“… the NCAA’s inconsistent and ridiculous definition of amateurism.”

One thing I argue in response to those of you who adamantly oppose paying student-athletes is that they’re already being paid.  Here are a few examples of what I mean by that:

  • Cost of attendance provides players between $5,000 and $10,000 per year just for being … athletes.
  • Bowl gifts — typically capped at $550 — are nothing more than rewards for playing football. Men’s and women’s Final Four participants have their own gift suites to enjoy. Sports Business Daily reported basketball players who win their regular-season conference, conference tournament and NCAA Tournament could get $4,000 worth of gifts.
  • All three military academies (Army, Navy, Air Force) routinely pay salaries to cadets in service to the country.
  • Olympic stipends allowed by the NCAA range from the modest to the extravagant. Texas swimmer Joseph Schooling was paid $753,000 for his home country of Singapore for winning Olympic gold.
  • Schools are allowed to pay five-figure insurance premiums of their NFL Draft prospects.
  • One anonymous coach told me last year a player at his school could accumulate $96,000 legally over the course of his career.

Any way you want to slice it, that’s getting paid to play.  To paraphrase the old joke, we’re just haggling over the fee.

46 Comments

Filed under The NCAA

46 responses to ““… the NCAA’s inconsistent and ridiculous definition of amateurism.”

  1. Checkmate … The NCAA’s definition of amateurism is whatever keeps the most money in the NCAA and its member institutions’ pockets.

    I would be happy with an athlete’s ability to trade on name and likeness and for his/her ability to get an off-season job. I don’t understand why the NCAA can’t get that through their thick skulls.

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    • Spur 21

      Let me help you understand the NCAA position $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

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      • Agree but that doesn’t explain the position that athletes can’t earn outside income

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        • Napoleon BonerFart

          I think it’s just the slippery slope argument. Allowing athletes to earn NLI money could, maybe, open the door to unionizing and players trying to negotiate salaries. Maybe not, but it’s best if they can just hang on to the status quo for as long as possible.

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          • I don’t think that’s the case … otherwise, they would have declared the kid from Singapore ineligible to compete in men’s swimming based on the direct compensation he received for beating Michael Phelps, but it’s not ok for Katie Ledecky to swim at Stanford and accept endorsement deals based on her Olympic performance (so she declared to become a professional). Same thing with Kyler Murray … it’s ok for Murray to receive $4.7m to play minor league baseball, but it’s not ok for Murray to earn $10k for an autograph signing session.

            Outside income shouldn’t be the business of the NCAA.

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          • CB

            Of course they would unionize and negotiate. You can’t throw that type of money around without representation. Just like every other industry. What’s the issue?

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  2. Your posts on this topic pretty much fall into the following categories:

    COMPENSATION: Are the schools/NCAA compensating student athletes in a way that is a reflection of fair market value?

    ADMINISTRATIVE ANGST: NCAA and school administrators are resisting releasing their grip on their cartel. It requires a restructuring of their business model. This effort is difficult (to them at least) as not as lucrative (they will suffer much emotional pain for losing money)

    STALLING: Because of the above reasons, the NCAA will stall/drag out/hire more lawyers to delay the inevitable and continue to pump out a propaganda that relies on little more than emotional appeals with no logical backbone. Once this fails, then they will revisit once all options are exhausted

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    • A fair number of them serve the purpose of questioning the logic of amateurism romantics.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Charlottedawg

        Maybe it’s because I’m a greedy bastard who worked my way up from a humble background but I will never understand how not being able to negotiate a market determined compensation level is romantic. Frankly it’s un American.

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        • Obama

          YOU DIDN’T BUILD THAT!!

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          • Charlottedawg

            To be there are plenty of “conservatives” who support amatuerism and call a free market in college athletics “librul”. I guess further proof people simply pick a label and have no idea what principles they believe much less why they believe them.

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        • The service academies pay each student…not just athletes…$100 a month for incidentals..since everything else is free…the same amount that any college student at the junior/senior level enrolled in ROTC gets. They in turn are obligated to various years of military service. I don’t think that is tantamount to any under the table pay out.

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  3. Derek

    We should pay them a mutually agreed upon rate based upon a contract because they don’t get fairly paid now and everything should be just fine as evidenced by how much they already get paid nowadays anyway.

    Seems sensible.

    How about: “hey Mr. five star football player. Here’s a 4/5 year scholly offer with free room and board, 12-15 appearances on national tv per year, year round training and educational assistance and we’ll throw in nearly 100k in extra cash over 4 years?

    It’s such a good deal that no one has turned it down yet.”

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    • Napoleon BonerFart

      A 17 year-old kid can’t have legal representation, make any counteroffers, and his only hope of NFL millions is to accept the deal has never turned down the deal? Sounds awesome.

      Why, the NCAA should have absolutely no problem winning hearts, minds, and court cases with such a generous system.

      As an aside, I was mugged once. A dude pulled a gun and demanded my wallet. I gave it to him. But I never considered that, because I did, it must have been a great deal for me.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Junkyardawg41

    I agree with Churchill that we are just haggling over price. I think that is the rub for a lot of people. What is fair compensation and what happens to the game to reach fair compensation.

    With regard to amateurism, I think the definition is a moving target. It’s not that I am a romantic to amateurism, I am a romantic of a kid committing to a school/program vs the almighty dollar. I am probably naive in that regard.

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  5. Derek

    I think the biggest problem I have with this whole debate is the reticence on the part of the free market side to lay out exactly how their idea would work in the real world and what the implications would be. It’s one thing to say that the current system is flawed or unjust. It’s quite another to construct a brand new system.

    I just don’t see that there are enough injustices to take a chance on creating a fucking disaster of the sport we love. Rather than just stamping an ideology like “free market=good and we’re done” let’s actually show our work.

    Keith Marshall was the No. 1 rb recruit a few years ago. Explain how his recruiting, the negotiations, terms, his career etc… would go in this brand new world.

    Does he get fired because his results don’t meet expectations?
    Can he sign an endorsement contract with every bulldog booster that owns a business in Georgia, or elsewhere?
    Do endorsement contracts have to be based in market principles or can they be driven by a selfish desire to win a game on Saturday?
    Can those contracts have performance bonuses? Run for 100 yards and get more?
    Can I engage in an endorsement contract with an Alabama player and then offer him 1,000,000 to claim his hamstring is pulled before the natty because either I have a larger bet on the game or because I just want Bama to lose?

    Let’s actually get in the weeds and figure out if what we’re promoting would work and be beneficial or detrimental to the game. After all who wants to be the dumbass who rolls out a ridiculous policy that you have to immediately run from because you didn’t realize how stupid and unpopular it would be before you did it? Don’t be that idiot.

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    • Gosh darn it, Derek, I’m so sorry you have a problem.

      You know what my problem is? I can’t foresee the future for you. Maybe it’s the wild west. Maybe each conference sets a compensation policy. Maybe the schools decide the best course of action is to negotiate a CBA with a players’ union. Who the fuck knows?

      Upon reflection, I have two problems. The second one is your absurd suggestion that it’s on folks like me to formalize a detailed solution that meets your high standards, rather than insisting on the NCAA getting its head out of its ass and for once doing right by the student-athletes it claims to be in the business of supporting.

      Here’s the thing that doesn’t appear to be sinking in with you: I don’t care about the end result, as long as it comes as a by-product of a negotiated process that’s something other than dictating take it or leave it to teenagers. If that makes me an idiot, so be it.

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      • Derek

        I understand that this is a mere intellectual excercise that is meaningless and that nothing we have to say about any of it will matter in the end, but it’s even more useless if proponents of a position can’t make any effort to defend their position. What’s the point of taking the time to “I’m for X” and when asked “what happens next” and the answer is “fuck off?”

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        • Sorry, but you do not get to define the rules of debate here.

          What happens next is what happens for for everyone else who functions in an open market setting.

          What I’m defending is the means. You asking what the ends will be is just your dodge of facing up to the flaws in the status quo.

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          • Derek

            I’m not arguing the perfection of the status quo. I’m simply suggesting that the prescribed medicine may be worse than the disease.

            If one can’t at least consider that possibility you end up in a debate between those who want to invade Iraq to topple saddam and those opposed being accused of somehow being a saddam supporters.

            There’s a third option.

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            • South FL Dawg

              Derek, any of us would be able to come up with a suggestion, but it’s in the NCAA’s best interest to do so themselves. If they won’t, it’s inevitable that the courts will force it on them. Did you see the other day that the Supreme Court ruled that internet sales are taxable now? Businesses argued that there are thousands of tax jurisdictions with their own sales tax rates and the highest court didn’t care because the issue for them is what does the law require. Don’t lose the forest for the trees.

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            • Oh, FFS. How many different ways can I say “we could wind up with the wild west”?

              The thing is nobody knows what the future will bring.

              Your argument sounds very much like the 1% argument the Bush administration used to make to justify its national security policy.

              Bully for you to accept that the status quo ain’t perfect. The NCAA doesn’t either.

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            • On second thought, skip my Bush administration reference. A much better analogy would be the Georgia / Oklahoma lawsuit against the NCAA over broadcast rights.

              You’d have made the same argument against change then.

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              • Derek

                As for the broadcast rights lawsuit, I’d say that conclusion is a leap.

                If the answer about changing the current player/school relationship/model is either “I don’t know/care what happens, we’ll just see” or south fl dawg’s suggestion “you can’t stop what’s coming” I don’t find either particularly satisfying or comforting.

                And I still say that if you change the academic model the resistance to the professional model is much more justifiable. The fact is that the phrase “student athlete” was allowed to become laughable and therein lies the risk of college athletic’s total destruction. They lost the perception first and now they’re losing the reality. They’d do well to try and recapture the original, intended purpose and try to eliminate their current perception as mere plantation owners and overseers.

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                • But neither you nor I know what’s coming. Is it a scenario where Kessler wins his lawsuit and is upheld on appeal? Is it one where the NCAA steps back and amends the amateurism protocol successfully? Or is it one where the NCAA is granted antitrust protection?

                  Three possibilities with three very different outcomes.

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                • “the original, intended purpose”… LMAO. When was that, exactly?

                  There’s a place for your pipe dream. It’s called Division III.

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                • Derek

                  College students playing sports.

                  The ones without crowds and money do it every day. The folks on the cross country team, soccer team, track team etc, etc…. works their asses off, get great grades and only get the opportunity for a free education because of their hard work and talent.

                  That money has distorted and perverted the profit making sports doesn’t mean the romantic notions of college sports don’t exist. They do. We’re just mostly not paying attention to them.

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                • Like I said, Div III is ready to fly when you are.

                  And don’t make it sound so innocent and detached. The reason the money is there is because we’re willing to shell out for it.

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        • Bamadawg

          Bravo Derek. I applaud your thinking. I truly believe that it would end in chaos, and as the Senator has stated, he doesn’t care what the end result is. That’s the difference between him and you/I, we care.

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    • Napoleon BonerFart

      You’ve got to love the liberal warning of unintended consequences. The irony is just delicious. Government regulations to coerce 300+ million people to conform to the latest social engineering fad? That’s cool. Allow football players to engage in the kind of voluntary exchange that their coaches and administrators do? NOT SO FAST!1!1

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      • Derek

        You gotta hate a conserva-moron acting like he’s familiar with the concept of consequences.

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        • Napoleon BonerFart.

          You’re still precious, Derek. Voluntary actions are way too scary. Compulsion just gives you the warm and fuzzies, doesn’t it?

          My advice to the NCAA is the same as Lincoln’s when asked about what the freed slaves would do. Root, hog, or die.

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          • Derek

            So you’re stupid and illiterate? You’re the one who voted for the guy with the toddler prisons, idiot. I’m the opposite of an authoritarian, moron.

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            • Napoleon BonerFart.

              Just because I recognize that your a stupid authorization doesn’t mean I voted for Trump. I recognize that he was a better candidate than Hillary, but everybody else was, too.

              But please, go back to worrying about how voluntary action is so much worse than coercion. Plebes acting on their own without a politician or bureaucrat supervising them? Terrifying!

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  6. mg4life0331

    I dont care if they get paid. But dont make the schools bid for services. There are plenty of cows to milk in sponsors.

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  7. Bamadawg

    If they are already getting paid, then why are we still talking about it. I wouldn’t complain about $96,000 per year.

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  8. Lou

    Every cadet is paid for their service, none are paid for sports or endorsements. The other examples you cite seem to prove the slippery slope rule.

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    • Here’s Dodd’s explanation for the examples he cited:

      “Google the NCAA’s definition of amateurism,” said Gerald Gurney, University of Oklahoma assistant professor and NCAA reformer. “Essentially it says athletes should not be paid because they need to concentrate on schoolwork. They can’t juggle two balls at the same time. That’s asinine and ridiculous.”

      At first, it might seem the root of this discussion is NCAA rules allow an athlete to turn pro in one sport and retain amateur eligibility in another.

      But the real argument is how much the public and fans can stomach any college athlete being paid before they’re not considered college (thus, amateur) athletes.

      The issue he’s addressing isn’t what cadets are being paid for, it’s that they’re being paid and the mere presence of payment interferes with their ability to balance academics and athletics.

      I agree that seems to be a pretty thin reed to balance an argument on, but, then again, so is the NCAA’s position.

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