College Players Shouldn’t Get Paid, They Already Are
Two weeks ago, Bob Stoops, the University of Oklahoma football coach, went on record saying that NCAA college athletes should not be paid while in college. His comments stem from the revolving controversy that surrounds the NCAA profiting from college sports while not paying the very students that actually play the game.
College football has been controversial with regard to how much money it generates for their respective institutions and how the football players that play the game are unfairly uncompensated. Revenue among FBS football programs during the 2011-12 season ranged from a high of $103.8 million at Texas to a low of $3.6 million at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. The average FBS football program brought in $25 million, with a median of $19.9 million. In fact, Texas generated a total of $77.9 million in profit during this season. Texas players did not get paid a dime of this money.
Bob Stoops (who by the way signed a contract to coach the Sooners receiving $39.4 million for 8 years [plus incentives]), thinks college players are paid enough. I never thought I would say this but Stoops is 100% correct. Here are some of his comments:
“You know what school would cost here for non-state guy? Over $200,000 for room, board and everything else,” Stoops said. “That’s a lot of money. Ask the kids who have to pay it back over 10-15 years with student loans. You get room and board, and we’ll give you the best nutritionist, the best strength coach to develop you, the best tutors to help you academically, and coaches to teach you and help you develop. How much do you think it would cost to hire a personal trainer and tutor for 4-5 years?”
Stoops is right on the money (no pun intended). Students who wish to attend college for free are able to do so because they are given free college tuition, room and board, books, etc. Take Duke University as an example. The estimated cost of attendance for Duke is in 2012-2013 was the following:
- Tuition and Fees $43,623
- Room $6,140
- Board $5,630
- Books and Personal Expenses $3,472
As you can see, these expenses add up. Over the course of 4 years, a student can easily owe over $200,000. Students who attend college on an athletic scholarship however can earn a degree at this great institution free of charge. Sounds like payment to me.
Furthermore, students who intend to make it to the NFL have access to coaches, trainers, physicians, and specialists that all help develop them into great athletes. Players like Justin Blackmon (Oklahoma State) and Trey Burke (Michigan) were unknown and not highly ranked high school prospects who, through the training and coaching efforts of their colleges, climbed their way to the top of NFL and NBA top 10 draft boards, respectively. Both will make a ton of money playing professional sports thanks to the free training that they received while in college. Sounds like more payments to me.
Finally, college football offers athletes one of the most underrated, underappreciated values: Marketing. The NCAA is better at marketing players than any professional league. Players like Jadeveon Clowney, Johnny Manziel, and Geno Smith are all players that have been sensationalized this past season and, because of it, their future draft stock (which can determine how much money they will make) will increase drastically. Players like Michael Crabtree and JaMarcus Russell benefited greatly from college footballs marketing scheme, and their pocketbooks certainly feel this impact in a positive way. Marketing certainly has great value and, once again, seems like a formidable payment that college players receive.
It is clear that although coaches and institutions are profiting from players who don’t necessarily receive a paycheck, players still are benefiting greatly from the NCAA system. It seems unfair that the players (who are the ones fans go to see and the ones generating the revenue) don’t receive the kind of compensation coaches and athletic directors receive (like Bob Stoops salary). However, that’s America, that’s capitalism. The higher you go up in any company, the less work is done. Employees at a shoe factory get play squat while executives at the factory make money hand over fist without doing any of the work. That’s just how it is, that’s how capitalism works. Everyone in NCAA is fairly compensated; no one should argue a system wherein everyone benefits in such a manner.