I don't usually agree with Michael Wilbon -- he's one of those shouting pundits that typically speaks before he thinks -- but he has a point in this article. It's crazy how much coaches and athletic administrators are making at the expense of college athletes.
Money and college sports
How much different is Mike Wilbon...just a talking head...talking *about* these issues...I'm sure he'll make a couple mil this year...
Glass houses Wilbon.
who would win in a fight:
Mark May (lou holtz as trainer) or Mike Wilbon (kornheiser as trainer)
come on out of state costs at Michigan run about 40k a year. it's ridiculous to think that these kids are getting screwed because they aren't..
The league minimum salary in the NFL this season is $325,000. While the vast majority of college football players are not NFL prospects, some are.
A person who has marketable skills worth $325,000 (or more), but who for arbitrary reasons is permitted only to obtain in-kind compensation worth $40,000 for his labor, does not receive a fair deal.
Since the NFL arbitrarily excludes all players less than three years removed from high school, and since the NFL is a monopoly, playing college football is the best economic choice open to those players. For the majority of players this may not be an unfair exchange, for those few who could be playing in the NFL and earning 10 or 20 or 50 times the value of their scholarships, it is decidedly not fair.
of a 'fair deal' is what the market will bear, then I would like to point out that they are in fact earning what the real market will bear (a scholarship for now) and as such your argument is self-defeating.
If however, you are talking about some unfettered market, free of social and legal restrictions then 'fair' isn't even a relevant term.
Many of these kids are in fact receiving lots of money and perks, e.g., Reggie Bush. Under the table, sure, but those are still "real" markets. And it's not criminal, just against the NCAA's regulations. Moreover, there are many sports (e.g. baseball) where players at the same age and talent level are in fact receiving money, which suggests that we don't have to imagine some "unfettered market, free of social and legal restrictions." Your attempt at a reductio ad absurdum is absurd.
for financial gain. Our financial structure is built upon relationships like these.
Well... most relationships aren't quite as advantageous for those being used. These college athletes have real opportunities presented to them that many of their high school peers of lesser talent never will, whether it's making it to the pros or in a non athletic profession by virtue of a free education. These kids are giving something (that most of them love and enjoy) to get something in return.
For the most part, they don't even have to face the consequences of their actions beyond game suspensions (Green in the article) or trophies stripped (Bush perhaps), but these are trivial as long as the real opportunities remain. It takes a Cissoko or a Clarett to lose out on those.
As our capitalist democracy evolves, Wilbon's idealized notion of fair becomes ever more irrelevant. The fact that idiots like Terrell Owens make more in a year than dedicated educators of our children will make in a lifetime indicates that neither 'fair' nor 'rational' has been a significant part of the social equation for quite some time.
Luckily for me, most of the reasons that I am irrevocably hooked on Michigan football are not at all rational either, and therefore afford me temporary immunity from all that other unfair and irrational stuff.
the argument that teachers should be paid more than athletes is. . .distorted. number one, the skill set needed for being a teacher is not as genetically rare as the one needed for being Terrell Owens. Very few people who are 6'5 can run a 40-yard dash in four seconds. Do we make too much of this? Maybe. But, we made sports into this, into a celebration of the absolute best of the best.
The other thing that I think is very, very frequently ignored is that someone can teach from the time that they're 20 or so until at least 70. An athlete in the NFL can make it to 30, if they're lucky. The average career for an NFL player is 4 years, at which point their bodies could very well be destroyed, not to mention their minds. The Lions in Winter did a few fantastic posts about this around the time of Ndamakong Suh's holdout, though I can't locate them right now, unfortunately. I know the writer from that site comes here from time to time, despite being a Michigan State fan. Perhaps he knows better how to find these.
the argument that teachers should be paid more than athletes (even though I think they often should) I was merely pointing out that the notion of fair tends to be well... distorted. 1 yr TO pay > Lifetime of multiple teachers pay combined.
My company's CEO received a raise last year that amounts to more than I will earn in my entire career to retirement. This is another celebration of the best of the best as you put it... just not in athletics.
I think we all agree that athletes bodies take a lot of wear and tear in a short period of time... good thing they have that college degree to fall back on when their sports career ends. The one they got for free while having fun playing the sport they love.
If schools start to pay student atheletes then you'll never see a Boise State or TCU crack the BCS ever again.
presumably, paying would not be a bidding war situation, at least not at the beginning. i mean, maybe it would turn into that, but, even if they were to allow for a stipend, the NCAA would never go for a difference between schools. Not that they'd go for a stipend.
But, I don't see how this argument makes sense. Couldn't you say, if some schools spend ten times the amount other schools do on football, only those first schools will ever crack the BCS? It's not like BCS and TCU are doing this by getting 5-star recruits. They're doing it by under-the-rader recruiting and outstanding coaching. I don't see how that'd change.
Paying the players would be too problematic, and would turn players into employees, but players deserve to be paid. So, players should be allowed to get outside income however they want to.
If a booster wants to "buy a stud running back" for his favorite school so he can brag to his buddies, great. Buy Reggie Bush's parents a house? Great: how 'bout a little bit for Reggie, too? And there must be a way to pay players for selling jerseys with their names on them without making them "employees." If a company wants to pay a player to help sell their products, no problem: sign them up.
The best players go to the schools with the best programs as it is now, anyway, so letting them get paid won't really change the distribution a lot. All it will do is give the players the freedom to make money, just like a normal student. Also, if anything, it will give schools like, for example, SMU a chance to buy their way back into relevance.
I have been against the enforcement of shamateurism for about twenty years now. I see no reason to change my mind. Allowing players to cut their own deals with boosters would give players a "piece of the pie" without actually taking it from the pie. The schools and bowls would get to keep their precious money while the players would be paid according to merit.
but I wonder about this issue of "choice." Actually, these kids don't have much choice, because as a previous poster pointed out, the NFL is a (virtual) monopoly and to play in the NFL you have to play college football. Of course, these student-athletes choose to become football players, but it seems odd to argue that they have to accept an inherently unfair (how unfair is debatable, but most seem to accept that it is somewhat unfair) system if they want to have the chance to play in the NFL.