Monday, August 22, 2011

Pay Me

With all the recent controversy surround the University of Miami and their football team I felt it was time to discuss it a little.  Now Miami isn’t the only school that has had issues with boosters and such giving student-athletes money or gifts recently.  These issues have led to the obvious debate of whether college athletes should be paid or not.  There are two sides to the debate.  The first is those who say no, that most of them are getting paid in the form of a free education.  The other side obviously thinks that they should get paid.

What side am I on?  I think they should get paid.  First of all, if the student-athletes were getting paid then you wouldn’t have the problem of so many of the boosters breaking the rules.  Sure they are getting an education based on their athletic ability but there is plenty of money to go around.  For the sake of argument let’s say the average scholarship is $120,000 (4 years at $30,000).  The school essentially can take that scholarship away at anytime, while basically pimping said player out and milking them for every dollar they can get. So I ask, what is the player’s motivation not to accept illegal gifts?  Now, I’m not condoning anyone doing anything illegal but when the temptation is there and there is always the possibility of losing your scholarship, for some of these young kids it’s a difficult decision.  Does the school really care about them or just making a few or in some cases millions of bucks?  Therein lies an important question.  

Before I answer that let’s take a look at one stat; the NCAA tournament TV deal pays the schools almost $800 million a year.  Yes I know that money is divided between all the teams.  But that money is not including money made from other sports as well, ticket sales, merchandise, concessions, etc.  Where does that money go?  Not all of it goes towards scholarships.  The schools are basically using the players as pawn in probably the biggest money making scam in history.  The schools are making money off the players through tickets, merchandise, marketing, etc.  Every time someone buys a jersey with a specific number on specific team, do you really think people don’t know whose jersey it is?  Why shouldn’t the players get a cut?  I’d want a cut if people were wearing shirts with my picture on it.  (You laugh, but you’d buy one)  

The argument now becomes how will they be paid?  Who decides how big a piece of the pie each player gets?  Here’s my proposal:

1.        The money made by the individual sport at a school gets divided by that sport.  So if the football and men’s basketball teams are making all the money, they get the bigger cut.  Before anyone asks how is that fair, let me ask you, how is it not fair?  Women’s lacrosse will never have as big of following as men’s basketball.  When I was at Temple, the men’s basketball team was the money maker so why shouldn’t they get a bigger cut?  I went to a few women’s lacrosse, field hockey, and soccer games to support friends but trust me, the attendance there wasn’t even close to a basketball game.  Besides, I didn’t see anybody lining up to buy lacrosse jerseys but I remember seeing quite a few people with Pepe Sanchez and Lynn Greer jerseys (without the names of course but we knew). Bottom line is this, you make the money for the school, and you get some of that money.

2.       The bigger the player, the more money he gets.  You are a Heisman candidate; you get a bigger piece of the pie.  You are a 3rd string QB?  Do you really deserve the same piece of the pie as the star QB?  Again, it may not sound fair but those are the breaks (Thanks Kurtis Blow).  How much money is that 3rd stringer bringing in?  Thought so.  You don’t think the school is milking the Heisman candidate for every penny they can get? He should get a cut.  Does every player in the NBA or NFL make the same amount?  No.  They get paid on how good they are.  That’s what I’m proposing here.

3.      The big question, how much does each player get?  I’m not talking millions here.  No college kid needs to be driving an Escalade or wearing Gucci.  However, give them a weekly or monthly allowance so they can go out on a date, grab a pizza, or by a video game.  (Doesn’t sound like much but if you have ever been a poor college kid, you know what I’m talking about).  Sure the NCAA allows student-athletes to work.  Seriously?  If you are on a big time team and you are a star player, do you really have the time to work?  Probably not.  You need to spend your time studying the playbook, working out, and going to class or else they’ll take your scholarship away. Throw them a bone and break them off a piece.  After all, they are helping the ADs and school presidents to live large.  Hell, one of the reasons I went to Temple was because of the basketball team.  Break them off a bit of my tuition.

Will paying college athletes solve the problems that have happened at Ohio St and Miami?  No.  I doubt you’ll ever completely get rid of it.  I say the problem is so bad right now that you need to do something drastic.  Again, I’m not saying pay these kids millions.  The schools are making millions off of some of these athletes so I don’t think a few thousand a year will kill them.  Is my plan the best?  Doubtful but it’s a start.  I’d love to hear your thoughts so be sure to leave a comment with your thoughts or your plan.  Also check us out on Facebook and Twitter @Obs_Views_Blog  I’m also on Linkedin if you want to connect through there (Jim Montgomery)  That’s all for tonight, until next time this is Jimbo saying it’s time to get paid.


  1. Let me start by saying that I am a Florida State fan so the issues at Miami are personally enjoyable!!! Now about your post, I respectfully disagree with your stance and here is why. You said it yourself, they are "student" athletes. They already have certain privileges that non athletes do not have and now we should pay them?? They're students first that have the privilege to play sports. The only benefit I can see to paying these athletes is the fact that more "student" athletes may be willing to stay in college rather than going pro. Paying them will not stop any of the issues in college sports, it will just contain them a little bit. Good post though!!!!

  2. The last comment was by me, Kyle Montgomery. I felt the need to add my two cents. I also feel that as unfortunate as it is for schools to be making so much money off of these athletes, such is life. If the athletes don't like it, don't play. Certainly don't do the illegal things that Miami did and break rules. We all know "bending" of the rules will happen, but breaking them and causing misfortune for future athletes is irresponsible.

  3. I agree with Kyle on this one "student" athletes. Yes in the D1 schools sports can be a big money maker for the college, but put the money back into the business. How about reducing the cost in someway for all students.

    Title 9 for the girls is very important as well. I am sure you both probably do not agree with me on that one, but hey talk to me down the road if you have daughters who want to play sports.

    Most college athletes do get privileges such as nicer housing and tutoring to help
    keep their grades up. Money should not be the reward for being a good athlete at the college level, earned playing time and acknowledgement should be enough.

    One way of looking at this people who make more money should pay more taxes to help cover the cost for all people. College sport teams who make more money than others can do the same for their schools.

    Just sayin.

  4. I do agree with you actually about Title IX. I think that it has been a great asset in helping women's college athletics get more attention when it comes to funds and television rights. The problem you run into with paying these athletes is take a look at the Uconn women basketball team. They have been dominate under Geno, and they have generated a great deal of revenue for the school. Unfortunately, I'm sure it would not have gone over well if Mya Moore had gotten paid, and paid more than the starting QB of the football team. It sucks to say that but I think it's a reality. There is no way to fairly pay student athletes but I do agree there has to be a way to equally distribute the money to the athletic teams and not just individual athletes.

    This is Kyle Montgomery and I wanna be rich!!!

  5. Given the US is falling further and further behind respective to the intellectual capacities of their college graduates, no wonder this trend continues with all the emphasis on sports in this country.

    Having personally listened to these college graduate (sports athletes,) I am all for paying them if they could put together at least two cohesive thoughts using proper English and with proper diction and annunciation.

    What this issue tells me is that we have a problem with priorities in this country.

    By the way, do other countries pay their college athletic students? Just curious.

    1. Yes, I live in Canada. True to all the stereotypes, every member of our universities Hockey team has full scholarships. There are one or two students in each of the other sports with partial scholarships as well.