OT: Arian Foster thinks student athletes should be paid

Submitted by julesh on April 4th, 2012 at 12:55 PM

I didn't see this posted yet. I think he makes some really good points, but his reasoning is somewhat off. NCAA may be raking in money (I'm not sure what their profits vs. revenue looks like) but most schools are not. Only 22 athletic departments turned a profit in 2010. As we know from the arguments going on with full-cost-of-attendance scholarships, the schools that are not turning a profit do not feel like they can afford to give athletes any more than what they do currently. 


(Will embed below.)



April 4th, 2012 at 1:06 PM ^

Do get paid. I don't understand this argument ever. Anyone who gets a full ride to a major D1 program where they generate big dollars gets practically 150-200 G's. That is a shit ton of money. That is real money!


April 4th, 2012 at 1:19 PM ^

I agree with you, but I do sympathize with student athletes who end up with no extra spending money. They don't need a lot, but enough to see a movie on occasion, or not feel like they have to scrounge for food on the weekends. The rules that do not allow them to work while on scholarship seem to be the biggest problem. (Though I do understand why they are there, and I am not suggesting they be changed.)

And I think a bigger issue with convincing the student athletes to think of it that way is a lot of them don't really see the value of an education that way. If they could go straight to the pros, many would be happy to forego getting a degree. So it's not like they are really saving $200,000 over four years. If they couldn't play football/basketball, they wouldn't be spending that money on education.


April 4th, 2012 at 1:34 PM ^

You have to be living pretty high to not to be able to see a movie. And considering there's training table free meals for most who would have their hands out, I haven't noticed any linemen starving. They get enough food....better than most students.

And your last decision process is puzzling...so, they can either get $200k in free tuition...or they could choose to get ...nothing?  Because the amount of players who are going to make it in the pros is really, really small...and the number that could just do that out of high school even smaller.  So their choices are play sports for free schooling and get a good job afterwards, or go work at a gas station right out of high school.  Which they can do right now.


April 4th, 2012 at 2:09 PM ^

I'm certainly not talking about all student athletes here, but there are definitely those that if they did not play football, would not care about getting an education, anyway. Or if they did, they would likely be in-state or at a community college for the first couple of years. For them it's not that if they don't get a football scholarship, they will have to pay $200,000 out of pocket.

As for food, I was referring to what Arian Foster said. If he's lying or exaggerating about kids having to pool their money together to get some fast food on the weekends, then I concede the point.


April 4th, 2012 at 2:31 PM ^

It sounds like we're agreeing.  Yes, there are students who wouldn't go to college if they didn't play football.  But in fact, every single one of them can NOT go to college and NOT play football after high school if they so choose. You don't care about the education, great...market yourself with your HS diploma. Is there a much higher percentage of people who think they're going to get paid professionally for their sport and go to college because of it because of it than actually are going to get paid? Yes. the ones with a bit of common sense realize this in school and dedicate themselves to a degree too.  Some will delude themselves and get nothing out of the experience. But that's true of anything you can take part in, in many facets of life. We can't save people from themselves. Free choice and all that.

I don't doubt there are some kids who have to pool their money together to get food. I know when I was in college we used misprinted Bell's coupons and pooled money to get a pizza multiple times a week. Much like many a college kid who wasn't coming from big money families that had parents that gave their kids a blank check (vs. those that had some money but actually made their kids value a dollar). But the money is there, and it's going somewhere. Webber may have not been able to afford a pizza (BWAH-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!), but instead of sharing an apartment with 3 or 4 other guys, an athlete might have their own place; or some great bling; or a car on campus no one needs; or tattoos. Of course, most of the rest of us were actually paying for most of our meals in addition to a little fun on the weekend...OUR meal plans weren't free.  We were paying for them.  No training table for us, with those extra high quality food items. It was "can't wait for sloppy joe day."  The difference being that most students paid for those meals, while that money that was being pooled for that weekend pizza was given to them.


April 4th, 2012 at 3:00 PM ^

The problem with the current system is that NCAA football is the minor leagues for football. I know there's CFL or arena or a few other options, but the number of players from there that get drafted to the NFL is tiny, especially in comparison to the number of players drafted from NCAA football. If you want to play in the NFL, your best bet is through college, whether you want an education or not. So for those kids who just want to be in the NFL, why would they see the tuition spent on them as payment?


April 4th, 2012 at 1:40 PM ^

But they do end up having a little extra spending money. They just have to be smart and get an off campus apartment. Then they will get that allotment for housing, the apartment is much cheaper than a dorm, and they can use the rest for whatever they please. It's how a lot of athletes do it now and in the past (I have a family member that did exactly this while she was on scholarship at Michigan).


April 4th, 2012 at 2:16 PM ^

They can use their skillsets to pay for school as well, then, if their market rate is as high as the players. Essentially, everyone above is arguing that a football player is worth $200,000, right? If they can earn fifty thousand a year, they'll have their school payed for as well.

What's the difference between the school picking up the tab on your education and having your job as an elite flute player or financial prodigy pay the school?


April 4th, 2012 at 2:25 PM ^

I know the school has no qualms with them appearing in advertisements for flutes, giving flute lessons or accepting gifts based on their flute playing ability.

I guess the real question would be time; would the Detroit Symphony Orchestra/Michigan be fine with them splitting time between the two? I have no way of knowing.


April 4th, 2012 at 2:36 PM ^

Not just students attending the school of music? Because while it would certainly make sense because the reason that the restrictions is in place in athletics is to prevent illegal benefits, and there isn't a rampant problem with people giving flutists do nothing jobs just to attend their University, or cars or tats.


April 4th, 2012 at 2:43 PM ^

From what I've read before, scholarship music students can do that. Obvious caveat is obvious, and BlueDragon or someone can chime in and correct me if that's not how it works in music schools across the country.

And yea, I get that. Hell, you knew I knew that and my reasoning behind even putting that comment in my post.


April 4th, 2012 at 2:18 PM ^

There's only a .5 percent that actually have enough skill that someone is going to pay them for it, outside of a scholarship. The other 99.5% are getting paid a scholarship for skills they have that are no different than getting a Scholly for being great at playing the violin, or being really smart and getting a pell grant or something. And most of them aren't going to get paid for playing an instrument or being really smart without going to college and honing those skills.  The leave-college-early-go-pro set isn't that much bigger a percentage than the Mark Zuckerberg can-drop-out-and-make-millions group.


April 4th, 2012 at 2:22 PM ^

Your numbers are wrong, I think. You're using numbers for the highest level of competition (which the NCAA is not). Sure, only a small number of players in the AHL get NHL contracts, but they're still good enough to get paid in the AHL.

M football is a money-making proposition, so the players are good enough to get "paid" while they compete in the NCAA, according to the program's bottom line. The NFL and after shouldn't factor in at all.


April 4th, 2012 at 2:45 PM ^

If they are good enough to get paid, the majority aren't going to college, they're going to those leagues to get paid.  And the Jeter type guys aside, they're not getting paid that much.   In baseball-


•    First contract season: $850/month maximum.
•    Alien Salary Rates: Different for aliens on visas – mandated by INS
•    Triple-A – First year: $2,150/month, after first year no less than $2,150/month
•    Class AA – First year: $1,500/month, after first year no less than $1,500/month
•    Class A (full season) – First year: $1,050/month, after first year no less than $1,050/month
•    Class A (short-season) – First year: $850/month, after first year no less than $850/month
•    Dominican & Venezuelan Summer Leagues–no lower than $300/month


Yes, they're getting paid for a skill. But there are a lot of skills people going to college can have (whether it's a trade, or just finding a job) that pays not all that differently. Often more. Lots of kids going to college get grant in aids, scholarships, and student loans to go to school. They're effectively getting "paid" to go to school because of their abilities too. The percentage of athletes who have a skill that will really get them PAID over the skil set of the average student (not even counting those that come up with something that will get them paid even before they have a college degree) isn't all that much. There's a reason the Arena League wasn't anyone's primary job.  Starting off at $850 a month isn't minimum wage, but it's not much better.


April 4th, 2012 at 2:55 PM ^

Take M football, for instance. It makes an absurd amount of cash for the AD; enough that it funds basically every other function of the department. With "salary" expenses at $50,000 times 85 per year, the team still makes this incredible amount of money. Therefore, it seems reasonable to say that each of those 85 are worth the money they get (or at least that $4.25m is justified, even if it isn't allocated efficiently).

In other words, the "salaries" are justified, and it doesn't matter that any of them go on to the next level or not. I have a feeling AAA salaries would be much higher if they filled 100k seat stadiums and commanded prime television slots, even if the MLB paid more than AAA did. Major college football is easily the most successful "minor league", probably three times as popular as AAA, AHL and NBADL combined, so the bigger numbers seem justified.


April 4th, 2012 at 2:23 PM ^

Unfortunately, the way student loans work is they will only cover costs of attendance. So tuition, room and board, books, fees, health insurance, transportation, etc. All stuff that scholarships already cover, so they are not eligible for student loans. They do have the option of taking out a loan based on future earnings, but I'm not sure how viable that option is for a freshman, since how many banks are going to bank on you being a success 3-4 years from now?


April 4th, 2012 at 2:28 PM ^

Financial aid is available up to full cost of attendance. Athletic scholarships only cover tuition, room, board and books, which is why the Big Ten is talking about offering the extra money to cover full CoA in the near future.

Everyone on the football team should be eligible for an unsubsidized Stafford loan for a few thousand dollars each year, just like any other student, and some will qualify for Pell grant money for the same purpose.


April 4th, 2012 at 2:46 PM ^

From my student loan award notification, my current total cost of education (taking out all the figures except personal, which is where the dispute is):


Personal 3,785.00

Total Cost of Attendance



I cannot find an exact definition of what personal is, but I know it includes health insurance, which is about half of that amount. My understanding is that health care is covered in the scholarships. So, you're right, it's possible that they could get about $2,000 a year based on this, but that would depend on the definition of personal.


April 4th, 2012 at 3:13 PM ^

expense out of the "personal" category. At M, it would be $2,054 per semester as long as that category isn't reduced for those with insurance (it isn't at IU, FWIW). That's not NFL money by any stretch of the imagination, but that's about eighteen dollars per day, which is right around my after-rent-off-campus budget with no meal plan.

The Big Ten proposal was to give students another $2,000 per year, although the NCAA might have authorized full CoA, which is determined by individual schools.


April 4th, 2012 at 5:23 PM ^

All the NCAA needs to do is stop depriving athletes of the opportunity to make money off of their own likenesses on the free market through transactions such as "golden handshakes," endorsements, and the like.  

As far as athletic departments not making enough money, blame Title IX.  I wonder if schools wouldn't be better off setting aside Title IX schollies currently spent on sports that lose revenue and giving them away to women without requring that they actually play the sport.  It would help prevent the gigantic hole that the cost of competing, coaching, and transportation to sporting events creates.  

That way, football can make money, and the women still get schollies.  Everybody wins.


April 4th, 2012 at 5:27 PM ^

Is the purpose to make sure women get schollies or to make sure women have an opportunity to play sports if they want to?

The problem with making money off your own likeness is it still gives some schools an unfair advantage. What's to stop a school from tying an endorsement deal from a booster in with their offer?

Seattle Maize

April 4th, 2012 at 1:07 PM ^

Yeah I have seen this argument that they bring in a lot of money for their schools and should be paid many times now.  Like you said above, most Universities actually lose money but in addition to that I think that these athletes get payment enough in basically getting a free education.  I look at the current scholarship situation as an opportunity for athletes to recieve training for future careers (not in professional sports) while also being able to audition for a chance at a pro athletic career / play the sport that they love.  Becuase they work very hard and are beneficial to the University, they are rewarded with a free education.  Also, paying players will decrease the importance of choosing a school based off of academics because athletes will be less likely to see getting a great education as a valuable investment.   


April 4th, 2012 at 1:11 PM ^

rule should be you ethier turn pro out of Highschool, or you go to college and you stay 4 years.  I'm fine with seeing a drop in competiveness if it means its really student athletes on the field and not minor leauge professional sports.

Black Socks

April 4th, 2012 at 1:11 PM ^

Title 9 is the reason that departments lose money.  A ton of money is paid out on sports with no return, thus it's tough to pay revenue generating players like football. 

Football players at Michigan should be paid, and schools should not be required to have an equal amount of scholarships per gender.  Men are simply better athletes than women - thus the income generated at a professional level.  Nobody pays to watch women's crew.



April 4th, 2012 at 2:05 PM ^

Not just that, but at this point we've made the commitment to competitive non-revenue and women's sports. Michigan isn't about to cut women's gymnastics because Title IX gets repealed (which is another conversation altogether), even if it brings in no money at all.

Can you imagine the newspaper stories, the state representatives yelling, the boosters in fits over their pet project seeing cuts? I highly doubt Michigan drops any sports if Arne Duncan put a red line through Title IX standards tomorrow morning.


April 4th, 2012 at 1:13 PM ^

No one will argue that Denard is probably giving more to Michigan than he is receiving back (obviously, he HAS to play college ball, isn't allowed to go pro, so he'd be playing somewhere and getting a similar education).  But what about a men's tennis player?  Or women's water polo?  Do they deserve additional compensation?  Should it be the same as Denard's?  And if we are going to argue that Universities should pay students who give more than they get, what about the kids paying OOS tuition who are on the Solar Car team or who create nationally recognized art? Shit, what about the kids who make YouTube videos for free?


April 4th, 2012 at 1:16 PM ^

First, no one is forcing these kids to go to college and play sports.  It is not the only means to the pros.  A scholarship is what these athletes signed up for when they went to college, not a salary.  If you don't like it, do something else.

If you want to be paid, go to the arena league or overseas or whatever.  If you want an education, go to college and use your scholarship that was GIVEN to you to get an education.

In my job, my company makes millions of dollars every year, and I agreed to work here for a relatively small salary.  It is volunary on both sides based on the agreement. 

So what if the NCAA and the university make millions off these kids backs.  Thats how commerce works.  Am I entitled to part of the revenues of my company because I help make it run?  I am not going to bitch about it because I am here voluntarily based on an agreement, just like these kids are playing volunarily, based on an agreement.

If they don't like it, they should quit.  no one is forcing them.


April 4th, 2012 at 1:18 PM ^

Yes these kids are getting a lot of money to attend schools, and yes tuition, especially for out-of-staters, is incredibly expensive. Scholarships, as far as I know, do no pay for books, room and board, food, etc. That's why the whole full cost of attendance thing was proposed, at least in part. 

I do think college kids should get paid what they earn for their school. Yes, this is a near impossible line to draw because then you have to get into how much a player, or at least a team, brings into a school. Yes, Denard should be making much more than the top men's tennis player, because for 7 or 8 Saturdays a year, Denard (in part) draws 100,000+ to the University of Michigan. That has to be worth something


April 4th, 2012 at 1:36 PM ^

The argument for paying athletesrevolves around the notion that they bring in so much money for university and don't personally reap the benefits.  I don't know how to value an education (besides tuition), but it seems pretty obvious as to where they are 'reaping the benefits'.  Yes, players like Denard add to the incredible amount of revenue the larger athletic departments bring in, however, there is no possible way to create some sort of value system in order to pay players as you state.

However, if Denard wasn't our quarterback, Gardner would be one of the attractions bringining in 100K+.  If no Gardner, it would be another studentathlete working his tail off in the offseason, weightroom, film room, etc. to just that.  And as bad as some teams may be (re: 2008-2010), the games still sold out.  The students are paid with a free education.  There is a reason why football, basketball, and in our case, hockey bring in money.  And to those who excel in their sports and help fortify revenue streams for the university, there are opportunities to earn money after graduation, whether that means going pro or using their degree. 

It's just not possible to determine a system in which to pay student athletes based on value to their respective programs.  And if a system is put into play where student athletes are given a lump sum of extra spending money (be 100 or 2000 dollars or whatever), it must go to all athletes of the university.


April 4th, 2012 at 1:47 PM ^

I didn't mean to single out Denard as the one guy who brings in full crowds at the Big House. Of course the entire football team and coaches play a part in that. Reading back what I said it seemed like I intended that "star athletes" should get more than the benchwarmers. I didn't intend that at all. I do, however, think that football players should get more than the wrestlers, and that basketball players should get more than track stars, etc. 

Yes, the valuation is incredibly difficult to come up with. But that, in and of itself, in my opinion, is not enough to say let's not pay players because we don't know how much to pay. There are plenty of arbitrary numbers and reasons why we do things and how we do them, and over time no one questions why. Whether we decided to pay players and how much we pay them will be controversial no matter what, but it can get established in sports, society and culture just as other arbitrary decisions have.


April 4th, 2012 at 2:22 PM ^

I would agree that if we were to pay any students, football and bball student athletes would obviously get the nod over the wresteling and track stars, simply because of the revenue generating results of their sports.  However, Title IX would contradict that in that women, by law, would require the same things as the men.  And I don't know if there are many schools (maybe outside of Standford and Tennessee basketball) that have a revenue producing female sport.

Also, I still find it hard to justify paying a football student over a wrestling student.  Yes, the football student is in the public eye and plays in front of more fans, but they still work just as hard as student athletes.  IIRC, there are the mostly the same rules in regards to practice hours and everything else, so just to say Football players are more worthy to get extra spending money because they play in the revenue generating sport, while a young man on the track team, who practices and hits the books just as much as the football player, should not just because people aren't that interested in watching track.


April 4th, 2012 at 1:43 PM ^

Do you think athletes that bring zero value to the school should also be paid accordingly?

You can't have it both ways.  Either:

- we free-market this whole thing and the athletes who "bring value" are paid accordingly, and those who don't, pay the school for the privilege of competing

- or we give everyone a little something with much less regard to fair market.

The latter is what we have today.  The former would require that one-half of one percent of athletes get some money, and 99.5% of athletes get bupkis.  You can't say "it should be based on what they earn for the school but only for some people."

And then let's say you decide it should be based on fair market value.  100,000 people would show up to see Denard play, and 100,000 people showed up to see Nick Sheridan play.  What about jerseys?  Lots of #16s are sold, but that's what they produce....what if there were people who wanted Elliott Mealer's jersey, but they don't sell those?  How do you determine fair market value then?  The third-string WRs have to put in just as much work and effort as the first-string guys, so shouldn't they be paid accordingly?  But nobody comes to see them stand on the sideline, so shouldn't they be paid less?

It's easy to spout feel-good platitudes about the exploitation of a few athletes and complain they should be "paid what they're worth."  It's a lot more complicated in real life.  And yes, they do get meals paid for, and books too.  And room, if they choose to live on campus.  And HEALTH CARE, which should not be forgotten.  I'm OK with a tiny minority being "exploited" with a giant pile of free shit and the privilege to do something most of us would do for much less.  If it means opening up opportunities for volleyball players and swimmers and whatnot to also have the privilege to compete in their arena without being told, "sorry, you don't provide any value to the school, you'll have to pay your own way, here's the address of the nearest sporting goods store," then exploit away.


April 4th, 2012 at 2:05 PM ^

Schoarlships currently pay for room and board and books, though there are very specific rules about what qualifies for both. (Sorry, started writing this and then had to leave, so I'm sure someone answered that part already.)

But the idea of profit sharing is interesting, but I'm not sure if it solves the issue with giving unfair advantage to schools that make more money. Even if you just look at basketball or football, there are schools that make a lot more money than others. Michigan has the advantage of having a larger stadium than anyone else, so just to ability to sell more football tickets than anyone is unfair.


April 4th, 2012 at 1:50 PM ^

I would think that realizing you are helping pay for another student's tuition by helping the AD make money through football and basketball would be payment enough. If they start to pay college athletes, they will ruin alot of other kids' chances to play for and attend a great university.

I will say that I think universities should stop producing jerseys with the numbers of the top players on them. Just give a purchaser the option of what number they want. Don't put #16 jerseys in windows because it's obvious you're profiing directly off of Denard.