever will. What they need to do is stop offering it to the indifferent, incapable and the disgruntled and the damn thing is fixed. You do that by raising the academic standards to the point where “student-athlete” carries meaning for both parties. Then it ain’t a fucking plantation, it’s a university.

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        • I’m not discounting anything. I’ve never said the schools don’t have any skin in the game, just that they’ve rigged the game to exploit student-athletes’ contributions to it. And I still don’t see any suggestion on your part as to how restricting access through academic standards changes that.

          By the way, what’s with the “indifferent, incapable and the disgruntled” jibe? You saying poor academic backgrounds are a character issue?

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          • Derek

            It can be. It was probably for me. I skated in HS and still got into UGA. It was right after Jan Kemp and before HOPE so they were taking just about anybody. I’d like to think that with where you have to be to get in today that I would have buckled down because that is where I wanted and needed badly to go. I think lowered expectations does allow lower performances especially for those who, like me, put greater value their athletic pursuits than in academics.

            For me the tension in college athletics is that there is an obvious mutual “using” process that makes the whole thing unsavory where it doesn’t have to be.

            You have kids who want to take advantage of the scholastic opportunity who are put on “eligibility track.”

            You have kids who really don’t want to be there saying: “I’m making all this bank for this school and all I get is classes I don’t want?”

            You have kids who see that ck coming and who either “lay down” or just not play in order to protect their pro viability.

            You have kids who should be pros who are forced to stay and risk getting their leg ripped off like Lattimore.

            To me you fix the problem by everyone being more like ND, Stanford and Vandy at least claim or strive to be where the academic side is valued by both parties at admission and during enrollment. We’ve done a decent job of the latter by looking at what happened to Caleb and Paul.

            When you have UK taking one and dones, I ask “why?” What is the university’s interest other than trophies/cash. Its unseemly.

            Has Alabama or Auburn EVER had anyone declared ineligible academically? Have they ever kicked a kid out of school for academics?

            We lost Oliver and King before their senior years (STARTERS!!) because they weren’t making sufficient academic progress. It’s statistically IMPOSSIBLE for Auburn and Alabama not to have kids who refused to or couldn’t do college level work. They are being carried. That is also unseemly.

            If you raise the academic standards it helps ensure that college sports is really what it claims to be and those who aren’t interested or incapable need not apply. I would also agree that selling jerseys with names on them or anything else that is a blamtant attempt at profiting from an individual kid should go away.

            I also think, taking my own example, that kids who are good at sports would under those circumstances be forced to do more than the ridiculously low minimum standards that exist today under Prop 48. I mean “ridiculous” in the sense that they are so much lower than the rest of the student body. I also think that if a certain high schools routinely could not get their star athletes to prominent schools it would make the community take a hard look at the quality of their local school system.

            That said, I don’t have a problem with making an exception here and there like Prop 48 did initially. Test scores and GPA’s aren’t the end all be all. Some kids have special situations, like Tony Wilson or Deangelo Tyson.

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          • Sides

            If you are indifferent about education, incapable of achieving a college level of education (nothing wrong with that, plenty are successful who can’t), or disgruntled to be forced into a college education it means you shouldn’t be in college. It is not a character issue.

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            • I can think of any number of players who were perceived as academic risks at admission and still made the effort to get a degree. Who’s to say who should be in college based on a personality assessment? These kids have as much of a place as those whose daddies and mommies made a large contribution to a school to buy admission.

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              • Sides

                I think the overall point is that kids who are not interested in college (or unable to meet the standards) should not be in college. This is the problem with the amateur model right now, athletes are being forced into college because of arbitrary pro age limits. I believe Derek is saying that if the colleges had the same standards for athletes as they do for general students, then the athletes who are not getting any value from college would not be playing college athletics. They would be able to pursue their professional careers like everyone else in society. The only athletes remaining in college would be the ones who see value, thus no one would be exploited.

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                • How do you judge that a kid is not interested?

                  Whose standards are you using? Stanford’s? Auburn’s?

                  There is a difference between some value and fair value. Having those who meet your standards, whatever they are, as the only eligible players doesn’t change that — unless you’re saying that the value of the product declines as a result.

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                  • Derek

                    If you’re a one and done you’re not interested.

                    If you’re focusing on ticket prices, television revenue and bowl payouts and carrying a 1.8 gpa biding your time for draft eligibility then you’re not interested.

                    Moreover, the main thing that raised academics make clear is that you’re here primarily to get a degree and that the degree is more important than winning games.

                    Ultimately, that is where the exploitation tension lies.

                    It’s only when the academics are a transparent fraud that people look around and say “these kids are being used.” If academics are taken seriously both at admission and matriculation then:

                    1) the university is acting as a university and
                    2) kids won’t be heard to complain if the colleges are asking you to get an education. You knew that was part of the deal. If you don’t want it, then leave or don’t show up in the first place.

                    You’ve got to get rid of the exploitation which 1) mutual and 2) not as present in the financial sense as some suggest.

                    The vast majority of kids are getting a hell of a valuable thing when they sign a LOI. Far more than any other available market. If there were a market for these kids, somebody would take advantage. No way that they could compete with the universities, unless those universities become closed to a significant number of elite recruits.

                    You start raising standards inch by inch, year by year, and as people start dropping, a market might emerge even if, like minor league baseball, it operates at a loss.. If, on the other hand, you just bloat the JUCO’s isn’t that ok too?

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                    • You’ve got to get rid of the exploitation which 1) mutual and 2) not as present in the financial sense as some suggest.

                      Welcome to another episode of MY OPINION = FACT.

                      Gotta admit that’s ballsy, though. Not even the NCAA has accused student-athletes of exploiting schools.

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                    • Derek

                      Clowney took his third year off.

                      Fournette took off the bowl game.

                      Of course there are examples of kids looking out for themselves and their futures and not their teammates or school. I’m not complaining about it. It’s reality. But it only is justifiable because you know that it goes both ways. The school is looking out for themselves, why shouldn’t the kid?

                      Also, if you’re at auburn and you’ve got a term paper due because you’re gonna flunk the class unless you can write three pages of whatever to get a C and basically say to student aide working the study hall “fuck this, you write it,” and we know that happens because it’s been made public, isn’t that “mutual?”

                      Don’t you think a ball player reads a question from Harrick Jr. that says: how many halves in a bb game? and he giggles as he writes 2 and he gets his A, is complicit in his own exploitation?

                      In a righteous world the players would “fuck you, you promised me an education and you hand me this? I took a picture with my phone and I’m sending to every press office in the country.”

                      They should have been outraged. Instead they played the game. That’s mutual. No doubt that there’s more responsibility on the adult, but there are lots of kids who would be grateful if the correct answer to that question was the hardest thing they had to do during college. Those kids shouldn’t be in college.

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                    • I could just as easily argue that if student-athletes received fair compensation, guys like Clowney and Fournette would have had the motivation to play up to your standards.

                      The kids didn’t rig the game. The schools did, because that’s how they get paid. To pretend there’s some level of equivalency because the ones without power have to play along is some serious bullshit. You’re only a step or two away from accusing slaves of being complicit in their slavery because they didn’t try to escape at every opportunity.

                      And, no, I’m not saying those two situations are equivalent, just that you’re conveniently ignoring where the control of the situation lies. It’s not a level playing field. And it should be.

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                    • Derek

                      Don’t put me in with Kanye!

                      I would note that I wouldn’t have argued with Malcolm X’s description of some of the non-field hands, but even those in the house were brought in chains.

                      No doubt about who was morally responsible and reprehensible there.

                      I’m not making an argument about moral equivalency so much as I’m arguing for those who are being used and abused to recognize it and act accordingly. It’s a lesson any trump voter making less that 100k per annum should learn. Consent to being fucked by people who don’t have your best interests in mind isn’t that same as fucking someone with less power than you but it too ought to end. I think that’s the goal of “me too” ain’t it? I think it’s about empowering the victim right?

                      As much as I long for a fair, just and egalitarian society, so long as there are groups and organizations they will be run by people and people suck and therefore the institutions they run suck. But they are also necessary and/or inevitable.

                      I appreciate you fighting the good fight for those without a voice. I really do. I’m just being William Buckley to your Gore Vidal.

                      We must consider the consequences of our beneficence or it can lose its character as such.

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                    • I’m not making an argument about moral equivalency so much as I’m arguing for those who are being used and abused to recognize it and act accordingly.

                      I think Jeffrey Kessler would tell you that’s exactly what he’s doing.

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                    • No doubt, but sometimes revolutionaries have bad ideas even while they are revolting against a revulsion. Like Che vs. Batista. Who you going with there? Its a tough one.

                      I want “the man” to lose here, but I want him to lose in a way that preserves what we love about this game. Your revolution while admirable causes me concerns about the unintended consequences of its victory.

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                    • Nobody says it has to play out the way you fear. All it would take is for the NCAA and schools to get their heads out of their collective asses and settle for something palatable to both sides. It’s hardly fair to put the blame on the kids when the adults won’t make an effort to meet them halfway.

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                    • All power to the people! I’m not blaming anybody for fighting the injustices that we all agree do exist. I’m just engaged in a philosophical debate about what college sports ought to look like and one that preserves what has made college football so popular. I want you to win the fight. I just don’t want the game to be dead when its over.

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                • By the way, why isn’t the flip side to this argument — that colleges should provide fair value to prospective student-athletes — just as valid? Those kids wouldn’t be exploited either.

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      • Try again. Student athletic scholarships predate the NFL by a wide margin.

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        • Not sure I get your point here, but I’m also not sure your second sentence is accurate.

          In 1905, the NCAA was created with the intention of “the regulation and supervision of college athletics throughout the United States, in order that the athletic activities in colleges and universities of the United States may be maintained on an ethical plan in keeping with the dignity and high purpose of education.” Right from the start, the NCAA expressed a commitment to preserving both education and amateurism within college athletics. Toward this goal, the NCAA was forced to address student funding, specifically alumni sponsorship. Thus, in 1939 the NCAA delivered a statement which emphasized the amateur status of student-athletes and stated that financial awards would be needs based and independent of the individual’s continued athletic participation. Then, in 1950, under the governance of the NCAA, colleges developed the athletic scholarship, as a way to pay prospective student-athletes. As a consequence, prospective students would be awarded financially on the basis of athletic ability.

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          • This is where I got my information:
            http://sportsscholarship.com/about/history-of-sports-scholarships/
            https://www.aseaofblue.com/2013/6/11/4409982/ncaa-football-a-brief-history-of-ncaa-football-scholarships

            My point is that just because “the pros really like somebody else handling player development at no expense to them.” doesn’t make the concept inherently bad. It (athletic scholarship) serves the same purpose that it always has. Although I would argue a much more important one because many of the people benefiting from them would have little chance at a college degree without them. The opportunity for the NFL is just an added bonus for a very select few.

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            • Your first link says, “In 1952 the NCAA legalized the use of athletic scholarships for the purpose of attracting qualified student-athletes to their sports programs.” Your second link contains nothing specific. I would say there’s nothing in either that validates your factual assertion.

              My point about player development wasn’t to say it’s a bad or a good thing. For the NFL and NBA, it’s a financially advantageous thing.

              Along those lines, it’s not that kids out of high school aren’t very valuable. MLB drafts and signs hundreds of them every year. The reason pro baseball does and pro football and basketball don’t isn’t because of a lack of player value; it’s because baseball is committed to a development structure that the NFL and NBA aren’t burdened with.

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      • Whiskeydawg

        Yup.

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  2. Macallanlover

    You free market extremists are waffling here, these are not children coming out of HS, they are 18-20 year old men who are being restricted from earning a living. Other professions: artists, musicians, other athletes, tech gurus, etc., are allowed to get paid. You can argue they aren’t that valuable coming out of HS but this option should not be denied them. What if they get injured during their college career? What about the families they come from who are destitute?

    A faux education is not the best option for all athletes, let them pursue their life’s dream when they wish. Time the hypocrisy is ended, it would help the college game, imo. College isn’t for everyone, and this is a career path that could pay off for many. I would much prefer this to killing the Golden Goose of CFB who have worked well for so many who prefer that path to development. Has to beat life on the plantation which seems to bother several of you.

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    • Other professions: artists, musicians, other athletes, tech gurus, etc., are allowed to get paid.

      And still maintain a college scholarship, I might add.

      I think you left somebody off your hypocrite list, Mac.

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