“I think it’s complicated, I think it’s really complicated.”

Auburn athletic director Allen Greene is concerned about amateurism.

At the SEC Spring Meetings in Destin on Wednesday, Greene was asked about his opinions on the topic, and said he believed the discussion surrounding athlete compensation for likeness was “overly-simplified.”

“I think it’s complicated, I think it’s really complicated,” Greene said, before later going into his more firm opinions. “Amateurism is the lynchpin of intercollegiate athletics, and so we just want to make sure that, whatever we do, that we make sure that we keep amateur athletics amateur.”

Hmmm… what does that mean, Mr. Greene?

Auburn had a total revenue of $147.6 million last year, according to its financial report. It spent slightly less than $17 million on aid to student-athletes, and slightly more than $1.45 million on student-athletes meals. Coaches salaries totaled $26.2 million and support staff was paid $26.7 million.

That doesn’t sound that complicated.

“I think as discussions continue to unfold and we learn a little bit more of the dynamics that are involved,” Greene said, “hopefully we make the smart decisions that are in the best interest of the student-athletes and for intercollegiate athletics.”

The smart decision in the best interests of the student-athletes is not to pay them, amirite?  Saying “no comment” would probably be even smarter.

37 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

37 responses to ““I think it’s complicated, I think it’s really complicated.”

  1. Bulldog Joe

    “Hey. They can’t pay money to our players.”

    “Only WE can pay money to our players!”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. heyberto

    Bless his heart.

    Like

  3. Gaskilldawg

    Over one-third of the revenues go towards the glorified PE coaches and only 12.5% of the revenues funds the purpose of the non-profit, namely, scholarships and meals.

    Why the hell do they have non-profit status?

    Like

  4. Bill Glennon

    If its not complicated, please describe in detail how changing the revenue model would work, who gets what, how the pie would be divided and how the non-revenue sports (including all women sports who are entitled to equal treatment under Title IX) get funded.

    If the coaches salaries are not competitive and are slashed, will they bolt for the NFL?

    Do all athletes get a stipend, regardless of whether they participate in revenue sports or not, or do just the players bringing in the revenue get all the money?

    Do all the football players get equal money, even if they never play, or do they get money based upon their importance to the team so there is a bidding war for their services every year from rival schools now that there is free agency?

    How do mid-major schools compete if they don’t have the gate or TV revenue to enter into the market for the top players? Do these players get re-recruited each year if they prove themselves to the bigger schools? If so, how do these schools maintain competitive programs?

    With attendance already down in college football, wont the lack of competitiveness only exacerbate the problem, leading to less revenue for non-revenue sports at smaller schools and more schools dropping non-revenue programs to the detriment of student athletes?

    Like

    • Bill, you seem to think this is a convincing rebuttal to the point that student-athletes aren’t fairly compensated. It’s not.

      In fact, your concern about competitiveness is downright silly. College football has never offered a level playing field to all programs. It’s not built that way and will never be built that way, player compensation or no player compensation.

      Coaches salaries and the NFL? There are 32 teams. How many of them are going to hire P5 head coaches? There are a lot more of the latter than there are slots for the former.

      I dunno… maybe sitting there saying, until you answer all my questions to my complete satisfaction and guarantee no surprises, no way a player’s comp can be adjusted is a winning strategy. Perhaps you should send your comment to Mark Emmert instead of me.

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    • MGW

      If the coaches salaries are not competitive and are slashed, will they bolt for the NFL? SOME MAY, MOST WON’T. SO WHAT?

      Do all athletes get a stipend, regardless of whether they participate in revenue sports or not, or do just the players bringing in the revenue get all the money? YES. OR NO. HAVING TWO POSSIBILITIES DO NOT EQUAL IMPOSSIBILITY.

      Do all the football players get equal money, even if they never play, or do they get money based upon their importance to the team so there is a bidding war for their services every year from rival schools now that there is free agency? PROBABLY EQUAL, EXCEPT THERE WOULD LIKELY BE AN ADJUSTMENT OR OTHER COMPENSATION OF SOME KIND FOR PROFITS DIRECTLY RELATED TO A PLAYER’S “LIKENESS”. I.E. T-SHIRT SALES, AUTOGRAPH DAYS, ETC.

      How do mid-major schools compete if they don’t have the gate or TV revenue to enter into the market for the top players? Do these players get re-recruited each year if they prove themselves to the bigger schools? If so, how do these schools maintain competitive programs? YOU’VE JUST DESCRIBED THE CURRENT COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE IN QUESTION FORM. FURTHER, IF PLAYERS ARE ALLOWED TO HAVE REPRESENTATION AND MAKE MONEY HOWEVER THEY SEE FIT, IT MAY EVEN EASE THE DESIRE OF A STAR AT A G5 SCHOOL TO TRANSFER.

      With attendance already down in college football, wont the lack of competitiveness only exacerbate the problem, leading to less revenue for non-revenue sports at smaller schools and more schools dropping non-revenue programs to the detriment of student athletes? 1. WHERE DOES THIS PRESUMED LACK OF COMPETITIVENESS COME FROM? THAT’S ALREADY THE STATUS QUO. 2. NO THE NON REVENUE SPORTS WON’T MAKE LESS BECAUSE YOU CAN’T HAVE LESS REVENUE THAN NO REVENUE. 3. WHY WOULD LESS COMPETITIVENESS IN FOOTBALL, IF THAT WERE A NATURAL CONSEQUENCE OF PAYING PLAYERS WHICH IT IS ABSOLUTELY NOT, HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH A SCHOOL DROPPING OTHER SPORTS?

      AS LONG AS THE NFL HAS NO INTEREST IN A MINOR LEAGUE, THE BEST PLAYERS WILL PLAY FOR THE BEST SCHOOLS THAT WILL HAVE THEM. THAT IS ALREADY THE CASE, AND THAT WILL NOT CHANGE JUST BECAUSE PLAYERS ARE ALLOWED TO BE PAID BY SCHOOLS OR ANYBODY ELSE. IF YOU WANT COLLEGE FOOTBALL TO BE MORE “FAIR,” THAT IS A DIFFERENT DISCUSSION THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH PAYING PLAYERS. IF YOU WANT COLLEGE FOOTBALL TO BE LIKE IT WAS IN THE “GOOD OLE DAYS,” YOU’RE GOING TO NEED A TIME MACHINE, OR YOU CAN GO RENT RUDY. THOSE DAYS WERE LONG GONE BEFORE ANYBODY NOW PLAYING FOOTBALL IN COLLEGE WAS EVEN BORN.

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      • What I don’t get here is why all this is such a mystery. There are functioning, prospering professional sports organizations all over the planet, so somehow paying players isn’t a death knell to survival.

        Schools that treat student-athletes as unpaid interns also have plenty of coaches and administrators who do receive pay, so this isn’t an alien concept they have to learn.

        The way issues like this work in the real world is a business sits down, figures out the questions it needs answered in order to operate, gets professional advice when it’s needed and creates a business plan it can afford to carry out. Why are the NCAA and its member schools any different?

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  5. UGA '97

    “….it’s really complicated….so we want to make sure that we keep amateur athletics amateur……”

    This is not an example of leadership.

    Like

  6. JCDawg83

    Why not be in for a penny, in for a pound on this thing? Do away with scholarships and all financial aid, pay the players based on how the team thinks they will perform when they recruit them and let the player pay tuition, room, board, books, tutors, etc. out of their own income. Make the players w-2 employees with taxes withheld and subject to annual performance reviews that can result in raises, pay cuts or termination from the “job”. They could cut deals with sponsors, or anyone who wanted to use their name and likeness.

    In short, make the college football program (or basketball or whatever sport) the “sponsor” of the team, a greatly magnified version of the little league team that is sponsored by a local auto parts store. The eligibility requirement for being on the college team would be acceptance to the school based on the same requirements as all other students and remaining in good academic standing as long as they were on the team.

    Being amateur is a lot like being pregnant, you either are or you aren’t.

    Like

    • ChiliDawg

      Posts like yours are enlightening because they prove that your objection to paying the players is merely one of spite, and maintaining your own sense of superiority to them. The minute they start being able to earn their own worth is the minute you are unable to think of yourself as better than them.

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      • JCDawg83

        How does my example not give them the chance to earn their own worth? In fact, it allows and requires them to earn their own worth, they will be paid for the service they provide an amount based on the quality of the service they give. My view is; if they are going to be paid, pay them and be honest about it and treat them as what they are, employees.

        Whether or not they are paid has no bearing at all on how I feel about them or myself. I have to wonder about your sense of self worth if you took that away from my post. I think it says a lot about how you see yourself and the rest of the world.

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        • ChiliDawg

          Your example is borne out of bitterness and curmudgeonry. And you’re fairly transparent about it.

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          • Tony Barnfart

            I think he’s saying that we may not ultimately be able have it both ways (pay them and still kinda sorta baby them). And when you don’t you might have some ugly unforeseen things happen to kids that the public and/or larger university community won’t have the stomach for—-even if the percentage of kids is relatively low it won’t matter if there’s enough hits.

            Under an internal revenue distribution world (leaving likeness earnings aside for now), what if we go down a path where the lower end player on the depth chart at, say, Purdue is not even worth the value of a scholarship and Purdue isn’t even in a position to offer an either / or. I know folks cite how scholarships have minimal hard costs involved so, on paper, economically, that would seem to diminish that worry. I do wonder if we could get into a cascading effect of federal legislation trying to balance new and existing rules, players rights, sex issues, together with any number of lawsuits and contracts/ conf bylaws these lower rung power 5 schools need to remain affiliated (and keep their TV revenue) all having a domino effect, where you might not be able to dip only a few toes in the water and ensure that 85x65p5 kids are in an equally good situation as the status quo.

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            • Gaskilldawg

              Why would you conclude that Purdue would not believe any player is worth the scholarship? The fact that Purdue puts warm bodies wearing its uniforms on the field gives Purdue access to millions and millions of dollars in Big Ten distributions.
              Purdue could have 85 five foot five slow weak guys and it still makes millions off the football

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              • Tony Barnfart

                Do you honestly believe that in a “free market” where players are being paid, Alabama and Ohio State are going to forever stomach the old revenue model and agree to their own CapEx deferrals in a world where big data can clearly tell them that Purdue and Vanderbilt and Mississippi State are riding their coattails in getting these SEC/Big 10 distributions ?

                No, the ones who are pulling their own weight are going to ditch 100yr old friends, consolidate and leave them by the wayside with Mickey paving the way.

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                • Why aren’t they using big data now? I mean, isn’t the potential profit margin bigger when you don’t pay the help a market wage?

                  I swear, it’s amazing how this topic makes Nobel Prize winning economists out of some of you.

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                • Tony Barnfart

                  Big data got you Texas A&M. But big data can’t kick Vanderbilt out, only make Alabama and Georgia leave—which it hasn’t been big enough. Yet.

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                • WTF does that even mean?

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                • Tony Barnfart

                  Ohh so no you’re giving me the babe in the woods routine…. how about we just use the inverse of what you say to everybody: just admit that you don’t like the large time demand put on amateur student athletes and call it a day. You’d at least sound more genuine than trying to play stupid by pretending that the legislative, judicial, contractual and financial collision in all of this is easy.

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                • No, I’m telling you that I don’t understand what you mean by “big data”.

                  Look, your gut is telling you that there’s something about paying players that is going to result in a massive realignment in CFB. And that’s fine, as far as it goes, but trying to dress it up by saying there’s some concrete information out there that makes it a factual certainty… well, all I can say is show me your data. The COA stipend hasn’t even caused a ripple.

                  Occam’s razor suggests a number of other ways schools can move in reaction to paying more player compensation.

                  Like

            • ChiliDawg

              I think he’s saying that we may not ultimately be able have it both ways (pay them and still kinda sorta baby them)

              Right, because if we’ve learned anything from professional sports, it’s that once you introduce a salary, then all of the sudden life is as hard as it is for JCDawg and aren’t you sorry you didn’t just shut up and enjoy playing for room and board?

              It’s the same old bullshit excuse we’ve always heard – “they’re already getting paid!” JC just takes it a step further by passively aggressively suggesting that if they’re allowed to get paid they should be made to pay for other things, as if he deserves to have any say in how the market operates.

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              • Tony Barnfart

                If you think you’re going to see 85 feel-good stories about 18-22yr olds getting 50k salaries on top of 50k(+/-) in benefits, you may need to adjust your idea of “what’s market.” Maybe at ReserFundU that’s a more plausible reality, but at the vast majority of FBS schools it is probably not.

                What would probably happen though is that as the eye on finances tightens, 100 yr old conference alignments will begin to fray as programs begin to get bent about old peers who aren’t pulling their weight under the (now) old shared revenue system. I’m perfectly comfortable with myself in saying that I’m not OK with ending 100yr old conference affiliations so the Alabamas and Ohio States of the world can align into a 30? 20? team national conglomerate of the few teams who could actually value their program under the metrics of a pro-sports franchise, all for the sake of feeling good about some arbitrary additional distribution to folks who already get the luxury to graduate college debt free.

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    • Being amateur is a lot like being pregnant, you either are or you aren’t.

      Actually, no. Being amateur is whatever the NCAA says it is.

      Like

  7. Bill Glennon

    Its not that all questions need to be answered. It’s that you have obviously spent a lot of time thinking about this, but you don’t address any questions that could potentially conflict with your worldview on this topic. In fact, you don’t even seem to think it’s necessary to ask questions, dismissing those like Greene because he is an AD.

    It IS complicated. There are consequences to completely changing the revenue model, and those deserve to be addressed before fundamental changes are made. Cherry picking one line item in a budget to push a narrative is weak. If your position is true and persuasive, then it should stand up to scrutiny. Aren’t you a lawyer?

    The fact that college football is not optimally competitive is not a reason to adopt a policy that could make it less competitive. You can make a bad situation worse, not just for football but for all sports.

    Those who ask valid questions are not always oppressors fighting to preserve the status quo. Maybe some of those people care about college athletics as a whole and want to see reform adopted in a sensible, incremental, non-emotional way that protects non-revenue athletes and the greater traditions that makes us fans in the first place.

    I understand this is a blog, but what’s the difference between the Emmert/Conference Comissioners/ESPN axis of evil and your site if you both just flog moralistic narratives without considering the factual realities of the opposing side?

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    • How would make it less competitive? UGA just spent $60 million on a recruiting facility. How much less competitive would it be if it spent, say, 25% of that amount on player compensation, instead?

      I’m not accusing you of being an oppressor. You are comfortable with the status quo and more power to you for that.

      Here’s the starting point for me — would you agree that in a more open market setting, players would receive more than they do now? If not, then why are you concerned? If so, then it would seem to me that the forum for addressing your concerns would be with the schools and the NCAA.

      The idea that things need to be addressed before changes are made is good advice. In fact, it’s the same thing I’ve opined that the schools and the NCAA should pursue proactively ever since the long-running threats posed by litigation and legislation have appeared. Haven’t seen much evidence that they’re inclined to do so.

      Reality suggests one of two outcomes: either the NCAA has its hand forced by the courts or by politicians and is forced to react after the horse is out of the barn or it gets the antitrust exemption it desires and legally maintains the status quo. Either way, what I think is wise is totally irrelevant.

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    • Gaskilldawg

      Auburn can figure out how much to pay a bunch of 40 year olds with the title “analyst.” If

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      • Gaskilldawg

        Didn’t finish. If it can figure it out for 40 year olds it can use the same factor for 20 year olds with the title “players.” Why would it be different?

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  8. Malcolm X

    You want amateurism? OK, play eight games over 12 weeks. No bowl games. Practice only twice a week for two hours. No spring training. No training whatsoever except the practice for twice a week. Do you want weight training? That’s got to be included in the practice twice a week.
    No games except on Saturday at 2 o’clock. No TV. No travel to a game more than 150 miles. No scholarships. There. You got amateur. You’re welcome.

    Like

  9. Two things here Bluto…”we learn a little bit more of the dynamics” = dymanic$…you attempted to give the tigles ad more credit than he deserves, “Saying “no comment” would probably be even smarter”…..Smarter than a fourth grader i’m guessing

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  10. MGW

    Someone please explain to me how this solution (not saying it is perfect) would be the slightest bit complex:

    Schools are free to offer scholarships, and whatever stipend they can justify; as in the current status quo. On top of that, players are allowed to profit from their name and likeness, get a job, have an agent, whatever the hell they want to do; just like any other student. Period. You get distracted by whatever else you’re doing? Well you may just lose your spot, and maybe even your sponsor.

    Moreover, why in the world are schools opposed to this at all? Frankly, if your all american is appearing in Nike ads, that’s not going to hurt recruiting. Hell, if your star has any kind of advertising contract, he’s a lot more likely to stay another year or at least fully participate in that last bowl game. If I’m Nike, and I’m sponsoring a star, am I going to put a clause in that contract that he has to participate in the bowl game? Yes, yes I am. Might the contract terminate or be modified if he leaves for the pro’s? Yes it might. You’re a household name for that senior year – lots of footage of you doing things on SportsCenter, but you might be just another backup that first year in the pro’s; you may be less valuable there than in college for another year.

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  11. ApalachDawg

    Auburn says its “really” complicated because all that happens now is that the bagman drops off a suitcase full of unmarked bills or biloxi casino chips at the recruits guardian/church/uncle/mamas door…

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    • Tony Barnfart

      I’ve come to the conclusion that just (continuing) to turn[ing] a blind’ish eye to the bagman could be the best overall solution. Why complicate this with politicians and lawyers ? The bagman system is beautiful and the old guys can still pretend it doesn’t happen and just toss up a few Hugh Freeze’s every now and again so we can feel good and laugh at him.

      Like