Interesting article by UM grad Chait exploring whether college football and basketball players are exploited. Well written as always and food for thought.....plus a picture from The Game on top.
Jon Chait on Paying Student Athletes
In summary, the article says that we shouldn't pay players because in theory, football and men's basketball players are paid already in scholarships and they are funding gymnastics and non-revenue sports. The only ones that are really exploiting the athletes are the coaches and athletic directors that make millions of dollars, and if we wanted to reign in some of the sanity than the NCAA should consider capping those salaries.
Not quite sure that I completely agree with that argument - you could take that argument a step further and say that we should be a communist country because if you work the same amount of hours as someone else, the two of you should get equal pay regardless of the marketability of your product or services.
are ridiculous, especially in places where the highest paid state employee is a football coach. That is out of whack.
I'm all for some kind of trust fund for the players. They get it when their college playing days are over and they hold a degree from that University. Not before, not unless.
Also remember that very few state agencies turn a profit. Mack Brown might very well run the most profitable "department" in the state of Texas by a long shot.
If their program makes as much money as some of these football and basketball programs do for their school, the coaches are worth every penny, IMO.
They aren't worth "every penny", they benefit from the players benefits being capped at scholarships, and are able to get more than they would otherwise. How much more is hard to say, they'd still be paid very well.
It so often seems as though every sportswriter in America thinks college football and basketball players should be paid in some fashion. And (almost) everyone who actually works in college athletics and understands the system thinks that paying those athletes is a terrible idea. It is in fact a terrible idea.
It is always refreshing, to read a writer like Chait.
Such a hard issue to approach, but here are some of my thoughts.
- If you start paying players, they get "a piece of the income pie", yes. However, that does not prevent them from wanting more, either through legitimate channels in future policy changes, or through improper channels. So, in terms of curbing the influence of boosters etc. on low-income athletes, I don't think this would have an effect.
- I don't quite understand how they feel like their compensation isn't enough. First, there are all of the intangibles, such as the experiences, life lessons, and comraderie (my dad made more friends who he is still very close with than I probably have acquaintances left over from college because he played football) that seem to be enough for walk-ons to come on for. Then there is the value of their scholarships in monetary terms... Someone stated in a thread a while back that the AD pays the full out of state tuition rate for scholarships. So, for a Michigan athlete we are talking $38k tuition + ~$1k books + ~$18k in stipends (based on what I have heard for stipends here in Columbus, about 1500 a month for living expenses so it could be wrong) x 5 years = $285k total value. Show me another student that can pull that kind of money over the course of their college career.
- How is this any different than students who perform research for the university? I can think of a number of undergrads who either did free research under a professor who obtained a grant (so no piece of the pie for them) or minimum wage (a likely very small piece of the pie). This is how universities work... They expect tuition PLUS work that they can profit from. It is just the name of the game across the whole university.
I don't think paying players (especially when it is any sort of performance based payment) is the answer. Instead, I think the solution is to eliminate the waiting time for athletes to go pro. Then, if they are able to go pro they can make all the money they want, otherwise college sports give them an opportunity to showcase their skills to the next level OR earn an education.
The problem is that it is a closed system. These guys can't market themselves and take what people would be willing to pay them. I have absolutely no problem with a performance based system. That's how things work in every other facet of society. There is no reason that college football should be immune.
As for your last point, removing the professional restriction would nullify my objections to the current system and its something worth exploring. Guys who want to play college football for a scholarship + stipend can do that and guys who realize that a football career is short and could end at any time and want to make money while can, are also allowed to do that.
I'm not the first one to say this, but give the athletes a lifelong free education. You want another balchelors? Come right up. Oh a masters? Thats even better, we'll foot everything. A doctorate? Sure! Just make sure you're accepted.
Now, the person who applies will obviously have to be accepted into the program, and there has to be some upper limit, like 10 years of free education. But if he is, I don't see any reason why the university should not pay the full tuition amount. Plus a low rate loan for room and board.
they will organize. Once they organize, goodbye college sports as we know it. I'm not making a social commentary here, just acknowledging the inexorability of collective bargaining.
(did you see what i did there?)
Maybe I'm missing a joke because no, I do not see what you did there, but why have they not organized yet?
There will never be enough money to get rid of the crookedness and greed. An individual like Pryor will always have a need for more. I would say that is a basic lesson that most of us run into. I recall geting my first nonminimum wage job that accually was secure. I had a base salary of 16K and made almost 21K. I thought I was wealthy beyond my wildest dreams. That was because before I was a starving student. 20 years ago my overweight friends got fit & trim the hard way. I had friends who lived on couches and pilfering raemon noodle packets from Meijers. Read Crime and Punishment. Students are always going to be poor. That is why we work so hard to get our degrees. Then we make ten times as much as realize we have just as much in the bank account as we did when we were starving ;)
Being a football player is a lot of work. But I would do it in a heartbeat. Sure beats how I payed for school. And maybe that is the true barameter. If we all would rather be in their shoes, why should they be payed? I will gladly take their place and wear a jacket with the letter and they can work the nightshift. Grass is always greener where the dogs are pooping.
"If we all would rather be in their shoes, why should they be payed?"
What on earth? That makes no sense at all.
The only argument for paying players is that they earn a ton of money for the University...
So do fucking students, grad assistans, and professors. As a Research Institute, any discovery made by a U of M employee is intellectual property of the University. A friend of mine invented a dialysis machine at age 21. She got paid $200. She is now in Med School earning a ton of debt, and the company who she worked for at the time is making millions.
The "plight of the college athlete" is not unique. A free college degree is about the nicest sounding compensation I can think of.
The difference between your scenarios is that your friend was free to market her skills to competitors and accept compensation in whatever form or amount she chooses. College athletes are not.
If the only argument for paying players is that they earn a lot of money for the university...well that sounds like a pretty good argument.