September 18th, 2018 at 3:30 PM ^

Not trying to be snarky here, but why the "good for her" comments?  

Nothing she said is necessarily incorrect, but if the NCAA (or courts) allows/forces schools to pay athletes, Wisconsin will be revising their "educational mission", not dropping sports and all the revenues they supply to the University.  To imply otherwise is foolish.  I say bad for her for having her head so far up her ass.  

Seems like based on her comments their athletic department should be run as a non-profit and revenues should not be directed towards their "educational mission."   


September 18th, 2018 at 4:58 PM ^

No, the profits fund other things at the university outside the athletic department.  Maybe I used poor word choice, but my point was that they shouldn't accept the revenue in the first place.  Turn down the TV $ and offer near-free admission if you aren't in favor of "professional" sports.  That sounds equally as silly as her saying paying athletes might consider them to drop sports.


September 18th, 2018 at 2:52 PM ^

The issue is not "could" they do it, but "should" they do it.  There are a wide range of actions that universities can take that would bring them more revenue, but it is beyond the scope of their operating charters/grants/regulations/etc.  If people want to be paid to play sports (and to an extent many are in terms of tuition, room, board, books, tutoring, training, etc. - well beyond the revenue sport players) that is fine, but is a university the appropriate venue for that?  


September 18th, 2018 at 3:19 PM ^

It's simple imho. You don't have other sports clamoring to pay their athletes and I'll give you 950 million reasons why. If Universities go back to the way it used to be before massive TV deals, giant bowl payouts, and ridiculous coaching salaries then the talk will die. If instead you want all that on the backs of players you can call "student athletes" then you're gonna have to come to the table eventually.

Mr Miggle

September 18th, 2018 at 4:30 PM ^

What % of those big bucks end up outside athletic departments? A lot of schools have ADs that already run deficits. 

The finances of college athletics are complicated. As SpaceCoyote mentioned, their greatest value to most schools is advertising. That value is hard to quantify. There are a few well known examples where success on the football field  or the basketball court led to sizable increases in applications. But MSU just took in a record freshman class in the teeth of terrible publicity. Look at who Michigan competes with for students and where they come from. Does football make any difference to them? I'd argue it doesn't matter much to schools with well established, highly ranked academics.

Another area that's complicated is donations. Having successful athletics programs brings more donations. Wisconsin's planning a big stadium upgrade that will largely be paid by donations. But how much of that money might have ended up elsewhere at the university without football? How much does football spur donations to other parts of the school? A lot of schools are afraid to find out, since the status quo is not bad. Push major changes on them and some may change their mind.

I wonder if the recent scandals in the Big Ten had some influence on the statement from Wisconsin. It wasn't just the scandals, but the deference shown to athletics that's brought a lot of the negative attention. How many administrators want to be in that kind of situation? 



September 18th, 2018 at 1:44 PM ^

She's full of crap!  They'll pay up just like every other school will, and continue to rake in profit.  As one said already - high quality pearl clutching, right there!

Space Coyote

September 18th, 2018 at 2:25 PM ^

To be fair, I don't think every school would. There would certainly be some schools that would take the U of Chicago approach, or think about creating their own type of "amateur league"  with the Ivy's and Service Academies or whatever.

Wisconsin almost certainly wouldn't be one of those. Sports, football in particular, serve as the best advertising for these schools, Michigan included. The academics of some universities would stand well enough on their own (Wisconsin and Michigan likely included in that list), but that doesn't mean it would stand above what they get including NCAA athletics, paid or not.

But I could see a school like Northwestern, maybe a Cal or Stanford, Duke (for football anyway), Georgia Tech, Vandy to at least consider it. They may even do it under the additional gauze and pearl clutching of "we decided we didn't agree that the risks associated with football are worth benefits of keeping it", basically arguing that football is an outdated sport that shouldn't be continued. Again, it's money based, and they'll find a way to try to twist it into being on the right side.

Now, some of those schools may be willing to stay in the NCAA for Men's basketball, for instance. But I do think many would use it as an excuse to cut more non-revenue sports.

Space Coyote

September 18th, 2018 at 2:43 PM ^

Yeah, they could drop divisions, but for the most part that takes away from the main benefit most of these schools get from having major athletics (it's the best advertising they have). So they could go that route, I doubt Wisconsin would (as I noted, I could see other schools doing something like that though)


September 18th, 2018 at 1:44 PM ^

College football would quickly become unwatchable if schools could cut direct checks to athletes. There would be 15 competitive schools and 115 high school teams, OR prices for fans would skyrocket to the point where people just stopped going to games/buying gear/etc.


Let. kids. make. money. off. their. likeness. That's the best next step here. If a kid wants to charge $20 for autographs and people want to pay him, let that happen. If a kid wants to do a commercial for a local car dealership, let him. This is the answer for now.


September 18th, 2018 at 1:58 PM ^

It isn't competitive balance, but it is a host of other issues that make it next to impossible, and it is really odd that a lot of people cannot see the huge problems with it. 

What is required of a college player in return for their salary?  When it is earned?  Do they even have to take classes?  If they stop playing football, do they still get paid?  If not, do they still take classes?   Do they have to pass their classes to make money?  Why?  Is there any educational component whatsoever to the arrangement?  Four year or one year salaries?  What if they are never good enough to play, do they still get paid or do they have to pay the money back?  Do all athletes get paid the same amount of money, if not, how do you determine who gets paid what?  Can other schools offer current players on a team more money to play for them?  Why not? 

It isn't a sustainable idea.  It never has been.

If the economics of college football are too out of whack to be comprehensible anymore for the participants, the NFL and the NCAA should just eliminate the three year rule and begin a minor league football program for the top talent and leave the leftovers for college ball.  Paying college players like employees is actually very non-sensical and untenable.


September 18th, 2018 at 2:12 PM ^

Hilarious?  Like, you are laughing out loud, holding your side.  That funny?  Really?

We are not talking about the rest of the world.  We are talking about the topic at issue right now.  Note that you have not answered the questions, just talked about how hilarious they were as a deflection. 

(And I never said anything about taxes.  You threw that one in there.  Obviously any employee of any entity would have to pay taxes.  Hilarious that you couldn't figure that one out).


September 18th, 2018 at 2:27 PM ^

The laughter has subsided, but your continued use of near-endless question marks did make me chuckle. The taxes mention is because that's another similar argument others in your corner on this issue throw out there. 

All of your initial questions are details with multiple potential solutions that could get hammered out rather simply, as they are in all other labor issues. Here's one set of answers that work, there are many others.

What is required of a college player in return for their salary?  Play sports and go to school When it is earned?  Monthly Do they even have to take classes?  Yes, a common stipulation for other campus jobs If they stop playing football, do they still get paid? Yes if injury retirement and still enrolled If not, do they still take classes?   Up to them but on scholarship if medical'd, same as now. Do they have to pass their classes to make money?  Yes to maintain eligibility Why? Because that's the contract Is there any educational component whatsoever to the arrangement?  Yes Four year or one year salaries?  Works either way What if they are never good enough to play, do they still get paid or do they have to pay the money back? They're paid for labor this is a non issue Do all athletes get paid the same amount of money, if not, how do you determine who gets paid what?  P5 schools will need to come up with standard salaries because they're not going to free market this Can other schools offer current players on a team more money to play for them?  Why not? Yes but salaries are standardized so this would only impact low level to P5 transfers


September 18th, 2018 at 2:34 PM ^



"They are not going to free market this?"

What the hell are we talking about then?  So you want college athletes to be compensated, but paid in such a way as remove all free market considerations so that they are essentially paid for "labor."

Like...... perhaps a scholarship and stipends?

In that case I think you may be pleasantly surprised!!!

(And this argument cuts directly against your argument below where you opine that athletes in different sports would be paid different amounts.  Why?   They are only being paid for labor, right? What a mess).


September 18th, 2018 at 2:44 PM ^

I'm not advocating there, just how I think it will most likely play out given the parties and dynamics in play. It's a lot more likely the P5 splits off and sets a standard revenue sport salary than we get NFL-style free agency. Again, many solutions would work.

My comment below was specific to title IX. As for your next why? Because revenue sport labor is more valuable.

matty blue

September 19th, 2018 at 9:02 AM ^

"just another thing that would have to be changed" is a really spectacular misunderstanding of title ix.

title ix is famous in these circles for how it has increased women's college sports and how athletic departments have cited it when killing some men's sports teams...but that's not really its intent.  it intent is to address the very real problem of gender discrimination in the educational system.

you're talking about changing civil rights legislation (think the voting rights act, or the fair housing act) so that you can pay college football players.  "changing it" a) would render a number of supreme court decisions moot, b) would be fought by probably every single female college professor in the country, and c) never, never, never, never happen.

The Mad Hatter

September 18th, 2018 at 2:09 PM ^


It would be almost impossible to come up with a sustainable system wherein the players are receiving direct compensation from the schools, especially for lower tier P5 schools and those (like Stanford and Michigan) that at least care a little about academics.

I could see much of the SEC (and ACC) just saying fuck it and becoming the NFL's college league.


September 18th, 2018 at 3:01 PM ^

I agree that the athletes should be able to make money off their likenesses, capitalize on their fame with TV and radio shows, etc. I disagree that paying them wouldn't work; I think it would.

As far as the "how many teams are competitive right now" question: If by 'competitive' we mean has a greater than 20% chance of winning any particular game, then I can agree with the "40ish" number of competitive teams. But if we mean 'in the running for a national championship,' I'd say it's more like 10 or 15 preseason and 5 or 10 once the season starts.