What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
This is one of those questions that has been asked so many times, yet so many people keep getting the answer wrong. It happened with USC. It happened with Ohio State. Now it’s happening with Miami, and it has happened dozens of time before that. With each breaking scandal, the call that it is time to play college athletes resurfaces. Honestly, I’ve never understood the logic behind this. To me, this sounds like the typical, knee-jerk, ham-handed reaction Americans love to have about sports (for another example, see my rant on instant replay).
In a word, the answer is NO. It has a common flaw with instant replay; it won’t solve the problem.
If the idea is that by paying players, the temptation to break the rules will disappear. Nothing could be further from the truth.
One argument from the “pay the players” crowd states that since college sports is a big business, the players should get paid beyond what they already do because so much money is being made from their labor. Let’s dissect that.
First of all, the players already get paid; it’s called a scholarship. It isn’t the player’s collective fault they don’t understand the value of a scholarship, because the NCAA and/or the individual only pay “lip service” to the whole concept of the “student-athlete.” If the argument is that a scholarship and an education does not provide value, then it is time to strip all the pretenses and simply start a developmental league run by the NFL to replace college football. If we don’t care about the “student-athlete” anymore, then why waste time with colleges and the NCAA and all the B.S. they add to the equation?
There’s a reason why it is called “college football.” Every day, college students go through internships in which they don’t get paid. Whether you are playing football or preparing for medical school, you are in college for the learning experience to be applied to your chosen profession. Letting somebody have access to that experience on a scholarship is a HUGE value.
Then, there’s a suicidal aspect in all of this for college sports. Big businesses all have a layer of employees at the bottom of the pyramid who on an individual basis make the least amount of money. There’s a reason why McBurgerQueen franchises don’t bid each others employees, if they did a hamburger would cost $20. If you want to see the model of bidding each other’s employee’s in action, look at (insert professional sports league here).
Once you have money, you will have agents, and once you have agents there will be the whole issue of some players are going to get paid more than others. Bidding wars will start over how much some players will get paid and by whom, and who determine who gets paid and in what amounts. In other words, injecting payroll money for the players into college sports would simply turn it into a mirror of those professional leagues which are all bubbling around some sort of money/labor relations issues.
Another argument from the “pay the players” perspective says that paying players would eliminate the “cheating.” There’s such a large amount of money involved that to make that model work, players salaries would have to be substantial. Add that to the aforementioned “agent” issue, and you can see right away this has some serious practical issues. Besides, the players aren’t the only ones cheating. This problem goes from the top of the pyramid all the way down.
Look at USC. How much salary did athletic director Mike Garrett and head coach Pete Carroll make? It didn’t stop them from cheating. Look at Ohio State. Jim Tressel made over $20 million in a decade in Columbus, and that didn’t stop him from cheating. Athletic directors, coaches, and even university presidents all make big dough, and they want more.
The cliche is money is the root of all evil, and the current way in which college sports is run exemplifies that. Spreading more money to the bottom layer of the pyramid simply will spread the corruption. Stopping the corruption in college sports by paying players is like extinguishing a forest fire with a jet-tanker full of gasoline. The key lies in holding people accountable for wrong-doing.
For example, check out how dirty University of Miami Donna Shalala looks in all of this. First of all, there’s the picture of her getting handed a check by Miami booster-turned-rat Nevin Shapiro. Then’s there’s her “non-denial” denial.
To the University Community:
Since its founding more than 85 years ago, the University of Miami has stood for excellence in higher education in every endeavor, every degree, and every student. Our more than 15,000 students, on three campuses in 11 schools and colleges, and over 150,000 alumni expect our core values to remain steadfast and true in times of extraordinary achievement as well as those rare times when those values are called into question.
As a member of the University family, I am upset, disheartened, and saddened by the recent allegations leveled against some current and past student-athletes and members of our Athletic Department. Make no mistake—I regard these allegations with the utmost of seriousness and understand the concern of so many of you. We will vigorously pursue the truth, wherever that path may lead, and I have insisted upon complete, honest, and transparent cooperation with the NCAA from our staff and students. Our counsel is working jointly with the NCAA Enforcement Division in a thorough and meticulous investigation, which will require our patience.
I am in daily communication with our Board of Trustees, Executive Committee, Director of Athletics, and counsel, and will continue to work closely with the leaders of our University.
To our students, parents, faculty, alumni, and supporters—I encourage you to have patience as the process progresses; to have confidence in knowing that we are doing everything possible to discover the truth; to have faith in the many outstanding student-athletes and coaches who represent the University; and to have pride in what our University has accomplished and aspires to be.
What a pant-load. It is crucial to notice that she never once mentions a single specific item for which she is “disheartened and saddended.” Why does Shalala only speak in vagueries and B.S.? Probably because there is a picture of her getting a check form the guy who is ratting out everybody. In short, she’s a part of the problem.
There is a way to solve this problem, but the NCAA won’t do it. As broken as the system is, it still is a gigantic money pump. This is why all the NCAA punishment go through Olympic-level gyrations to avoid touching anything that involves money. They’ll take away scholarships, they’ll vacate record books, they’ll rule people ineligible, but they never hand out fines that are anywhere near commensurate to the cash one can generate by breaking the rules.
For example, last month the NCAA put Georgia Tech on four years of probation, fined the school $100,000 and stripped its ACC football title game win from the 2009 football season for violations that also included problems in the men’s basketball program. So, as a punishment, Georgia Tech still gets to be on television, can still participate in post-season activities, and has a page in a record book erased for a game for which they already got paid. As far as the $100,000 fine is concerned, that is a pittance compared to what the average “big conference” program generates in a season. If you believe the numbers in this linked article from CNN Money, the average football program from one the BCS automatic qualifying conferences averaged a profit of $15.8 million. Frankly, I think those numbers are grossly understimated, but even if we accept them for the sake of argument, this means Georgia Tech’s fine equaled less than one-tenth of what they make for one game. That’s not exactly a deterrent.
Obviously, fines need to have a pain level with them. But individuals need to feel the pain as well. It takes nothing to put clauses in contracts signed by players, coaches, athletic directors, presidents, and anybody involved with college sports which says the NCAA can seek civil redress against anybody found guilty of misconduct according to NCAA rules. Once the people responsible for creating this problem understand that a civil lawsuit can hit their pocketbooks even years after they’ve ditched the college ranks, this problem will disappear faster a bag of cash on an Auburn recruiting trip.
But it will never happen because as it exists now, the NCAA is simply a collection of university presidents, just like the one shown above being handed a check. As long as the fox is guarding the henhouse, any talk of paying players just means the chickens are going to be eaten faster.