I don’t doubt the sincerity of those of you who are strongly opposed to player compensation. What I do doubt at times, though, is the willingness to take stock of how much money is sloshing around P5 college sports these days. It’s crazy. Take this example:
Ever since sports betting has been legalized in many states throughout the U.S., the SEC has been one of the industry’s largest beneficiaries, according to commissioner Greg Sankey.
Sankey, in a recent appearance on The Paul Finebaum Show, explained that the SEC has amassed an incredible amount of attention through the sports gambling space, with the total amount wagered on conference games turning in an incredible number.
“We’ve actually looked through statistics of what’s been wagered on Southeastern Conference games and it’s enormous,” Sankey said. “Nearly $2 billion through the fall.”
That number, of course, would exclude the greater part of SEC basketball season, as Finebaum said that the near-$2 billion total was only what was measured through the fall season.
Nearly $2 billion! In a third of a year! And that’s a mere revenue sideline for schools (or at least it is presently). Sheesh.
It’s one thing to believe that players in the ’70s and ’80s were happy with a scholarship and free room and board. That was an era when coaches routinely were paid in the five figures and athletic programs made do on a lot less revenue. It’s another to think that players’ attitudes don’t change in the face of a revenue tsunami. Clearly, coaches, administrators, college presidents and conference commissioners have all changed with the times. “The times” in this case being the outsized emphasis we as a society put on the price of entertainment.
Ah, if only college athletes were as big amateurism romantics as some college fans are…