Fair enough. I don't know enough about where exactly all the extra money goes to say much about it, but I think if it went to educational expenses and building up the school and the athletic department it would fall within the bounds of my argument because those things benefit the athletes too. I'd be fine with more of a stipend as well, to give athletes a bigger piece, but I don't like the idea of agents getting involved as is being suggested because then you might as well get rid of the schools and call it Minor League Football.
The National Collegiate Temperance Union
A few days ago, occasional MGoGuestPoster Jon Chait marked the start of the offseason by posting something at NY Magazine about whether or not players should be paid. In a week or so we'll get the annual flood of playoff proposals, all of which are better than the current system, none of which are better than mine. (There is also a long post answering Joe Posnanski's playoff objections.) It is in these ways that we brace for the long, football-free summer.
So let's argue about paying players. Chait makes a few arguments that I agree with: that the "man in the top hat and monocle" who's cackling evilly as he exploits revenue athletes is the nonrevenue section of the department, that the ever-more lavish facilities and resources devoted to revenue athletes are a form of compensation*, that Jerry Sandusky doesn't have anything to do with anything, that the massive Atlantic article that had the bad form to be released during football season is a litany of complaints without solutions.
But I don't buy the idea that it's impossible to answer this question:
This basic conceptual problem casts light on the practical problem: Which athletes deserve to get paid?
This is what markets are for. Chait acknowledges this but says…
Such reasoning is sensible if you regard the ability to produce market value as the sole arbiter of social value. But it’s a strange credo for a reform movement putatively concerned with protecting young people from exploitation. And it bears little relation to reality: Go ask a female basketball player if she’s exploiting her male counterparts, or ask a quarterback if he is being economically victimized by the volleyball team.
Since I'm not a member of this reform movement I can say this argument is a little silly. I'm guessing that quarterback might say yes; ask him about his millionaire coaches and you'll get more affirmatives. He dismisses arguments about low-income athletes by saying the NCAA "unfairly ignore[d]" non-athletes when they voted that cost of attendance increase and that the problem here is that revenue athletes are not getting college degrees.
And like the Atlantic article, Chait weakens his case when he gets down to solutions, which are pitched at the degree problem. He provides three:
…one obvious reform is to make all freshmen ineligible for athletics, as they were until three decades ago.
While this is feasible it is unlikely to make a huge difference in outcomes.
A second, related reform would be to guarantee five years of free-ride tuition to every scholarship athlete who maintains a clean record – the automatic red-shirt season plus four more years of eligibility.
Thumbs up. This is something I've been advocating forever and would be an improvement. If you want to cut a kid, fine. He remains on scholarship.
The explosion in college coaching pay reflects both market competition and a simple desire by schools to use an astronomical salary to signal their coach’s excellence. So why not phase in a cap on coaches’ pay?
Because the NCAA already tried to do this and lost a lawsuit.
Taken together, those reforms don't really do anything. Oversigning gets less odious. This does not stop tediously enormous Atlantic articles from being published because "not getting degrees" is not the issue. The issue is select administrators getting rich while other, poorer people beat their brains out. In such an environment, trips to Miami and free tattoos and loaner cars are inevitable. Fixing that is the real issue.
*[It's worth pointing out that colleges do not have the option to extort local governments for facilities.]
Fixing Everything Forever
Operative theory: the NCAA's prohibition on taking money from everyone is working as well as Prohibition. The following randomly selected picture has nothing to do with this argument.
Right now the NCAA stance in re: professional athletics is to stick its fingers in its ears and go "LA LA LA LA." Enter a draft voluntarily and your eligibility is gone. Sign something binding you to an agent—even without financial compensation—and your eligibility is gone. Get sponsored by something and your eligibility is gone even if you're an Olympic athlete like Jeremy Bloom and you're playing an entirely different sport at an amateur level.
This does not stop the money flowing into the system, it just pushes it underground where no one can control it and it unbalances the playing fields. Steps to fix this:
1. Allow players to sign with agents, and get paid by them. Several restrictions apply. Agents must be registered with both the NCAA and the professional league in question and have clients from a variety of schools. The league in question must project the player as a draftable prospect. And there should be a cap on how much any individual can get paid. The agent system should be phased in gradually and carefully examined for abuse and unintended consequences.
This does a ton of things simultaneously. It lessens the hypocrisy of the system by allowing people who want to pay the kids to do so. It gives the NCAA leverage over a class of people who are banned outright—and therefore uncontrollable—now. It removes the agents' incentive to get kids out of school so they can enter a formal contractual relationship. It removes a big chunk of NCAA regulations, allowing the organization to focus on a smaller list of problems. It levels the playing field and removes a whole host of bad PR. It does not impact the schools' bottom lines.
2. Allow players who enter a draft to retain their eligibility. Hockey players all get drafted at 18 whether they want to or not. They can then play in the NCAA. This has not imploded college hockey. But if a basketball player puts his name in the draft he has to withdraw it ever-sooner if he wants to retain his eligibility. Actually going through with the process terminates his college career no matter the outcome.
If a player enters a professional draft and the team who drafts him doesn't want him on the roster, it doesn't hurt to let the player in question go back to school and play. Every year there are players who enter drafts and are passed over entirely; if they've retained their academic eligibility they should be allowed back. Not doing so is punitive.
3. Drop the QB #16 fiction and acknowledge that players own their images. This is going to happen via lawsuit in the near future; when the NCAA gets its ass handed to it in court they can go one of two ways. They can either force EA to have random rosters or they can give the players a cut. They should do the latter.
The things that have put the NCAA under fire of late consist almost entirely of people outside the system trying to give revenue athletes money. The NCAA rejects this because they uphold the ideal of amateurism, which has as much relevance in 2011 as temperance unions.
What is the downside of acknowledging that players have market value and allowing them to realize some of that value? There doesn't seem to be any. If the NCAA ever derived positive PR from its stance that's dead and gone. Let the players have a taste of their labors.
BONUS: Braves and Birds responds to the same column.
With Lawyers, its doing a clerkship. With doctors, its residency. With business, its internships. All high powered professions have a form of internship where your labor is underpaid so that you can get the expertise and experience necessary to succeed in said profession as you mature. I think that is exactly what NCAA basketball and football are. They get taught how to play the sport where they can make millions and are given the chance to get a backup degree for another career. That, to me, is compensation enough. Atheletes should get full cost of attendance scholarships and nothing more. They should be allowed to sign contracts with agents and allowed to enter the draft without losing eligibility but should not get more compensation.
if hospitals allowed residents to perform the same types of complex surgery that experienced doctors performed, or if there were days where only clerks were allowed to argue cases before circuit courts and state Supreme Courts, or where only interns negotiated budgets or project details or whatever.
But that's not what college football and basketball players are doing. They are not understudies. Those are the guys already in the pros, the ones on the bench who are learning at the hands of the experts, and for the most part, those are the underpaid players. The college athletes here are performing in the same spotlight as the pros, on the same channels, in front of audiences that are, in a number of cases, significantly larger than those of their professional counterparts, and with many of the same expectations before them. They aren't interns. They're less-experienced practitioners.
You wouldn't pay to have any of those interns do the work that you'd pay a professional to do, but I don't think there's a person on this site that bats an eye at paying for a ticket to the Big House (or any other stadium, for that matter). That's a false equivalence, and it's one that the NCAA is more than happy for you to repeat. They enjoy the idea that players are already "paid" (even though the same organization is more than happy to schedule games during weeknights so that they interfere with the athletes' ability to get those degrees, as long as those games bring in more money for the NCAA). They have no interest in examining their own role in this charade; in fact, their existence depends on not examining it, and on us not understanding it.
of college football. Does anyone doubt that if Denard Robinson and the entire starting 11 on offense mysteriously disappeared a week before the OSU game, that the game would not have still sold out and done the exact same ratings?
This individual player value idea is the David Stern model applied to college football, where we assume that the appeal of the game is related to it's star athletes. It is not. I would watch our games, and pay the exact same ticket prices, if we never had an All-B!G player--ever. And so would all of you on this blog I wager. The appeal of college football goes WAY beyond who the best players are, and I don't believe for one second that the money from the TV networks would decline a cent if Denard Robinson never was born (Thank God he was).
They may not be the reason for the success, but there sure are a lot of 16 jerseys for sale at the M-Den and a bunch of people on here clammoring for roster files the day that EA NCAA 201x comes out.
In other words, individual players are not the reason for the sports success (and I think Posnanski is right on about why people go), but individual players sure are a nice source of profit.
you can't divorce the #16 from the school he plays for. They are interlinked in their appeal. Without #16 there would be another number, and another number after that. But I don't say not to give the athletes anything, I just don't want agents involved and I want a way for all athletes to get something--not Brian's suggestion where like 5-10 guys get money.
Just for saying "iPod-thingy ."
Most people approach this argument from a pre-conceived stance of "players should get paid" vs. "players shouldn't get paid". Understandable, because what can not be changed in all of this is the fact we are human. And humans are pretty simple. We can be summed up in two sentences.
"If there is a pile of something over there that someone else is getting, I want some of that pile. And if it's good, I'm going to figure out how to get more of that pile than anyone else."
Instead of dreaming up all kinds of rules and programs which tries to keep a persons particualr interest in tact, go back to the roots.
Colleges were created to educate people. The majority of students do not go to college to get paid while they are there. They go on the expecatation that by doing so, they will improve their ability to get paid later. And yet, we look at a specific minority (yes sports fans, college atheletes are a minority segment on a college campus) and say something has to be done!!!
It's simple, the one thing student athelets do that other students do not, is risk a skill set which will potentially help them get paid later in life on behalf of their school. That is their bodies. So here's the proposal, as part of a scholarship (across all sports), schools are required to provide an insurance policy for each scholarship athelete. The amount of the insurance policy can be on a scale dictated by post graduation market factors (i.e. a football player would get a larger insurance policy than say a water polo player due to higher potential for earning income in the NFL vs whatever professional water polo leauge may be out there). Player gets hurt while at school and can't earn a living in their field, player gets paid the insurance policy. Player makes it through 4 - 5 years without career threatening injury, no payout.
Keep it simple, keep it true to the intent.
Very good points, IMO.
I agree fully with this solution, but it won't shut up the people screaming for the athletes to get paid. What if the revenue from college sports (including TV revenue) ALL went back to the universities for a general scholarship fund? That would benefit everyone, and ultimately, the mission of any university is to educate, right?
but just to ask how you would respond to this situation, what do you do for student-athletes that get cut? And what about the small matter of the REST of their education? Is the insurance money supposed to cover that, too? Or should that be handled separately? Some kids can afford to pay for the rest of the education, but I estimate that there's a lot who can't.
Same as happens now assuming they get cut for non-medical reasons. If they get cut, they are no longer on scholarship. Therefore, no more insurance policy. The insurance policy is basically a part of the scholarship just like tuition, room & board, etc. currently are.
I don't know what happens with baseball/hockey players once they are drafted, aside from the pro team keeping the rights to the player. Do they get a stipend from their team?
But I do think that it does make the college game a noticeable step down from pro games, since the best players are in the pros as soon as they're capable. Compare that to college basketball/football and the skill-level doesn't seem to drop off as much.
I think a position that give some power to the players is best for them. You get a guarenteed 4 or 5 years unless you are ruled ineligible, and are free to leave after any season. I don't know what to do directly about the problem of agents, but maybe this would decrease their demand.
When a hockey player gets drafted, it doesn't mean too much except that a specific team has your rights. Once you get drafted you have two years to sign a professional contract or else become a free agent and re-enter the draft. In college you get a longer signing period because of eligibility rules.
The problem with agents (and anything giving money directly to athletes), is that they can make deals with specific schools (underground if necessary), and pass along the money to the athletes, giving the schools a recruiting advantage. If you cap the amount of money a student can get, they will just get the rest illegally, as they are now.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't baseball players allowed to have relationships with agents while they negotiate after each draft they're eligible for? Meaning after high school and generally after their junior years? While they probably aren't allowed to front players any money, as your proposal allows, this process with baseball players does allow agents to form a legitimate relationship, which is often all "rogue" agents are looking for.
I really don't understand why college baseball and hockey are treated differently with respect to drafting, agents, etc. What's the difference?
Sorry, but i don't get this "players need to be paid" argument. They already ARE paid. My argument is based on (a) what the players actually get and (b) the fact that most kids coming out of HS would literally give their left testicals to be on full athletic scholarship in college even if they knew they had zero chance of going on and making it to the pros.
In exchange for playing college ball, players get a free college education (tuition, room & board, fees & expenses) from the best schools in the country. The average direct cost of such an education is probably somewhere in the neighborhood of $100,000 and is much higher at the best schools. They also get elite-level coaching, strength & conditioning, training table, medical care and academic assistance as well as tons of TV exposure so that the few who are actually talented enough have the best possible opportunity to make it into the pros at the end of the college careers. And, if that were not enough, they also get to be BMOC. Everyone wants to be their friend. They get all the hot chicks. They get untold "freebies". And they get lifetime membership in a fraternity - comprised of the school itself and other former players, alumni and fans - that is always there for them whenever they need a job or helping hand. Did Kirk Herbstreit and Jesse Palmer really end up making millions working for ESPN because of their amazing broadcasting talents or did they end up there largely because they played football at two of the top college programs in the country?
All of the above is an amazing package of benefits that every college athlete receives. If you need proof of its value, just consider the hundreds of thousands of HS kids who scratch and claw and beg to to be invited into this select group of special college students every year. And they do that fully knowing that the vast majority of them never will go on to play professional sports.
Yes, there are a relatively small number of athletes every year who are so gifted that they probably could jump directly to the pros without first going to college. Fine. Let them. But for the rest, including the vast majority of recruits who make up the the recruiting classes at all the elite football and basketball schools in the country every year, college is either essential to developing their talents and bodies and raising their games to the level that a pro team will be willing to take a chance on them or it is the last stop at which they can participate in athletics at the highest level in a sport that they love. IMO those athletes are extremely well compensated for their efforts.
Most scholarship kids couldn't afford tuition and r&b without heavy financial aid as it is. And studies unequivocably show that NOTHING...and I mean NOTHING...improves your expected socio-economic status like tertiary education.
Thus not only do they get paid through tuition and r&b, but also in drastically improved life chances...and that's just the ones who don't end up playing professional sports. Guys like Terrell Pryor, at the bottom of the pecking order, are now making $375,000/year. IGuys with actual prospects make orders of magnitude more, all facilitated by their college sports experience. They can cry me a river.
But as more money floods the system (Hello TV $$) shouldn't eveyrone's take get bigger? Currently everyone's take BUT the players' gets bigger. See my post above.
The problem isn't that the Denards of the world aren't being compensated for their efforts. They are. The problem is that Denard is bringing in a lot more money than he receives in compensation.
You don't throw out the baby with the bathwater. If, as you claim, Denard is getting screwed, let him go directly to the pros. Either he wants to play college ball or he doesn't, but you don't turn the system on its head to accommodate the small number of athletes who are the exceptions to the rule.
The next thing you will be doing is demanding that Ivy League students be given scholarships and be paid. Or even that top HS athletes should have agents and get paid. No. The Ivy League has chosen a system based on certain values and goals for that system and they should be allowed to do so. No one forces a kid to go to Harvard instead of Pitt. Just like no one forces a kid to go to Michigan on full athletic scholarship and play football. If there is a flaw in the system, it is in the restrictions that prevent HS students from going directly to the pros. Fine. Fix that. Let them go. It is an extremely small number of athletes and it can easily be handled by allowing those special athletes to skip college. But turning the NCAA into a pro system will destroy much of what makes it different and special. It is not the NBA. It is not the NFL. And most fans of college sports don't want it to be.
If he wants a paycheck, and someone wants to pay him, he can go pro. The employer has decided that there is no value in a player before he's completed a certain amount of college, so they won't offer them any contract. Not that different than saying the greatest legal mind on the planet still has to get a law degree before a big firm will hire him. His value is the scholarship value that a university is willing to give him, because currently, no one will offer him more. (You know, except Ohio State). What's really going on is that they're a bunch of guys earning equal amounts who don't have nearly the same value. We don't have guys getting screwed...we have a bunch of guys getting overpaid! See? It's just like the pros.
Last time I checked, the cost of everything is going up. That means the cost of virtually everything a student athlete receives from a school - tuition, room & board, books & fees, coaches and trainers, facilities, equipment, training table, travel - has increased over the past 20 years just like TV contracts. Also, the amount of money an athlete expects to earn if he successfully makes it to the pros is continually going up. The "value" of what every student athlete receives goes up every year, to some extent in direct correlation with the amount of money each athletic department brings in. It's actually a pretty good system when you really sit down and think about it.
While the increase of the cost of a bachelors degree has far outpaced that for any other expense, its value in terms of increased earning power has not kept pace. We need to focus on the bachlors because that is what the student athlete can expect to get over his four years. I can make a strong case that a degree from a top tier university has retained more of its value compared to the mean, but even in that case the real value has slipped. So the "value" that a student athlete receives has decreased, while the real revenue that his college recieves from his efforts has increased.
I agree completely with what you're saying. But at the same time, don't you feel a little weird about the fact that at any given home football game you see thousands of #16 jerseys, or that schools in the past have sold autographed memorabelia featuring current players, or that EA Sports uses the players' images as a huge part of the appeal in their video games? That's where I start to feel the model is screwed up. Players form a team and help the school raise money through ticket sales, TV revenue, donations, bowl revenue, etc. and for that they are compensated with all those things you mention. I just start to feel a little queasy about the situation when the money being raised is based solely on a player's image.
But even though it will kill their interest, I'm sure they'll go to generic players before paying anyone. I'm almost surprised they don't do that now, considering with "create your own player" they can have the customer do the dirty work for them. And some dude out there would do the whole damn game for a downloadable buck.
Jersey wise, it's always felt shaky too. I mean, you can sell a #1 jersey, and it would be popular, but maybe not as much as when say, Braylon, was actually wearing it. I mean, how are you going to make me believe all these people sudden are having Navarre nostalgia? Used to be the cheapo jersey type things you'd get at your mall or whatever would have the year number on them. Mandating something like that might help a little. All uniforms sold this year would be #11. Next year, #12. Etc. I'm sure the schools would get around it by doing NFL style build your own shirt things. And there'd be some program (SEC) that would make sure their best player would wear that year's number (though not too hard in 2012, might be a challenge in 2066).
Jesse Palmer didn't get there on his broadcasting talents...
What about the players that get exploited for TV and merchandising dollars, who see nothing in return? That's not fair. And I don't know what the solution to that is...but the notion that players aren't getting compensating is laughably wrong. Now, are they being compensated enough? Probably not. But a free agent system is not the solution, because if the players are going to get paid it's got to be a somewhat fair system. Denard puts in just as much work as Patrick Omameh, and yet we want to introduce a system where Denard's the only one who reaps benefits via agents? (Just a random example).
I don't know what the soluution is...I don't like how collegiate athletes are exploited for outside revenue, and it needs to be fixed. But legalizing, even in a capped sense, free agents doesn't make anything better and in fact, imo, makes things worse.
You're right to point out that it looms over all of this. I wonder, though, if you could have a system that bypassed it if players were being paid directly by, for example, the manufacturers of the jerseys that bear their numbers. I don't know the answer.
The football and basketball players probably deserve a bigger cut of the revenue they are generating, but this would have to be done in a way that doesn't give any more of an edge to richer/stronger programs. As of now, an Indiana football player gets approximately the same legal compensation package as an LSU player. If you allow players to sign with agents, there will be a lot more agent money going to the big dogs, and the little dogs will fall further behind. The result would be less parity, and more boring games and seasons. I could see giving every scholarship player within a conference the same (small) cut of total revenue generated by all the teams in the conference in that sport, though.
Restricting coaches' pay would be illegal under case law, but would it be legal to put a cap on total spending on athletics that would apply to every team in a conference? This might also allow surplus football and basketball revenue to be used to beef up academics at some schools, which is something I have wanted to see for a long time.
Couple of thoughts that will eventually lead to some kind of conclusion, I promise.
Thought 1: There is a problem with players not being paid at all. I am somewhat ignorant here, but is it true that players get NO walking around money, or is it that they don't think it's enough? If the latter, then boo hoo. I didn't have enough money in college either. If it's none, that's a problem, and my solution is that all college athletes should be paid a wage indexed to the cost of living in their town. So let's say A2 is the median college town (it probably isn't, but still): all scholarship athletes would get paid an hourly wage based on the number of hours the NCAA allows them to participate in sport-related activities. So, let's say it's 20 hours a week. They could get, say, $12 or $15/hour for the time they are in mandated sport-related activities. This seems fair to me, since playing a sport for your school pretty much makes it impossible to have another job.
Thought 2: The problem of players' not receiving a proportionate share of the value derived from their labor is only a problem for revenue-generating sports. This seems somewhat self-evident, but if there is no surplus to be expropriated, the players can't demand to get their fair share of the surplus. So, sorry men's gymnast. You will have to take the scholarship and go on about your business. You have no beef.
Thought 3: The problem of players on revenue generating sports not receiving a proportionate share of the value derived from their labor seems at first blush to be more of a problem for Denard Robinson and Mike Martin than for a walkon who will never see the field. I'm less sure of this one. On the one hand, part of me thinks that Denard puts asses in the seats; on the other hand, no matter who Michigan put on the field, there would be an audience. Michigan football creates its own demand, though the demand would surely be less if the players were all scrubs. Still, it is clear that even the 99th man on the roster of a revenue generating sport contributes to the revenue.
Thought 4: Paradoxically, however, the players least hurt by the expropriation of surplus value is in fact the players who create most of that value because they recoup their losses post-college. This one I'm even less sure of, because of course there are fantastic college players who probably generate a lot of revenue (at least collectively) but are unlikely to make that back in the pros. Think of the Pahokee kids--Smith, Odoms, and Hawthorne. They (at least collectively) contribute to generating surplus value, but they will probably never recoup that in the NFL. On the other hand, Mike Martin or Taylor Lewan probably will. So, the players who are the most exploited in college are the least exploited by age 30, and vice versa.
Hence, part of me thinks this whole paying players thing is much ado about nothing. The truth is that the vast majority of the D-1 athletes do not have any claim to the surplus generated by men's football and basketball. And, on some level, most of those players have no claim to it either, since people do not pay to see the 99th man in football or the 13th man in basketball. And, the players who generate the most surplus, while not getting it in college, get it in the pros.
So who are the children we're concerned about? I frankly wouldn't be against the idea of trying to value the contributions of different tiers of players, but that just seems way too difficult. The problem is that the market is good at placing value on the exploits of men's football and basketball players in the aggregate, but doesn't do a very good job of valuing individual players' contributions until they reach the pro leagues. In other words, being a Michigan football player is "worth" more than being a Southwest Missouri State football player, but how much is the starting quarterback on SWMS worth compared to, say, Michael Shaw?
Ironically, given the OSU foofaraw, one way to do this is to allow the players to sell their likenesses on the open market. So rather than splitting up the pie, allow the players to make their own pie. I think I might be able to get behind this.
1. I think players are much like most other college students. If you live in the dorm and eat at study table or live with a bunch of other guys (or girls) you have a bit of surplus, to spend on life and fun things. If you have a penthouse apartment to yourself, hopefully your parents are rich, or you go to Ohio State. It's not like they say "well, you're paying less rent, because you decide to live with 4 guys in a two bedroom apartment, so we're taking the surplus back." As you point out...basically like most college kids.
2. Do we ever really hear a male gymnast complain about his lot? Or what it really is, talking heads complaining about his lot? I don't think they're complaining about what they get in return. It's the guys with visions of millions in their head, even if they're not worth that, who pipe up.
3. It's more symbiotic than parasitic, to be sure. Yes, Denard brings in more revenue. But why is he a revenue creating machine? Because of his talents, for sure. But because there's a created showcase for him to display them. Big time college athletics. What did he have to invest to create a forum for him to show off his talents and become a profitable entity? Nothing. It's not so far off from the labor disputes we've had in the pros....owners don't play, but they want at least an equal cut of revenue. Because they're the ones who can take a loss (as the vast majority of college programs do...while the amount of college players who lose more than they gain from a scholarship is pretty remote). And I don't have numbers in front of me, but I'm guessing the scholarship cost for all players at an athletic department is probably at least close to 50% of the cost of program. The amount that's "profit" (outrageous coaching salaries, and AD salaries...really, the only people getting rich off this stuff) is pretty small in the grand scheme. The rest goes into facilities, travel, etc.....for players and teams.
4. Yes, a big part of it is the thought that guys are getting free training for their highly paid jobs in the pros, and increasing their value into the millions. Not a bad return. But it's actually all the other guys who profit even more. (And of course, those 99th guys, who probably make off the best...though they put in all the work, and don't get the glory, or even a sniff of a big contract). Yes, the Pahokee kids have been the type who contribute, and aren't getting a big payday at the end. But what they do get is something they probably could never have gotten without their football talents in the sadly destitute Pahokee area - a debt free college education (in this case, from one of the finest universities..but in any case, a college) that satisitically increases their lifetime earnings greatly if they're an average person....and coming from low level poverty, hugely. And, at the rate of a college education today, which has gone up faster than even tv dollars have, again I say, debt free. So they get all that extra earnings...and they pocket it all. They don't have to play back loans for their first decade.
I don't have a really big problem if they can find the funds to throw a few extra hundred bucks at ALL athletes (because while I completely feel for Brian's true free market system, the theory that works isn't necessarily how the laws of the land currently work- he mostly dodges Title IX whenever he posts these things, and really, that has to be your starting point). But to say it's going to stop cheating is silly. Most college players aren't starving. Borrowing a dollar to go for a pizza with a girl (Sorry Chris Webber, I know you felt bad you couldn't do that as you were taking thousands in handouts). Players take stuff because they feel entitled to it. And if you give them a bit more, the ones who feel that way are STILL going to feel like they deserve more. A Pryor isn't going to say.."well, I got an extra $200 a month...I don't need to sell anything for tattoos...or take that car"....he's not going to be happy till he's treated like Lebron. Even if he in no way deserves to. You're not changing that for any amount of money. And all you're doing is trying to change the handout over and above changing from boosters to agents. Which is the Penn State way of handling a big problem "we don't care if you do it...just don't do it when you're here."
But I can ABSOLUTELY see him in a top hat and monocle.
"Allow players to sign with agents, and get paid by them"
if your goal is to bring down NCAA college athletics, this is a good first step. Any solution that brings agents into the fold and makes them more involved with college campuses is a HUGE step in the wrong direction. Try again!
This makes the whole system akin to minor league football where the teams are only tangentally associated with the college/university.
No, thank you.
The only thing we need is to better inforce the rules and actually carry out some justice to the programs that are caught - like Ohio State.
Fry'em - another institution will take its place and the machine will keep on rolling. That is the ONLY thing that needs to change.
I don't agree with the fairness doctrine (how can I -- in an unfair world where TV market share determines program value Michigan wins). But I believe it to be at the heart of NCAA's recalcitrance.
The idea is that not all schools' marketability is the same. When you cross the line into professionalizing the players and letting some make more than others, the ones who will make more will be the ones playing in bigger markets. There are way more Michigan #16 jerseys out there than Michigan State #8s despite Cousins starting twice as long and having more success. Because Michigan State is a brand only to 1/4 of a Midwest state. If the Denards get 5x the payout for being successful at the brand name university, that gives the brand name universities a big leg up in recruiting.
Moreover, the big programs will become more attractive to the mercenaries. Imagine Notre Dame filled with the nation's biggest mercenaries. Again, I'm playing NCAAvil's advocate here: the notion that the big athletes are just playing football for the big programs because they love school doesn't get past a sanctimonious Kirk Cousins speech. However that notion is critical to the NCAA's marketability: at the core of collegiate sports is the perception that the players are members of the student body who serve the school for altruisitc ideals and the greatest thing in the world: a degree from [Your State] University.
So if they're going to have agents, yes, that's a great idea. The thing is they just can't get paid things, or else we're back to the same problem: Terrelle Pryor wants a car, and there's a Columbus dealership that wants to give Ohio State players cars. And more importantly, if you legitimize it, Urban Meyer can go around the country touting up the fact that if you go to Ohio State, you will get a car, which to a 17-year-old is like candy to a 7-year-old or a six-figure income to a 27-year-old. So now Dave Brandon is sidling up next to Dunning Suburu so Michigan can offer the same?
At some point the kids with their hands out do need to be separated from the collegiates who are sacrificing their bodies to make someone else rich. I'm comfortable with a system that allows Denard Robinson and Michael Shaw and Tom Pomarico to all benefit the same, but once they're benefitting at different levels there's room for problems.
So if you want to put something palatable before the NCAA, it's going to have to reward all students equally. The EA things is something I've been behind for years now because for one it's pretty obvious the players' likenesses are being used, and two because EA SPorts wouldn't even have to jack up the price because having the names and likenesses available from Day One would make their product more marketable. And in an EA Sports roster, there's no difference between QB #16 at Michigan and FB #49 at FAU so no player can benefit more than another. By the way I wouldn't have it just be based on which players are in the game (many aren't, and even when they are it's hard to distinguish one 5'10, 180 freshman CB from the other three who didn't make it) but make it a lump sum paid to all of the players in that sport, scholarship or otherwise. Or if that's not going to work, make it a scholarship fund that athletes from that sport can draw on to go to grad school.
But would it work, legally? Or would the answer to money from video games and a #16 jersey or whatever be that you now have to get EA to produce a women's water polo game, so they can get an "equal" cut too?
It depends on who's providing the money. If the money is coming directly from the university to a broad class of male athletes (ie all football players receive a greater stipend because their sport sells more jerseys), then from my understanding, it would be subject to title 9 and the university would have to make an equal payment to female athletes (this is basically the cost of attendance proposal, differently formulated).
If it was coming from EA, or if the school (or Nike/Adidas) was paying particularly marketable players for a percentage of jersey sales, it would run afoul of the NCAA's current bylaws but would be fine as far as Title 9 (the benefit going not to a class but to particular people).
It would, of course, raise issues with things like the #1 jersey, which is still for sale everywhere. Who gets the proceeds from that? Does it get split as a percentage of bewteen AC, Braylon, and David Terrell? Does Tyrone Butterfield see a cut?
No one mandates bowl games, with lavish bowl gifts for players, for the field hockey team. Which, as you say, isn't the University supplying it. So there may be ways around it.
That's right. The equal funding element of title 9 comes because scholarships are issued by federally funded educational institutions.
Title 9 says nothing about benefits given to athletes by non-educational institutions. That's all the NCAA's to regulate as they see fit.
If that's the case, go with the graduate education concept and make it available to all NCAA athletes who compete for four years (or got a medical hardship waiver) and have it be merit-based. I guess it's defeating the point of paying the guys whose likenesses are actually 'In the Game'
I think EA can reasonably be expected to say exactly which players are which -- once they have names at least. However I still think that's a bad way to do it because the users are going to go and fix most of the mistakes as soon as they get their game. Why should Greg Brown get a check when everyone turns his sprite into Countess or Carter or Hollowell or something? Why should Cullen Christian instead of Terrance Talbott, who is of the same class and actually a member of Michigan's football team? Because Cullen had a higher rating on Rivals? I guess it'll have to be that way though because of Title IX. So yay for recruiting rankings determining if you get paid your freshman year or not.
So the best way is still to give it to all NCAA athletes in that particular sport. Yes, acknowledge that they're not the swim team. This whole thing is going to take a bylaw change.
All the women in that photo are ugly, they are not making a strong case.
anyone have the link to the atlantic article brian speaks of?
Google "Taylor Branch, college athletics"
It's a great article, even if you disagree with his prescriptions. Fascinating seeing the origins of "student-athlete" as a way to dodge workman's comp.
Here is another angle. Used to be most top college basket players stayed at least 3 years. Then players started going directly to the pros via HS. Now we have this ridiculous rule that does not allow it. So we have all of these one and done players. It is only there so NBA teams and scout out the Kwame Brown bombs from the real players. If the top 10-20 HS bball prospects go directly to the NBA it does not change the value of the product. Ditto if the top 30-45 HS prospects went directly to the NBA. We would still watch the college product.
If we still all watch the college product, that implies that the players who have professional talent do not add any additional value on a macro scale. They are only valuable if they help that individual team win. If the top 20 individuals are in a professional leauge and teams are fighting over the 21st best player who is suddenly now the best. Were back at the same spot.
If we could transpose 1984 to 2012, the NCAA basketball contract is worth the same if Patrick Ewing, Jordan, and Barkely are playing for a school contract or not. The same number of people will still watch NCAA basketball games.
If a HS kid thinks he is worth millions, he should go to Europe if he believes the NCAA and the schools are unfairly making money at his expense.
But it has hurt "the product". Games aren't as good, because teams aren''t as good, because the talent isn't as good. Those 80's teams you mention, or the 90;s ones like Duke, or the Fab Five would just clean up now. A squad like that would finally be the one to go undefeated. Because they'd be so much better than the rest.
And the same number of people aren't watching. Partly because there's a million things to watch, but the most of the highest rated games....MSU/Indiana St., Duke/Michigan...are from way back. A watered down product with guys no one knows, that aren't setting up battles between future NBA big name talent who have been around a few years takes away a lot of the interest. It's the Tournament as an event, not teams.
In the early days of college football, many colleges would sign local adults to a class or two so that they could play football. Generally they dropped out of school at the end of the season. Generally these guys were paid to play. Often these guys were former players. Some played for eight or nine years. The situation where a 19 year old student was up against a 27 year old steel worker was considered unfair. From that situation we ended up with the current prohibition on compensating students to play sports.
Obviously times have changed. I believe that a student should be paid a percentage of the revenue that his or her university derives from his sport. This includes sponsership deals, franchise deals etc. From my persective it is simple fariness.
What does the Michigan football program take in a year from all sources? $100 million or so? FIne, in addition to a full scholarship, take some percentage, say 7.5% and split it evenly across the 115 players on the team. It's not a lot of money by modern sports standards, but a responsible athlete who fails to make the pros could graduate with a pretty nice nest egg to start his life. Or if he were so inclined to pursue a graduate degree without requiring student loans. This percentage would be the same for all division 1 schools.
And then say good bye to the walk ons that the team takes on voluntarily. I wouldn't want to be the one telling Jordan Kovacs or Will Heininger they can't be on the team because the scholarship players have to get paid.
For everyone who makes the argument about colleges and rich people making more and more money while the poor student athlete stays the same, I sure hope you are not working in or plan to work in the U.S. capitalistic economy.
The company I work for makes tons of money. More and more every year to meet stock analysts expectations. Do I get the chance to go ask them to open the accounting books so I can figure out what piece of the pie I should be getting? I would really love to hear a sound argument for this entitlement attitiude other than, "it's not fair".
You can't have a seating capacity of 109,901. You can't have the largest indoor practice facility. You can't have head coaches who make $2.5 million. You can't have defensive coordinators who make $700K. You can't have weight rooms and locker rooms who attract the Denards, Howards, Woodsons. You can't have any of the things you love and cheer for without money.
So let's face reality, yes, there are some people who are going to get rich on the backs of those who do the work. And those doing the work can ask for more all they want. But just like I can leave my job because I think the grass is greener some place else. I urge any student athlete who feels they are being taken advatange of to give up their scholarship and go make it in the real world.