The college football scene is suffering. Chaos and mayhem are the norm in college football.
With USC on probation for former Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush's transgressions and the current "tattoo-gate" with former Ohio State quarterback Terrell Prior, two storied programs are in big trouble with Ohio State sure to join USC on the list of absentees in post-season play.
Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton led his team to the National Title and became the first pick in the NFL draft amidst an embarrassing scandal where his father sold his son's services to the highest bidder. This, of course, after his son left Florida in a swirl of controversy concerning academic fraud.
The solution to these problems has arisen in the form of changing the rules and paying athletes. Yes, instead of holding the athletes to the ideals and standards of a student-athlete, we lower the standards to minimize the problems.
This spring the NCAA president Mark Emmert started to investigate the expansion of the term scholarship to include "the actual cost of attending." That could mean an increase of $2,000 to $5,000 per scholarship. That does not sound so bad does it?
Then there is John Calipari, the Kentucky head basketball coach, who recently gave his two cents. His plan requires 64-to-72 universites to secede from the NCAA to form four super-conferences who would split the billions in revenue. This secessionist also said that each player would get paid $3,000 to $4,000 for his services.
For the time that athletes give to their programs and the money that is brought in, both solutions require payment that is less than the current minimum wage.
Lower our standards for this?
I understand the amount of money that comes in is in the range of obscene, but in reality, athlete's on scholarship are already getting paid for their services.
Currently, the amount of a scholarship varies from school to school. It includes tuition, university fees, required textbooks, room and board and can total anywhere from $80,000 to $200,000. There is also an additional stipend that also varies. Dwayne Jarrett, former USC wide receiver, received a $960 a month stipend on top of his scholarship.
Each FBS school not on probation receives 85 of these scholarships for football. That means third string players and their back-ups go to school basically for free. This also means they are already getting paid handsomely for their services to their university and are given an opportunity for a diploma that can only enhance future earnings. It also gives them, according to the NCAA, a 1.8% shot at playing football in the NFL.
Now, the scholarships do not include parking permits, student ID cards, course fees, library fines, and graduation fees.
Paying college football players and other revenue bearing sports will only cause more problems and prove to be too costly to already cash strapped universities. Very few college athletic budgets are self-sufficient. Most programs need other university funds to help their existence. Where will the extra stipends for playing come from? How unfair is it for Joe College Student to have to pay more in their tuition so that Johnny Athlete gets more money on top of his scholarship?
Not only that, what about the women's tennis team, or the cross country squad. There is a little thing called Title IX that needs to be observed or else you will have a large, sticky, and highly publicized class action suit to pay those athletes as well. After they win, again, where will the money come from?
The only payment that should exist is the use of the person's likeness. A name on a jersey, a photo, or anything using the student-athlete's likeness for profit should include some compensation. Other than that, scholarship athletes are like any other schlep in a job wanting more money.
If anything, this is a life lesson, a taste of what the world is really about. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are two of the richest people in the country and stay that way as a result of the people under them. The hard working grunts are the ones coming up with the new gadgets that we buy and the software that we use. They get paid for their services while Gates and Jobs get rich. Right or wrong, good or bad, it is capitalism and that is just how life works.
Name a person who does not want a raise or feel they should be paid more for their services? And just like Joe Schlep, you can ask, but you will not always receive.
Finally, do you think that paying athletes an extra $2,000 a year will stop the corruption that exists in college football? Will it stop boosters from adding thousands to recruits pockets to attend their university, Cam Newton's father from requiring a $75,000 fee for his son's service, Terrell Prior getting up to $40,000 and tattoo's for his autographs and memorabilia, or a coach covering it all up for the sake of winning games?
How about we raise the bar instead of lowering it? How about we continue to hold star names like Reggie Bush, Terrell Prior, and Jim Tressel accountable for their actions and punish universities for allowing it to happen.
Take a stand and put an end to the chaos and mayhem.