Paying Student-Athletes Does not Solve the Problem

There has been a lot of talk of student-athletes of the high-revenue sports (football and men’s basketball) receiving compensation.

Conference commissioners are pondering whether it should be monthly or in the case of college football after every game.  The Big Ten (now 12) commissioner Tom Delaney introduced the idea.

South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier, a.k.a. “the ‘Ol Ball Coach”, wants to pay players out of this own salary after every game during the season.  Turns out that all of the coaches in the SEC would sign off on that.

First, let me state that I am a bit old fashioned in that I believe that a scholarship at a high-profile institution is nothing to sniff at.  A lot of the scholarship recipients would not have a chance to attend a college – let alone a major university – if it weren’t for those scholarships.

However, I do understand why people are campaigning for these kids to be paid.  While it’s all good that some suits in college football and basketball would want to give these young men stipends, it still won’t fix what’s corrupt about those two sports.  In fact, it will make things worse.

Most schools’ athletic programs lose money every year.  An NCAA report shows that just 14 of the 120 Football Bowl Subdivision (that’s Division 1-A) schools made money from campus athletics in the 2009 fiscal year.

So the question is, where in the world would administrators get the money?  Most, if not all schools use money from football and basketball to fund the other non-revenue generating sports programs such as baseball, softball, volleyball, and lacrosse.  Most school would have to “86” those programs in order to pay for student-athletes.

Throw in Title IX programs and you’d open up a new can of worms.

And let’s face it, even if they started paying student-athletes, it will not stop students from receiving additional “benefits”.  For one thing, no matter how much they will be paid, it would never be enough.  There are big-money boosters who would happily throw hundreds and thousands of dollars to recruit and appease the five-star, blue-chip athletes.

So what’s the solution you ask?

It’s simple, but it will never be done: cut out the boosters.  Boosters are the ones who tend to give these kids money under the table.  Check out ESPN’s “30 for 30” film titled “Pony Excess” if you do not believe me.

Boosters will never be kept away from those student-athletes because they have two things you and I will never have – lots of influence and even more money.

And as ESPN’s Chris Broussard once said about money: not only does it talks, IT HOLLERS.

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. JAG says:

    You’re absolutely right. You can’t pay the players. Only a small fraction of college athletes bring in revenue (starting football and basketball players at about 25 schools). Are you going to pay the 3rd string linebacker? Are you going to pay the women on the swim team? If you don’t, the women’s groups will be lighting up the state legislators and wreckin’ shop.

    The only solution I see is to let the star players get legal loans from a bank. If a bank is willing to lend a kid money based on his potential to become a wealthy professional athlete, then let them do it. If the college kid is willing to let the interest run while he’s in school, then the bank can make a profit and the kid can enjoy his college years.

    Banks make loans based on the potential of a person or business to become successful every day. A person shouldn’t give up his right to obtain a legal loan because he’s on an athletic scholarship.

    If the third string linebacker or captain of the women’s swim team can’t get a loan, tough. There’s no discrimination issue now that the school is not the one paying some players and not paying others.

    My point is that major college sports is awash in money and somebody’s going to offer some to the stars. Might as well take it above board and find a legal way to do it.

    Prohibition didn’t work – neither does trying to make it illegal for these star players to participate in the fruits of their labor and popularity.

  2. klownboy says:

    Yeah. A scholarship at a major college gives these kids the chance at a good education. A lot of those kids would not be able to afford to go to college, especially ones such as Ohio State, Michigan, UNC (yuck!) or Duke.

    Either eliminate the boosters or change the system…

  3. JAG says:

    How do you “cut out the boosters?”

    The great majority of boosters operate within the rules and provide great service to the programs and university. They organize road trips, tailgate parties, meet with prospective recruits (within the rules), help identify high school talent, raise funds for the athletic dept which goes to all sports, etc.

    Without an organized program for the boosters to follow, they would be operating independently without proper instruction on the rules. Then you would really see chaos.

    I suggest that we don’t get rid of boosters; just crack down on the ones who are breaking the rules. If a few pay stiff fines and are banned from all games and activities, others may straighten up.

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