February 11, 2003

Nebraska lawmaker pushing pay for college football players.: Sure it's a familiar refrain, but I found it interesting that the chancellor of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, who appeared before a state legislative committee holding a hearing on the proposal, said he couldn't testify in support of the bill because doing so "would put Nebraska in violation of NCAA rules." Why can't college officials talk about this in a public forum?

posted by thescoop to football at 11:30 AM - 6 comments

There's irony in the fact that the link is to the Miami Herald. I'm sure lots of papers are picking this up but you can bet schools in Florida are watching closely. I think it is inevitable that the NCAA adopt some sort of standardized rate stipend that pays players a nominal amount of money. It should maybe even accelerate as players become sophs, juniors, and seniors, capping out at 1,000 a month or so. Playing football is a job. Yes scholarships and room and board are worth yada yada but there needs to be a modest amount of spending money to see a movie or go out to dinner once in awhile. Some of these kids come from dirt poor backgrounds but are required to wear a suit and tie on team flights. That shit doesn't just materialize out of nowhere.

posted by vito90 at 03:08 PM on February 11, 2003

I mostly agree that they should get some sort of stipend, but I don't know about a $1,000 a month. I managed to live alright as a grad student earning maybe $600 a month from various sources. The trouble is cost-of-living stuff: certainly Lincoln, Neb., is less expensive a place than, say, Miami. So do you have a sliding scale, and, if so, as the original story suggests, would schools use that as an inducement?

posted by thescoop at 03:41 PM on February 11, 2003

Well first of all, I think (the article suggests this) that it would have to be standardized across the board. How you could accurately gauge cost-of-living would be tricky. Setting up a system where one school pays more than another sets a dangerous precedent. I certainly see your point re: Lincoln cost of living vs. Miami though. Also, I don't think $1,000 is that much, especially for a senior. If you figure a player is putting in fours a day six days a week towards making millions for the school, then the compensation comes out to $10 per hour or so (hows my math?). And the kid could continue to earn the $10 per hour in the offseason working football camps or refereeing games or something. That's one problem is that scholarship players can't even work a job. offtopic: what city were you in that you could get by on $600 a month? In Seattle that would barely cover rent on a shitty studio apartment.

posted by vito90 at 04:21 PM on February 11, 2003

But are they really making millions for these schools? More and more I read that the numbers just don't wash. The competition to attract players essentially wipes out any profits. On the other hand, the image that the school projects can ride the coat tails of a sporting success story, so why not skip the whole farce that big time sports has become, pay the players and then let the team be "sponsored" by the college: make it a self-supporting subsidary of the university which simply carries the name, gives alums something to dream about and the students a reason to get trashed Saturday mights. Oh, wait a sec, students don't need a reason to get trashed Saturday night (or any other night for that matter -- what was I saying?)

posted by 8ighteenAcres at 03:04 AM on February 12, 2003

8ighteenAcres has a point: most big schools use the revenues from football to help cover the other "non-revenue" sports. When I was at U. of Florida, the men's basketball team barely paid for itself, while football pretty much covered every other sport in addition to itself. Every other team ran a deficit. (vito: I lived in two college towns where $600 was enough: Pittsburgh and Gainesville, Fla. In both cases I had roommates)

posted by thescoop at 08:46 AM on February 12, 2003

I think there's some validity to an argument the longer it continues to die and resurface. Paying college athletes has been kicked around for so long, it's finally becoming acceptable to say you are for it. Isn't it only fair to compensate young adults who spend most of their college years working for the PR dept. of their university? Addendum: Would EVERY college athlete get paid? Would those in non-revenues sports be entitled also?

posted by wfrazerjr at 03:26 PM on February 12, 2003

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