Uncomfortable math

I’m sure some of you are going to disagree strongly with this piece penned by U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy and professional basketball player Draymond Green, but it’s hard to argue with numbers.

The lack of rights for college athletes is also a civil rights issue, and it should be front and center in the long overdue, growing fight for racial justice across America. While Black men make up just 2.4% of undergraduate students at Power 5 conference schools, they represent 55% of football players and 56% of men’s basketball players, according to a 2018 study from the University of Southern California’s Race and Equity Center. Their coaches and athletic directors and college presidents are overwhelmingly white. And so are the CEOs and board members of the shoe companies and television networks and betting websites who will become millionaires off the labor of young Black men.

The schools will suggest that athletes do get paid — with a scholarship. That’s an insulting argument, akin to a coal mine refusing to pay its employees in anything other than company scrip. Yes, a scholarship has value, but many athletes are not allowed to capitalize on their “free” education because schools make sure they are treated as athletes first and students second. Graduation rates for athletes in revenue sports — especially Black athletes — fall well below their peers, and athletic programs routinely counsel athletes out of meaningful coursework to make room for athletic commitments. Moreover, even when the full value of a scholarship is factored in, the NCAA’s priorities are clear: Approximately 12% of all revenue goes to student aid for nearly 45,000 athletes, while 16% goes toward paying salaries for 4,400 coaches, according to spending data across all Power Five athletic programs as reported in the Department of Education’s Equity in Athletics database. In other words, one coach earns as much as a dozen athletes’ scholarships combined.

Reality is the current NCAA system expects poor black players to prop up athletic department finances by accepting below market compensation.  (Don’t give me any of that “it’s what’s on the front of the jersey that matters” crap, either.  Jimmy Sexton doesn’t care about that, and he’s right.)

Before you knock Murphy, know that he advocates for something most of us already agree with.

Murphy said he would support the abolition of the NBA’s one-and-done rule. He’d also like to see the NFL shorten the timeline for college football players to enter the draft. Under NFL rules, a player must be at least three years removed from high school to be draft-eligible.

“Football is the last place you should be forced to render free labor in order to ultimately get a paycheck,” said Murphy, citing the risk of head injuries. “Football should be letting kids move more quickly from college to the pros.”

Which brings us to a bottom line that the NCAA will fight tooth and nail to prevent from happening:

In the short term, the NCAA could simply waive the restrictions that disallow athletes from getting outside sources of income. In the middle of a pandemic during which some of these athletes’ families have no income, this would be the compassionate step for the NCAA to take. In the long run, our debate should be framed by a question of what real fairness for college athletes would look like.

In professional leagues such as the NBA, athletes often get about half of league revenues in compensation. Instead of the 12% of revenues college athletes get, what if it was 30% or more? Those revenues could support further education and extended health care coverage, among other things that provide lifelong benefits to athletes, instead of inflating coaches’ salaries and funding unnecessarily lavish facilities. The NCAA has the opportunity to be a partner in the process of creating equity for athletes, or it can continue to dig its heels in against reforms.

Gee, I wonder which Mark Emmert will choose.

90 Comments

Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

90 responses to “Uncomfortable math

  1. While college sports has taken advantage of the rules set by the NFL and NBA in particular, Mr. Murphy’s solution is under the purview of the CBAs between those leagues and the players’ unions. He should convince Mr. Goodell, Mr. Silver, their owner/employers, and the unions to change their rules or form minor leagues to give players an alternative to college sports. If Mr. Green thought one-and-done was such an injustice, he should work with his union representative to get the rule repealed for high school basketball players or convince the NBA owners that there’s money to be made with minor/developmental league basketball.

    I have my own beefs with Mark Emmert and his crew of grifters in college sports … their price-fixing behavior at the top of the list. For me, NIL reform, fully guaranteed 5-year scholarships with 5 years of eligibility, academic reform, transfer reform, and some level of post-college health care would solve the problem for me. At the end of the day, the front of the jersey in college sports does matter more to me, but the name on the back has earned more than he is getting today.

    I’m not a Todd Gurley, AJ Green, Roquan Smith and Matthew Stafford fan because they were who they were before they matriculated at the University of Georgia. I’m a fan because I learned more about them as individuals and for what they did at the University of Georgia.

    There’s a middle ground between pure pay-for-play and the status quo that 80% of people could agree on. Why the NCAA and its members can’t understand that without being granted an antitrust exemption is beyond me.

    Like

    • Gaskilldawg

      Arguably Congress can do something about the NFL 3 year rule and NBA 1 year rule under its power to regulate interstate commerce. I suspect that Murphy and other congressmen and women find that a bridge to far, though.

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      • I don’t see Congress, especially Democrats who are generally beholden to unions, as willing to intervene in a CBA between a closed shop union and management. It would clearly signal to other unions that Congress is willing to bust up an agreement that has been negotiated and approved by both parties. Just my thought.

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  2. Gaskilldawg

    The pandemic has made the colleges expose the truth. D-1 athletics isn’t an extracurricular activity. If it was it could be postponed to next year, just like school jazz band concerts and drama club plays. It is fundraising and the athletes are employees in a development office.
    The university athletic associations should not get 501(c)(3) status, either.Only 12% of revenues go to the intended beneficiary? It is a business, not a charity.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paul

      “It is fundraising and the athletes are employees in a development office.“ At least as it pertains to financially successful programs, no truer words have ever been spoken. This is the literal bottom line. Though Grundy might be willing to admit it in public, you aren’t likely to hear anyone else be quite that honest.

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  3. JIm

    This seems like it has potential to be a good playpen topic

    On the NFL 3 year thing – how many high school seniors are physically or mentally prepared for the NFL? I know we hard the talk about how Trevor Lawrence would have been the number 1 draft pick if he came out after his freshman year but putting 18 year olds in the NFL seems like a recipe for disaster

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    • Hogbody Spradlin

      In my memory there have been two: Earl Campbell and Herschel Walker.
      Amendments and arguments welcome.

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    • Derek

      Shouldn’t that decision be up to the player?

      Liked by 1 person

      • spur21

        Depends on the player. Being physically mature is not the same as being emotionally mature. Look at the players that entered the draft early and never played a down in the NFL.

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        • Derek

          Freedom has its costs. My question is why should a guy like Marcus Lattimore be broke because some other kid is dumb?

          There is no reason he should have had his leg nearly removed as a college junior when he was ready to play in the NFL at 20.

          Why should the prepared suffer because there are unprepared fools?

          Its patronizing non-sense to draw meaningless lines for adults who should be free to make their own choices.

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          • “There is no reason he [Lattimore] should have had his leg nearly removed as a college junior when he was ready to play in the NFL at 20.”

            Take that up with the NFL Players Association, Roger Goodell, and 32 NFL franchise owners.

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            • Derek

              I know where the problem lie.

              I keep waiting for a kid to sit out his third year. Clowney practically did.

              I said at the time Gurley should have made a point and walked when he was suspended. Instead he ripped his knee.

              Ridiculous.

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              • On Clowney, I remember his lame attempts at arm tackles of Gurley in Sanford in 2013. He definitely made a bunch of business decisions that year to protect himself.

                Regarding Gurley, I will always respect him for the way he came back after his suspension (the length of which I thought was totally ridiculous) in 2014. That kick return against Auburn electrified Sanford in a way I’ve heard only a few other times in my 39 years of attending games in Athens. He could have shut it down after Emmert rejected his appeal, but he stood by his commitment to his teammates to play.

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        • Jack Klompus

          You see the same in the NBA. Lots of players went right out of HS and had a long road. Jermaine O’Neal comes to mind (although it ultimately worked out).

          I’m not advocating either way, just sharing a thought.

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  4. practicaldawg

    My biggest issue with these arguments is that they start by saying how disadvantaged “college athletes” are, then they go on to focus only on football, especially the upper 1% of players who will make millions in the NFL. Are all the 10s of 1000s of non-football scholarship athletes in sports that can’t support themselves being taken advantage of too? Let’s just be very clear who we are talking about — and also the ramifications for all the college athletes who are being subsidized by the upper echelon.

    If we drastically reduce universities’ cut of the upper college football echelon’s market value, 1000s of non-football athletes probably lose their scholarship. Is that a more socially desirable outcome? Or does it just look more like every other aspect of capitalist America where you have a giant gulf between the top and bottom?

    Liked by 1 person

    • You make some important points. I think any changes need to be made with an eye on protecting other “lower echelon” college scholarship athletes.

      That being said, they could have put this all to bed years ago by making it legal for students to profit off their own NIL. Higher echelon players cash in on their respective personal NIL while lower echelon don’t — and everyone still gets scholarships.

      I don’t believe in paying college players like they are employees. But I also think prohibiting them from earning $$$ on their own NIL is evil.

      Liked by 1 person

      • practicaldawg

        I generally agree with this. I think letting all college athletes profit on their name and likeness is a reasonable first step. I just know if I’m a parent of a kid on a tennis scholarship — or let’s say maybe track and field where there is more likely to be a diversity of races and ethnicities, I’m very nervous about my kid losing out on well deserved free ride in college if college football money isn’t allowed to flow through to other athletics because it’s being diverted to a handful of players who are going to sign mega million deals in the future.

        Also, I think if you want to get rid of the bloat in university administrations, it starts with addressing the nearly unlimited amount of free money available through Congress-owned student loan programs. Almost no one in this country can actually afford to go to college without borrowing heavily from the government.

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        • Union Jack

          Practical the numbers of athletes getting full ride scholarships in sports other than football or basketball is pretty small.

          Men’s Athletics Division 1:

          Baseball – 11.7
          XC & Track & Field – 12.6
          Fencing – 4.5
          Golf – 4.5
          Gymnastics – 6.3
          Ice Hockey – 18
          Lacrosse – 12.6
          Skiing – 6.3
          Soccer – 9.9
          Swimming & Diving – 9.9
          Tennis – 4.5
          Volleyball – 4.5
          Water Polo – 4.5
          Wrestling – 9.9

          Women’s Sports
          Basketball – 15
          Beach Volleyball – 6
          Bowling – 5
          XC & Track & Field – 18 (shared)
          Equestrian – 15
          Fencing – 5
          Field Hockey – 12
          Golf – 6
          Gymnastics – 12
          Ice Hockey – 15
          Lacrosse – 12
          Rowing – 20
          Rugby – 12
          Skiing – 7
          Soccer – 14
          Softball – 12
          Swimming & Diving – 14
          Tennis – 8
          Triathlon – 6.5
          Volleyball – 12
          Water Polo – 8

          Men’s & Women’s Basketball, Football, Women’s Gymnastics, Women’s Tennis, and Women’s Volleyball are head count sports so a scholarship cannot be split between two athletes.

          All the other sports are equivalency sports so the scholarships are likely shared amongst the athletes to fill out the roster. Men’s soccer gets 9.9 scholarships for their entire roster. Soccer has 11 players on the field so it doesn’t even cover the first team. A men’s soccer player who is getting a full tuition scholarship to any college is rare.

          As far as our athletic department goes, UGA’s Men’s Track has 31 athletes on the roster. Some are on the XC team too which has 15. There are 12.6 scholarships to split. Baseball had 30+ athletes on the roster splitting 11.7 scholarships. Golf and Tennis have 11. Men’s Swimming has 31 athletes.

          I think you are mistaken about the “diversity” on the rosters of some of these other sports. Baseball has two AA players on the roster. Golf has zero. Tennis has zero. Swimming has one. XC has one and there are 9 AA athletes on the Track team.

          I am worried about the future of these sports in college but I think it is ludicrous to say that football and basketball players should not be compensated in order to finance the rest of the athletic department. .

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    • If we drastically reduce universities’ cut of the upper college football echelon’s market value, 1000s of non-football athletes probably lose their scholarship.

      What you’re saying is that it’s better for football and men’s basketball players to support non-revenue sports than it is for a school’s athletic department to do so. Why so?

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      • practicaldawg

        I’m saying those other programs exist in their current form thanks to revenue generated by college football. I just don’t think you can look at each program in a vacuum. If you cut football-related revenue, then the funding has to come from elsewhere. That may be ok or it may not. Depends on what else has to be cut.

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  5. I’ve got a problem with the way the authors use the term “racism.”

    Wikipedia’s dictionary defines racism as “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalized.” This articles states “…systemic racism…includes college sports such as football and basketball — part of a system in which predominantly white executives, coaches, athletic directors and others profit off the unpaid labor of majority Black players.” However, according to the numbers mentioned in the article, 45% of football players at Power 5 schools are non-Black, as are 44% of men’s basketball players. How is the system racist, if almost half of the people subjected to the system are not part of a marginalized minority?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Derek

      While not agreeing with this in its entirety I do think that exploitation is labeled as “racism” if the burdened are disproportionately minorities.

      However, I don’t know that anyone could point to one change we would see from college football if the players were all white.

      They still would over work and under pay them. They still would value W’s over education. They would still take kids who don’t belong on campus academically and push them through if they could play.

      The powerful will squeeze profit out of the powerless, always, if they are allowed. The color that matters most in this country has always been green.

      Liked by 3 people

    • 45% of the players might be white…. but they’re not 1st-stringers.

      I mean, on major P5 teams what percentage of 1st and 2nd-stringers are black? It’s 60% or more, right? Could it be 70%? Maybe.

      Systemic racism doesn’t mean evil white men stay up at night thinking “how can I disadvantage young black men?” It means the way the system works is it DOES disproportionately disadvantage young black men while a wild proportion of $$$ benefits disproportionately go to older white men.

      You don’t understand that?

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      • tenesseewasnevergreat

        I think a lot of people “don’t understand” or agree with your definition of systemic racism. If we define systemic racism as any instance in which the race of people benefiting from a system disproportionately skews one way, we lump systems designed to oppress minorities in with systems that do not guarantee outcomes on the basis of race.

        Your absolute certainty about the existence of systematic racism does make sense given your definition. I think you’ll find that most of the people disagreeing with your conclusion about the existence of systematic racism, just disagree with your definition.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I remember the time when the college-athletic system was racist because it didn’t admit black players.

        Now the system is racist because it does? Or is it the amount of money generated by college athletics that makes the system racist?

        Either way, I can’t think of any profit-generating system anywhere in which the people at the top of the system don’t make more money than those just entering the system.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Derek

          The assumption is that college football is more unfair than it would otherwise be because of the racial make up of the teams.

          In other words the premise is that if these program were made up of all white kids they’d all have endorsement deals already.

          I get the instinct, but I think that what is ignored is that greed doesn’t care who it victimizes as long as it makes a buck off of it.

          And greed gets away with it because there are millions of people who can’t find their asses with 12 man search team and therefore don’t understand what is being discussed nor can they engage in that discussion effectively.

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          • Ever thought about the racial composition of the non-revenue sport athletes who are subsidized by the others?

            Hint: It’s less than 55% black.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Those participants in non-revenue sports also don’t get full COA scholarships under the NCAA limitations on scholarships. A non-revenue student-athlete at many out-of-state or private schools still end up spending more on their college than they would spend as a general student at his/her local state university.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Some of them do. And the schools pay for training and travel.

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                • Very few non-revenue athletes get a true full ride because coaches can’t afford to allocate a full scholarship to one player. For example, baseball has 11.7 scholarships to give. The Georgia baseball team has 40 players on the roster (I don’t know how many of those are walk-ons vs. scholarship). Women’s soccer has 14 scholarships to give. Georgia women’s soccer has 29 players on the roster.

                  Liked by 1 person

                • Instead of focusing on scholarships, why not look at athletic department expenses, which I’ve posted before? Coaches aren’t on scholarship; they’re paid salaries.

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                • I was only responding to your assertion that scholarship athletes in revenue sports subsidize those in non-revenue sports. In theory, a scholarship football player can attend college without incurring a dollar of direct expenses associated with attendance. I don’t think there are many athletes who can make that claim outside football and basketball (men and women) at most Power 5 institutions.

                  If your point is that those coaches in non-revenue sports are overpaid because their athletes can’t have a full scholarship and the revenue athletes subsidize those expenses, I can’t disagree with you.

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            • junkyardawg41

              The $53 per semester athletic fee charged to students would indicate subsides come from multiple revenue streams.

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            • Derek

              If you isolated track and field I think you’d see similar numbers.

              The representation is increasing in women’s soccer and softball.

              If there is a racial component in college sports its the public’s general patronizing, indifferent and/or hostile attitudes towards any complaints about fairness. That is to say that in a fantasy world where these football and basketball players were all white, the colleges would act exactly the same. The public’s attitude would probably moderate a bit.

              But usually the public sides with the people in charge no matter what. Anytime there is a labor dispute in the pro leagues by and large the public sides with the owners and against the players.

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            • Patrick

              Systemic racism really does make you think, and it can cut both ways.

              If NBA was 80% white, would there be more mainstream outrage about silencing Hong Kong support and accepting the $1.5B from China? We’ll never know.

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              • Derek

                As I said before, “green” is the color that really matters. Once you hit billions there’s really no meaningful discussion of morality.

                Dictator: Will you build concentration camp for your country?

                Businessman: No! That would violate all of my morals!!

                Dictator: We’re paying 100% over cost with a billion dollar bonus?

                Businessman: I’ve always prided myself on being patriotic. How many a month are we liquidating…sorry, I meant “processing” exactly?

                (Threatening to shoot the businessmen in the head would work just as well, but as any good Mafia boss will tell you, blood is expensive.)

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                • That’s a pretty grim post, Derek. Lol

                  Not necessarily wrong, but grim. I’m going to make a guess here. Among my friends, I’m known as the delusional optimist. I think we’re going to win a championship every year. But there’s always one guy in every circle of friends who sees 7, maybe 8 wins, tops. Which guy are you?

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                • Derek

                  I used to be unrealistically optimistic about football. In the 1990’s I was like today’s gators fans.

                  I think I finally watched enough football to know when you can compete, and when you can’t in the 2000’s. I used to put so much into coaching and intangibles but so many games are really decided before the teams get off the bus.

                  I’m pretty optimistic about 2020, if we play. Getting less optimistic about that.

                  When it comes to human nature, I tend to be pessimistic, but also cautiously optimistic.

                  We get better over time. Its inarguable that this is the most peaceful most egalitarian most humane world that we’ve ever had. But so much progress can be quickly reversed in difficult times.

                  If things get real bad you can lose it all.

                  This is a good summary of what I mean:

                  Prosperity is so interconnected with human progress and prosperity can end as quickly as you can snap your fingers. And a country of, for and by the people along with it.

                  It is because of that recognition that we are teetering upon a precipice that I am so impatient with the stupid and the uninformed. Being unserious about our democracy is a very dangerous thing. I can’t think of a greater symbol of a national lack of seriousness than …..PLAYPEN…..

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            • Gurkha Dawg

              Senator, ever thought about maybe the composition of UGA’s golf and tennis teams are the result of merit, just like the football and basketball teams? FFS, I guess when you’re a hammer…

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              • When did I ever say they weren’t?

                Do you have any idea what it costs for parents to get a kid enough training through their middle and high school years in a sport so that they’re good enough to catch a college recruiter’s eye? (I can tell you my wife and I spent a small fortune on one of our daughter’s competitive volleyball before she decided she’d had enough, so, yeah, I know.) It’s not something a family from a lower class background can swing.

                Doesn’t matter how great an athlete you are, if you don’t have the opportunity to hone your skills over several years.

                You want your hammer back now? 😉

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        • But you’re missing the point. The point isn’t that “the people at the top” are making more money than the “people at the bottom”. That’s always the case. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a capitalist society, or a communist society, or whatever. It’s always the case.

          I say “systematic racism” exists in a system that is inherently racist. It benefits – disproportionately – one race at the expense – disproportionately – of another.

          As an aside, Conservatives (I am one!) need to be more consistent with their beliefs. I believe that someone in the USA should be able to earn what they’re worth on the open market. And the current system scholar/athlete/amateurism model — in the most blatant way possible — prevents this for A-list athletes. Not only does it prevent this, but it TRANSFERS the wealth from these players who are worth it to schools and athletic departments.

          Is it really that hard to see why many blacks have labelled the current state of affairs a “plantation” mentality? I mean, the parallels write themselves when you hear the defense of the current system:
          – “They ought to be grateful for what they have!”
          – “Aren’t they already ‘getting paid?'”
          – “We educate them and give them SOME stuff!”
          – “And pats on the back!”

          Read carefully what I’m saying. I’m not saying all revenue should go to players. Heck I’ve already stated in this thread I don’t believe players should be paid out-right. They’re not employees. But should they have rights to their own NIL? Yes, definitely.

          I mean, look at it negatively. Who disproportionately BENEFITS from NIL if it’s legalized for players. Is it minorities?

          If the answer is yes, and the system is fighting to prevent it, then there’s your institutional racism. You may not like the way I frame it, but show me where I’m off.

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          • Don’t understand how the current system transfers wealth from players.

            You think Kirby Smart is making some of the money that George Pickens ought to be making?

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            • Derek

              Assuming the Chevy Dealership thinks Pickens is a compelling choice as competing spokesperson, then ‘yes.’

              It wouldn’t take much mental power to come up with products for which there is really no contest between the two as spokespeople.

              What could a player make on a podcast or radio show, like Kirby does?

              (I am not advocating for NIL rights nor do I think the denial of them is based in race, disproportionate impact notwithstanding, btw, but merely pointing out that Kirby would be in direct competition with his roster in any number of ways if the players get those rights.)

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            • Newsflash!

              Ole Miss AD and SEC commish Sankey “believe that loosening NIL rules will result in money being pulled away from athletic departments”

              Booyah!, as they say.

              https://blutarsky.wordpress.com/2020/07/02/lack-of-imagination/

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    • Normaltown Mike

      “systemic racism” is the new concept that the grievance industry has cooked up. 10 minutes ago it was “institutional racism” but, you see, the downside of this argument is that an institution [school district, police force], through a deliberative process can be improved by efforts of all stakeholders [the union, community members, the governing body].

      The great advantage of promoting “systemic racism” is that all stakeholders can be dismissed as racist themselves and thus, excluded from making an effort to improve. For example, they will start with a troubling fact “disproportionate amount of black students are disciplined at school”. If the cause of this is “systemic racism”, you can absolve the students of all conduct because it’s the teachers, librarians, lunch ladies, guidance counselors, principal and society itself that created a racist system of school discipline solely to target black students…not the students.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Derek

    Only 55 and 56%??

    There must be some really, really bad teams out there….

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    • tenesseewasnevergreat

      What do you mean?

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      • Derek

        You need a picture?

        What are the percentages at the teams regularly competing for playoff spots?

        Over 85% African-American?

        Is that correlation a happenstance? I have sincere doubts.

        It would appear that there is an extremely disproportionate representation among highly sought after recruits from a community that makes up roughly 13 percent of the population.

        Ergo, if you are getting those highly sought after kids, like UGA, AL, OSU, Clemson, LSU etc… then you probably aren’t very good.

        Got it?

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  7. tenesseewasnevergreat

    Why in the world would we have professional athletes play college sports? Why have a university invest resources in a professional sports league?

    If the problem is that not enough young black men are attending college (only making up 2.4% of the undergrad students) and those that are there are not getting enough education out of their scholarships, how does turning them into paid athletes fix anything? The vast majority would then be out of work in three years and they would still have no degree or education to show for it.

    The answer isn’t institutionalizing the players’ status as university employees; it is turning them back into university students first and foremost. Granted, they should have every perk and privilege we can throw at them, but comparing their “salaries” to coaches’ salaries is ludicrous.

    The first step is to eliminate the age discrimination that the NBA and the NFL are currently implementing. There cannot be a rule that says a player must be a certain age, have completed a certain number of college courses, or be a certain number of years removed from high school to play professional sports. Most players will not be ready to play early and the professional teams will not be interested in them, but those who are ready according to the pros should not be forced to postpone their professional careers and volunteer their time to promote a university’s brand.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. doofusdawg

    The ncaa has no say so on whether a kid can go straight to the league out of high school. The ncaa has no say so on whether or not a kid can leave after one year for that matter. Perhaps the nfl should be the target. They seem to embrace it. Of course that leaves all that ncaa money untouched and unavailable to agents and others.

    And as far as the exorbitant salaries paid to coaches and others… perhaps Murphy and others should propose increasing and expanding Trump’s surtax on non profit salaries above $1 million. Just go ahead and put a surtax of 10% on all income above a million as I have suggested before. That’s sure as hell better than a 90% marginal rate.

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    • doofusdawg

      I seem to recall it was the NFL playors union that strongly opposed kids going staraight from college to pro. Funny that.

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  9. “While Black men make up just 2.4% of undergraduate students at Power 5 conference schools, they represent 55% of football players and 56% of men’s basketball players…”

    This is just a philosophical observation, but this piece blows right through this statistic, and we are to presume that this lopsided representation is purely merit-based, while all the other statistics are an outrage.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hmmm. Well this got me to thinking. You would basically need to write a book on the myriad of factors and cultural issues that go into this. There’s a lot to it… all the way back to communities and families childhood education …Just everything.

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    • Gurkha Dawg

      Rabe, you better be quiet before you’re cancelled.

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  10. Snoop Dawgy Dawg

    Prior to c. 2000, the amount of money flowing through athletic departments really did support the narrative that there is not enough money to pay athletes directly. The scale just was low, across the board, such that the scholarship value really was a material benefit to the players.

    Now though? With departments in the major programs flush with cash that they can’t spend, almost like drug kingpins, it is impossible to say that players should play for the love of the game, when coaches are making $192,000 every 2 weeks. That said, even now, if the schools directly pay the players, then non-revenue sports are going to get cut. Period.

    Why the NCAA allowed this to fester for the last 20 years, versus getting out in front of it and allowing them to market themselves directly outside the schools for whatever they could make, really shows the worst of lack of imagination at the top ranks of these institutions. Allowing players to make what they could while in college may even spur on players to stay longer in school, as the difference in earnings isn’t as dramatic. That marginal player who ought not declare for the draft but whose family is desperate for earnings of any amount has a far higher current value as a star on a college team than going undrafted.

    Even in the non-revenue sports like swimming, golf, and tennis, these young players could get direct sponsorships while in school. while not to the same extent the star quarterback, in the world of sports, having a brand behind you makes you more valuable.

    This change is going to happen, but decrying the current model as racist is going to make people defensive if only because they are being accused of being racist for having supported something for many years. Sure, it looks good in the news and it gets tons of attention, but is the goal to realize lasting change, or to just get a few moments in the spotlight being for the right things?

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    • Nike, Titleist, and others would have lined up to sponsor Tiger Woods at Stanford if they had been able to do it. Of course, he wouldn’t have had a chance to win 2 other US Amateurs as a result, and Tiger could have jumped directly to the PGA Tour if he and his father decided that was the best path.

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    • The drive for longer seasons, more games, bigger playoffs, is all about Vegas and Disney and that’s how you get where we are. And people have bought into it.

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  11. PTC DAWG

    Kids getting a free College education, sounds horrible. Disband it all.

    The world needs ditch diggers.

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    • PTC, we’ve gotten into this in the past. I’m just curious, but do you think NIL reform is a reasonable solution to the “money” question? Would you support some type of requirement that makes athletes get real degrees as opposed to some useless degree that translates to majoring in their sport?

      For every Myron Rolle in college sports, there are countless football and basketball players who are in fields of studies designed to keep them eligible and not much else. I don’t think anyone believes that a full COA scholarship and the development a student-athlete receives don’t have value … I think the differences come in when you think about the things a student-athlete can’t do under the NCAA price-fixing rules that every other student on campus can do.

      Liked by 2 people

      • PTC DAWG

        College Degrees of most any kind open doors…it’s a fact. HS Football Coaching for example…

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        • That was classic deflection, PTC. You still haven’t answered the core of the question … what about name, likeness and image reform or the price-fixing practices of the NCAA? On your comment, I don’t think every student-athlete needs a degree that will prepare them for medical school, investment banking, or a career as an executive, but I do think many of the degrees that athletes get don’t prepare them for success in the real world.

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          • PTC DAWG

            I have no issues with them selling their names etc…I think some pretty nice handshakes are going on now for the players..

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            • You mean those $100 handshakes. I’m smelling what you’re stepping in, brother.

              One time a guy gave me $5 to find him a good table when I was waiting tables. I took the money. I gave him the same table I would have anyway. I felt smug for sticking it to the man.

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        • My UGA degree hasn’t done much for me really.

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    • Cosmic Dawg

      I agree with you a lot on here, but you realize pro sports / govt / college sports is a legalized forced guild system? As a free market guy, I would think you would be opposed to this egregious market rigging that suppresses an individual’s right to maximize his personal income.

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  12. Ozam

    How about this idea….. Let’s just kill college sports. Don’t get me wrong, I love college football. But, eliminating it and other college sports will in no way impact a college’s mission.

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  13. ApalachDawg aux Bruxelles

    Do the Ivy League and Service Academies have any of these financial “problems”?

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    • Shenandoah Canine

      I lived for a time in Annapolis, Md back about 30 years ago, and I know for a fact that the service academies have an advantage over everyone else because all the Midshipman, Cadets, etc., are in effect on “scholarship courtesy of the US taxpayer. Every Midshipman has a sponsor from the local community that acts as a guardian away from home. They loan them their vehicles, drop a bundle on them from time to time at top drawer restaurants, and all kinds of other good stuff, that athletes at other programs can’t partake in legitimately. I worked as a waiter in a restaurant that many sponsors and Mids frequented, and it sure seemed that athletes, in general, had the sponsors that were most willing to drop a bundle on them.

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  14. Cosmic Dawg

    Great post. People do a lot of wrangling to create legal environments where they benefit off others’ labor. End the NFL and NBA monopoly exemptions and challenge colleges ‘ rights to treat student athletes actions off the field different than other students and all this goes away. But what will happen instead is they will throw more rules onto a system that needs less legislation, not more.

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  15. TripleB

    Every year I go to Vegas with my best friend and our wives for opening weekend. About ten years ago, shortly after Saban got his huge contract, I told my buddy that this model would not last. I said we better enjoy college football while we can. Specifically, I said the lawyers are about to get involved, and they should.

    I don’t see this as racism, though it does have a disproportionate effect on black athletes, because there are more black elite athletes in football and basketball (the two sports that make money).

    I do think all players are unfairly robbed of their earning potential in two ways: (1) they cannot use their popularity to earn money, and; (2) If they have pro potential they lose earning potential by being required to play at the college level (this is magnified when a particular player is hurt).

    It seems to me that most all of the arguments of unfairness, racial or economic, would be eliminated by two simple steps. First, allow an athlete, like any other human in America, to work professionally regardless of whether he attends or remains enrolled in college. Second, allow athletes to sell their popularity (NIL).

    If those two things were done, no player would have the right to complain about being victimized. Their presence would be voluntary and they would receive, as opposed to give up, opportunity by being in school. They would be given an education and the ability to get better at their craft in the event they have a professional future.

    Selfishly, I think that would also help keep college football special where players are there because they want to be, there are no salaries, and college football would still be a refreshing alternative to pro football.

    Just my thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I would have to write a really long comment, To dig into all of it, but college football is the NFLs minor league. And that situation… the NFL and TV and colleges making money has created so much of this mess.

    Some good discussion here.

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