FanDuel - WFBC

February 24, 2011

NCAA President: No Pay for Athletes: The NCAA's new president said that there will be no payments for athletes on his watch. "They are student-athletes. They are not our employees, they don't work for us," said Mark Emmert. "They get to have experiences that very few students get a chance to enjoy." College football generated $2.2 billion in revenue in 2010. College basketball generated $4.55 billion in ad revenue from 2000 to 2009.

posted by rcade to general at 11:39 AM - 58 comments

I also don't like the idea of college athletes being paid, because it opens up a whole new bag of potential problems.

The reasons against paying them, however, especially male football and basketball players at elite division 1 programs, is getting harder and harder to argue against. The money universities are making off these guys is staggering, and like it or not, they ARE the university's employees. Sure they receive a paid educational experience, but when you're talking that many billions, it's obvious schools are using these athletes to stuff their respective piggy banks.

posted by dyams at 12:22 PM on February 24

Of course they're not employees. They're indentured servants.

posted by goddam at 02:06 PM on February 24

The players that people think should be getting paid are already highly compensated for their skills in terms of scholarship money. If they do not feel that the education they are getting is more than sufficient compensation. They are getting for free the same education that other students are paying upward of $15k-$40k for when you include room and board. No one said that they needed to be athletes while they are in college, they can feel free to try and get by with a campus job like the rest of us while paying for their tuition and fees.

posted by Demophon at 02:13 PM on February 24

They are getting for free the same education that other students are paying upward of $15k-$40k

Safe to assume you've never asked for a raise at your job? You're always happy with what you're getting regardless of whether it's fair?

posted by yerfatma at 02:47 PM on February 24

No one said that they needed to be athletes while they are in college, they can feel free to try and get by with a campus job like the rest of us while paying for their tuition and fees.

So a school brings a young person in to play football, gives them a scholarship, and now it's perfectly fair for that college or university to rake in millions of dollars based on them playing a sport? Maybe division 1 sports need to become not-for-profit entities, and only be allowed to generate money necessary to continue operating that sport. Having the entire school rake in cash based on these athletes is nothing more than having them (as goddam said) acting as "indentured servants."

And what's with these division 1 football coaches and the contracts they are signing? Millions of dollars to coach "student-athletes"? Sounds like pro football to me.

Also, don't forget the fact all the other merchandise sold due to these college athletes, from shirts to hats to jerseys, etc. Plenty more people getting rich due to that, too.

You can try to write it off with the old "They're getting a free education" comments, but I'm not buying it. These schools are running what amounts to their own professional leagues. When you bring in 100,000 people to some of these venues for tickets that aren't cheap, then add up all the other fees charged for these games, there's absolutely no difference between, for example, big-time college football and the NFL.

posted by dyams at 02:53 PM on February 24

The players that people think should be getting paid are already highly compensated for their skills in terms of scholarship money.

True, but they have to devote so much time to their sport and academics that even if they were allowed to work outside jobs all year, they wouldn't have the time to do it.

It is ridiculous for sports that generate so much money to hide behind amateurism as a rationale for refusing to pay their athletes even a small stipend. This NCAA exec reminds me of FIFA and Olympics officials. They've clawed their way to the top of a system that generates billions in wealth, and all decisions they make are only about keeping that money pipeline flowing, no matter how they claim otherwise.

posted by rcade at 03:47 PM on February 24

"When you bring in 100,000 people to some of these venues for tickets that aren't cheap, then add up all the other fees charged for these games, there's absolutely no difference between, for example, big-time college football and the NFL."

Except for the fact that most of the players are not good enough to play professional football.

It may only prove that football is more about competitive games that about multimillion dollar talent. Fans are willing to shell out huge money to watch amateur talent. Sort of sheds some light on how the NFL deals with it's labor issues. Of course without college football (which is essentially the NFL's minor league) what would the NFL do?

All that said I think the system works great. The colleges make millions, the NFL get a free minor league system, the players get to go to college for free, even if they are not actually academically qualified, the TV networks have a bonanza, thousands of peripheral jobs are created, and the fans obviously love college football. I am not sure how to make it better, If you start paying college athletes, what would be next, paying high school athletes.

Calling the athletes "indentured servants" does not seem appropriate as they can quit at any time, and have made the choice to accept the offer the colleges give them. Although some may say the colleges are using the athletes, I think it is a symbiotic relationship as without the colleges the athletes really don't have a honed marketable skill or a college education, with maybe the exception of a few talented players that are pro level. Even those players are typically not ready for the pro's when they enter college, and frankly if they are, they are free to skip college and try to walk on as an NFL prospect. College does for these athletes exactly what it does for other students and that is give them career choices and training.

The talent level of a football player is not as much of a contributing factor to the revenue stream for a college as it is for a pro team. University of Tennessee does not less money on football because their QB is no longer Peyton Manning. They just plug in the next guy.

posted by Atheist at 04:01 PM on February 24

Except for the fact that most of the players are not good enough to play professional football.

True, but does that matter? College football has stronger fan loyalty and more long-lived fan traditions than any other American pro sport. When I watch Premiership soccer in England and enjoy the songs and the fanaticism, I find nothing in the U.S. that compares as well to it as college football.

If you start paying college athletes, what would be next, paying high school athletes.

Why would that bother you, if the high schools were making money? When I worked at the student newspaper in college, I got paid. It wasn't much, but it was enough for draft beer and Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. Why can't football players who work at the school football team get paid?

posted by rcade at 04:38 PM on February 24

I see this from many angles:
In regard to:Safe to assume you've never asked for a raise at your job?
not sure how that fits in as these players have gotten incredible raises over the past 20 years. I know of no one that has received raises on par with what the cost of a college education has gone up by over that time period.

1) When I worked at the student newspaper in college, I got paid. It wasn't much, but it was enough for draft beer and Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. Why can't football players who work at the school football team get paid?

did you also get a free ride scholarship for working at the paper? If so, then the point is valid, if not, then it's a trade off.

2)True, but they have to devote so much time to their sport and academics that even if they were allowed to work outside jobs all year, they wouldn't have the time to do it.

No kid going to college full time earns enough during the year to pay for their complete year of school. I'd much rather UNT give my daughter a full ride, and then she'd only have to figure out how to get spending money. Far cheaper than her being able to earn spending money on the side and I have to figure out how to pay for the $16K room and board.

3)The money universities are making off these guys is staggering,

I would amend that to read "the money SOME universities are making..." Not all schools that currently give scholarships in football are making millions. Yes, the top schools do. So, do we allow all schools to pay their players, or just those that make millions? Is there a salary cap? Or, does Ohio State get to pay multiples of what Minnesota pays because they can afford it? Do we really want the Yankees-Royals scenario in college football? Already there to some degree, but that would only make it worse.

Do we pay them, and then take away the scholarships? Does that really make a difference in the long run? Might turn out worse for the athlete, as if it's on a pay as you play format, then if you get cut are you out the money?
Does the star QB get paid the same as the reserve guard?

I'm done.

posted by dviking at 05:20 PM on February 24

When I watch Premiership soccer in England and enjoy the songs and the fanaticism, I find nothing in the U.S. that compares as well to it as college football.

And I had the same reaction heading in the opposite direction. But college athletics is a fundamentally dirty enterprise. (As I've said here before, I love road cycling, but I'm under no illusions about the prevalence of doping.)

The new NCAA boss is just saying that shamateurism remains the order of the day, and that under-the-table payments will persist as long as they're not too blatant. That's understandable, because there's no incentive for them to drop the pretense.

posted by etagloh at 06:15 PM on February 24

All athletics should be severed from the college educational system in the US. Spin off the athletic programs into private athletic clubs that compete in Under-23 leagues, and let them do what they want. There is no reason for an elite football player or basketball player to go through the motions of maintaining academic elegibility when they have no desire to obtain a BS degree in communications. There is also no reason for students at a MAC or Sunbelt school (i.e., a Div I school that loses money on athletics) to unwillingly subsidize a football player or basketball player, or for any student to subsidize the education of a fencer or badminten player.

Spun-off athletic clubs can pay kids tuition money or more to play or not, or charge kids to play non-revenue sports, and the kids could get an education or not.

I like sports. I just do not see its connection to college education. I think severing the two would be cool. Of course, I realize it will not happen any time soon.

posted by Aardhart at 07:21 PM on February 24

I think severing the two would be cool.

What's cool about abandoning 140 years of collegiate sports tradition and severing the tie between college alumni and their school teams? You'd be turning college football and basketball into second-tier pro sports leagues with arbitrary age restrictions. Do you sense a lot of excitement among soccer fans for under-20 leagues? Do you pine for the day the Buckeyes relocate to Los Angeles because they couldn't get Ohio to fund a publicly financed stadium?

The problem with college sports is shamateurism, not the idea of colleges fielding teams. 95% of college sports are completely amateur by virtue of the fact they make no money at all. Anyone who is sick of college football's ruling system has the non-BCS schools, the Football Playoff Subdivision and lower divisions to enjoy.

posted by rcade at 08:19 PM on February 24

Seriously, for all you that favor paying the players, how do you envision it working?

Does each athlete get paid a set amount? All athletes, or just football and men's basketball? All other sports don't make money for the schools, so why pay them? However, if the schools have to now share the football money with the football players, all the other sports go away. (or, everyone pays a lot more for tuition)

Does every player on the team earn the same? That seems odd to me, as the argument is that universities are making millions off of these players doesn't really mean that they're making the same off of each player. Clearly, Cam Newton has more value than Steven Clark (back up punter), but how much more?

As to Aardhart's last post, baseball is already moving in that direction. Select baseball teams carry as much weight as school teams do, in terms of recruitment. Lots of baseball and hockey players go straight to minor league teams, bypassing college completely. I like watching the St. Paul Saints and the Frisco RoughRiders, why wouldn't that work in football?

posted by dviking at 11:06 PM on February 24

In what world does it make sense for Nick Saban to have an 8-year, $32 million contract, and his entire football team doesn't make a dime. Where Jim Tressel is making $3.5 million a year, and his players are selling their Big Ten championship rings for spending money.

I remember Chris Webber saying something about walking into the University of Michigan bookstore, broke, and seeing jerseys with his name on it being sold for $80. Ain't that a bitch. And he said that years before the Fab Five got wiped out of the record books. The infamous booster Ed Martin.

I can't come up with a system of paying players that is perfect. All I know is the system currently in place is totally unbalanced and rife with corruption. Everyone's making bank except for the players. Well the smart ones are being sold under the table by their dads "without their knowledge."

In that sense, successful college athletes in top programs are indentured servants. They are totally unpaid labor - god forbid we let them sit at the table with the rest of us and have a piece of the pie. The system would be "too complicated." Seems like everybody else is getting paid just fine. They are getting a "free education." Put part of that money in a trust and let it pay for graduate school then. Encourage or require kids to stay in school for four years and get an actual degree.

posted by phaedon at 02:20 AM on February 25

Enforced amateurism.

Worked so well at the Olympics and in Rugby Union.

posted by owlhouse at 07:26 AM on February 25

What's cool about abandoning 140 years of collegiate sports tradition and severing the tie between college alumni and their school teams?

I don't think my system of spinning off the teams would sever the ties. In pro sports, fans essentially cheer for one private company against another. Red Sox fans really have no ties to the team, except for they like that company more than the 29 other companies. The Buckeye Athletic Club, although no longer run by a University, would be a continuation of The Ohio State U. athletic tradition. It's just that the 30,000 undergrads would no longer be forced to pay fees to support athletes, whether they like them or not. And the University would no longer be forced to choose between using funds for building a new arena or building a academic research facility.

You'd be turning college football and basketball into second-tier pro sports leagues with arbitrary age restrictions.

They already are. Except instead of pro, shamateur.

Do you sense a lot of excitement among soccer fans for under-20 leagues?

No, but there is a lot of excitement for lower division soccer leagues.

Do you pine for the day the Buckeyes relocate to Los Angeles because they couldn't get Ohio to fund a publicly financed stadium?

I think there should never be publicly financed stadiums. You failed to stir my sympathy with this question.

The problem with college sports is shamateurism, not the idea of colleges fielding teams.

One problem is shamateurism. It's not the only problem.

95% of college sports are completely amateur by virtue of the fact they make no money at all.

I do not see why forcing other students to pay for the "education" of jocks that no one would pay to see is a good thing. The Sunbelt/MAC bowls cost schools millions of dollars, yet no team would turn down an invite to the dandelion bowl. Also, few fans/alums would make the trip.

Anyone who is sick of college football's ruling system has the non-BCS schools, the Football Playoff Subdivision and lower divisions to enjoy.

These schools are the ones that lose money, which has to come from somewhere. College students are adults. I don't think their recreation has to be subsidized by other students.

As far as I know, my proposal is supported by no one except me. I have never heard it suggested by anyone else, and it will not happen anytime soon.

posted by Aardhart at 08:04 AM on February 25

They already are.

Hardly. Compare the revenue generated by college football and basketball, and the excitement we're about to experience with March Madness, to minor-league sports.

The Sunbelt/MAC bowls cost schools millions of dollars, yet no team would turn down an invite to the dandelion bowl. Also, few fans/alums would make the trip.

I'm an alumnus of a Sun Belt school, the University of North Texas. I see no reason why we should drop sports because we're not Ohio State. The budget is reasonable and we're building a new stadium. It is a selling point for the university just like the School of Music and other schools that have been upgraded.

Dismissing sports as "recreation" if they don't make money on spectators is a weird standard. Would you suggest that a school drop its journalism program if the school newspaper doesn't make money? The athletes who play the other sports are preparing for careers just like anyone else at the school.

You act as if the only point of college sports is to make money and entertain people.

posted by rcade at 09:06 AM on February 25

FYI. I'm an alum of a MAC school.

You act as if the only point of college sports is to make money and entertain people.

No. I act as if the primary purpose of colleges is education, not to provide subsidies for sports.

posted by Aardhart at 09:14 AM on February 25

Your view of higher education is too narrow. There's more than one purpose to college: education, career and personal networking, personal growth, character building, vocational training and more. Sports aids many of those things. It also provides a way for alumni to follow their school that encourages donations.

posted by rcade at 10:00 AM on February 25

Seriously, for all you that favor paying the players, how do you envision it working?

I don't think we have to come up with a solution ourselves in order to believe they should be paid. I don't need to know how to balance the governments budget to believe that it needs to be fixed. Pay someone smarter than me to figure out the best/fair way, but just recognize that it needs to be done.

posted by bdaddy at 10:01 AM on February 25

I don't have a problem with a portion my tuition dollars going towards athletic programs. In the fall home football games are always the highlight of the week.

Maybe if we paid our players they'd have mustered more than three wins this season.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 10:28 AM on February 25

rcade, I like sports. I do not think sports should be banned. I just don't think that the connection between sports and college makes much sense.

I don't think the University of Chicago suffered too much from ending their football program, the Monsters of the Midway. I do not think Harvard and Yale suffered too much from ending their participation in bowl games and from dropping down from big-time football.

I did not choose my MAC college based on its athletic program. I chose it because it had the academic program I wanted and it was cheap. I went to football and basketball games while I was there, but they were free.

UNT, MAC schools, and Sunbelt schools will never have athletic programs that could rival Ohio State, Texas, Florida, or USC. Yeah, there is an occasional upset, but rarely is there a new member of the elite programs.

I think we just disagree on the cost-benefit analysis, and whether it is appropriate to spread the costs to unwilling students and tax-payers.

posted by Aardhart at 10:35 AM on February 25

I just don't think that the connection between sports and college makes much sense.

I think it would be sad to throw out 140 years of tradition. Harvard, Yale and the University of Chicago are hardly representative of most universities in this country. Besides, Harvard and Yale have not dropped football. The Ivy League is a storied bastion of old-school collegiate sports.

A better example: The University of Texas at Arlington killed football right before I attended in the mid-'80s. It helped obliterate the sense of community anyone held for that school. You've never seen a campus with fewer people who feel a sense of pride for the place.

Take away sports and my connection to UNT 20 years after graduation dwindles to nothing. UNT athletics, such as they are, are the school's best opportunity to get my attention and go after me for donations and other support.

posted by rcade at 10:47 AM on February 25

I think it would be sad to throw out 140 years of tradition.

What's sad is that that tradition has been hopelessly corrupted.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 12:00 PM on February 25

What's sad is that that tradition is hopeless corruption.

posted by Aardhart at 12:11 PM on February 25

UNT, MAC schools, and Sunbelt schools will never have athletic programs that could rival Ohio State, Texas, Florida, or USC.

I don't get how this is relevant. So what?

Are MAC schools shut down because they don't offer as many courses as a Big Ten school or because they don't have as big of an endowment?

How is that MAC coaches are paid, even though their teams don't compete regularly with bigger schools in better conferences?

You're telling me that offering student-athletes a share of television revenue and retail sales is that complicated? Smaller schools have a smaller pie, granted. Nothing new there.

But this idea that smaller leagues have to be competitive with the bigger leagues in order for the idea of college athletes getting paid to make any sense is bogus. Everybody else in the system is getting paid.

Never going to happen, I get it, but complicated? This should seem intuitive.

posted by phaedon at 01:09 PM on February 25

I think what dispels some people from the idea of paying college athletes is that on its face, it looks like if athletes were to be paid, they would not all be paid the same amount. Therefore, the only "equitable" solution is to not pay them at all.

But of course this does not square away with the fact that everybody else is making bank on the success of college athletics except the athletes themselves.

posted by phaedon at 01:43 PM on February 25

What's sad is that that tradition is hopeless corruption.

I'm all for a change, though I'm not smart enough to have an answer.

The idea that at the top level of college football we're watching student athletes play a pure game is almost comical at this point. Pay them already. I feel less dirty watching pro sports.

And yes, I realize college sports are more than top tier college football and basketball, but for most people, that's college sports.

posted by justgary at 03:29 PM on February 25

I think the system, although it has had some corruption where top high profile athletes are concerned, is basically working pretty well. Since the huge majority of the athletes do not have a professional future, those athletes benefit tremendously from the free ride they get. The athletes who do have a pro future can either decide to skip college and try to pursue their athletic careers as undrafted free agents, or they can get the financial reward of a free education and the increased money should they prove themselves in college as their market value is much higher when they do go pro.

There are very few college athletes worth more if they were paid they they get in scholarship value. Plus the fact that for those who don't make it as pros at least they wind up with a college education.

The reason a college coach is worth money to the school is he is the one who keeps the talent and the team in the competitive running which maximizes the revenue. Most of the kids coming out of high school would not be worth much to a college, certainly not as much as the tuition would cost them if they had to pay it out of their playing pay. Stop college athletics and everybody's tuition goes up, a lot of kids who think they can play pro sports do not and wind up with no education. College athletics is part of the learning and college experience. Nobody is taking advantage of the kids.

Even an player like Cam Newton right out of high school, really has no professional value until he has proven himself for a season or two in college and he has the opportunity to declare himself for the draft early if he chooses.

posted by Atheist at 03:56 PM on February 25

One thing I don't think has been mentioned throughout these discussions: they all center around football and basketball. Granted, they are the primary money-makers, but it I came on a golf scholarship, shouldn't I get paid?

That's OK, when I win the Grand Slam and get mega-endorsements and stay healthy while the pro stars have to perform for league sponsors and blow out ACLs -- if they reach the pros -- the joke will be on them!

Either all student-athletes get paid or none. Here's a better one: what if I made a team as a walk-on; shouldn't I get paid the same as a scholarship player?

posted by jjzucal at 04:16 PM on February 25

I don't think we have to come up with a solution ourselves in order to believe they should be paid.

Well, actually, you kind of do. If you can't figure out, at least on a basic level, how to make an idea you have feasible, then what good is it?
Not asking for details on how to physically make it work, but if the argument holds water you ought to be able to answer my pretty basic questions.

If you can't that might be part of the problem. Scholarships are fairly easy to administer, adn everyone is treated the same. Doesn't matter if your sport makes money, doesn't matter how well you contribute (on a general sense, I'm fully aware that some schools give partial scholarships).

posted by dviking at 05:10 PM on February 25

That's OK, when I win the Grand Slam and get mega-endorsements and stay healthy while the pro stars have to perform for league sponsors and blow out ACLs -- if they reach the pros -- the joke will be on them!

Would your path to the majors go through a college team, though?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 05:23 PM on February 25

Since universities are already dispensing scholarship funds to their athletes, why do people think it would be impossible to figure out how to give them additional money? There's no logistical issue to overcome -- there's already a system in place paying them scholarships.

The University of Michigan has 716 student-athletes who play 25 varsity sports. Sixty-six percent (471) receive some type of athletic grant-in-aid. The school generates around $50 million a year in revenue from football. So per athlete, at least $72,905 a year in revenue is being generated.

Why couldn't those athletes get a $5,000 a year grant they can spend on anything they like? Michigan would still have $67,000 a year in revenue from each athlete, and athletes would have more time to devote to their sport and schooling.

Would this give schools with profitable athletic programs an advantage because they can give athletes some money? That ship has already sailed.

posted by rcade at 06:09 PM on February 25

An idea I've had for some time now is that to pay the student-athletes a small stipend, say--$200 month to help them with "walk around" money. This money would not come from the university but the NCAA. The NCAA would get the money from its various sources (such as merchandising, tournament TV contracts, etc.). They would give less payout to the universities playing in these tournaments to help defrey some of the costs. This I think would help a lot of student-athletes, especially those who do not have someone at home to give them any money while in college (let them go out once in awhile for dinner or dates, etc). Since it was coming straight from the NCAA and not the schools themselves, it would be easier to "police". The money is already there it would be just a matter of figuring out a fair and equitable way of doing it.

posted by jagsnumberone at 11:22 PM on February 25

The athletes who do have a pro future can either decide to skip college and try to pursue their athletic careers as undrafted free agents, or they can get the financial reward of a free education and the increased money should they prove themselves in college as their market value is much higher when they do go pro.

Per NFL rules, players must be more than two years past high school graduation to be eligible for the NFL draft. I can't find a link to confirm this, but I believe you have to be eligible for a draft before you can become a free agent. If not, I would imagine the best players would just become free agents and shop their services rather than get drafted.

Rules for MLB and NHL are closer to what you have suggested, although those players not wishing to go to college get drafted straight out of high school if they declare.

posted by bender at 10:42 AM on February 26

Why couldn't those athletes get a $5,000 a year grant they can spend on anything they like?

maybe it's because of this fact: Michigan's athletic department is one of just six in the country to show a budgetary surplus in each of the past five years.In fact, it has finished nine straight years with a surplus and anticipates an $8.8 million surplus next year (this comes to $12, 000 a year per athlete, but what do they do if they have a tough year and lose money...each athlete pay in?)

Most schools do not really earn money from their total athletic departments, and a pay for play program really helps the higher profile schools. As I said in one of my first posts on this thread, do we really want more of a Yankees-Royals set up in college sports? Clearly, an Ohio State is going to be able to pay more than an U of Minnesota, or a UNT is going to be able to.

From another source: Football Championship Subdivision programs fare worse: No athletic programs in this division, formerly known as Division I-AA, reported surpluses in 2009. Only 2 percent of football programs, 6 percent of men's basketball programs, and 2 percent of women's basketball programs reported surpluses.

Keeping in mind that much of the "profits" that football, and sometimes basketball, earn, would not truly be profits in the real world. Stadium improvements, especially costs for such side items like the necessary road and parking upgrades needed, are paid out of the general fund.

On a side bar discussion, wouldn't paying football players spending money also force the schools to pay all the students that do various forms of work as part of their schooling? The nursing student working in the medical school, the biology student doing some research that someone else is going to make money off of, the guy writing on the school paper (do they ever make money on those? I don't recall paying for the school paper, but I suppose there were ads).

It's going to get interesting as more and more states start looking to balance their budgets.

posted by dviking at 11:32 AM on February 26

did you also get a free ride scholarship for working at the paper? If so, then the point is valid, if not, then it's a trade off.

Even if I had been on a full journalism scholarship, the student newspaper could have paid me a salary. As far as I know, student athletes are the only people on campus who aren't allowed to be paid.

Most schools do not really earn money from their total athletic departments ...

That's because they choose to spend as much as they bring in (or more). If they had to provide a small grant to each of their athletes as the cost of the program, they would make it possible by reducing expenditures elsewhere or raising more from donors.

The Football Championship Subdivision is irrelevant to this discussion. No one expects their athletes to be paid because those schools aren't generating billions in revenue.

Keeping in mind that much of the "profits" that football, and sometimes basketball, earn, would not truly be profits in the real world.

College football generated $2.2 billion in revenue in 2010. There's unquestionably a lot of real-world profit in there. I suspect there's a lot more profit than people realize, but Hollywood accounting is going on.

I don't recall paying for the school paper, but I suppose there were ads.

Every college newspaper I ever saw (or worked for) sold ads. Part of it was to train advertising students, but the money did go towards the cost of producing the paper.

posted by rcade at 11:59 AM on February 26

So, again, programs that make money (only a handful of the top schools make money) can pay, others are out of luck?

Schools in the second tiers and lower are irrelevant? Why, just because they don't make millions? Do they not help generate interest in college sports overall? Don't lower tier schools help supply talent for the NFL? I just don't see the NCAA allowing one set of schools to operate with a pay for play format, but not others. It would just create the Yankees-Royals scenario. U of Michigan can give prospect A a free ride and spending money, while another school can just give the free ride? QB prospect B gets spending money, but golf prospect C does not? Too many issues with those proposals to see them moving forward. And, I haven't even gotten into the issue of a football program just needing to get more booster money (you know sell a suite for $1mil) in order to justify paying more. Again, some programs win, most would not.

Yes, yes, yes, college football generates a shit load of profit. I don't recall anyone really arguing that point, it's just that college sports don't generate a shit load of profits. If we're going to argue that just football players should be paid because they generate money for the schools, fine. But, that isn't going to happen and we all probably agree on that. So, it comes back to college athletics, and given that most schools lose money on athletics, why should we pay the players any more than we would pay the nursing student? Well, any more that we're already doing. The athlete gets his room and board taken care, the nursing student rarely would

posted by dviking at 12:58 PM on February 26

And, I haven't even gotten into the issue of a football program just needing to get more booster money (you know sell a suite for $1mil) in order to justify paying more.

So the billions they already generate aren't enough to pay athletes, even though TV revenue for college sports has gone through the roof in recent years? Clearly there's no solution you would be willing to entertain that would allow college athletes to collect even a pittance of the revenue they help produce.

If the courts decided that this system was illegal and required colleges to pay their athletes $5,000 a year, a school with 716 athletes would be required to dedicate $3.58 million a year to this purpose.

Does anyone think any BCS school would shut down its athletic programs for lack of $3.58 million a year?

As of 2008, Big 12 schools generated from $38 million to $128 million in yearly revenue. So in all cases, $3.58 million would be less than 10 percent of revenue.

posted by rcade at 01:21 PM on February 26

From your own link: Those numbers include 1 time gifts. Since when did one time gifts get counted as profit? Your link doesn't break down how much each school received in gifts, nor how much of those gifts may have had strings attached.

Profit for those same schools for that year. OSU:$29,386,111 KU: $20,302,143 UT: $19,305,774 NU: $8,630,877 KSU: $7,750963 CU: $4,263,636 TT: $3,596,885 A&M:$2,332,348 MU: $320,016 OU: $152,126 BU: $0.00 ISU: $0.00

So, keeping in mind that the year in question here was before the economy tanked and states starting looking at their budgets, I still wonder if ISU, BU, OU, MU. A&M and TT are going to be excited about going deeper in debt to fund athlete's spending money. States are going to be tighter with money going forward, and I don't see how any legislator is going to be promoting paying more money.

These are Big 12 schools, ones with lots of football boosters and big stadiums, fair number of bowl games. Not every conference is this well off. I know you think Division II teams are irrelevant, but clearly some of the ad money that you're including in the NCAA total comes from ads associated with those programs.

If you think it's fair that BCS schools can pay athletes, but other schools can not, I guess that would change one's perspective. I think non-BCS programs help develop the overall market for football (and the revenue that comes from that) so why should they exclude them?

I'm good with agreeing to disagree at this point, your figures only strengthen my feelings on this, and your data seems to make sense to you.

posted by dviking at 05:02 PM on February 26

If you think it's fair that BCS schools can pay athletes, but other schools can not, I guess that would change one's perspective.

I don't think the BCS is fair to the non-BCS conferences, but it is what it is. We're talking about whether it's fair for the schools that do generate enormous sports revenue to share none of it with their athletes.

Ohio State already has an unassailable advantage over UNT without paying players. I don't think a $5,000 yearly grant would make a difference.

posted by rcade at 09:57 PM on February 26

But since UNT can actually qualify for a BCS bowl, why should they play under different rules than Ohio State?

I hear you, I just guess I'm looking at it from a monetary standpoint (everything is P&L based in my job, so maybe that carries over).

Data I found on the ACC: Athletic Dept Profit Univ. of Virginia $10,971,219.00 Virginia Tech $7,874,833.00 Univ. of Miami $5,247,495.00 North Carolina State $3,155,910.00 Clemson Univ. $1,442,057.00 Boston College $1,211,197.00 Wake Forest University $888,960.00 Duke Univ. $442,226.00 Univ. of North Carolina $238,644.00 Univ. of Maryland $223,424.00 Georgia Tech $138,659.00 Florida State Univ. $0.00

So, 9 of the 11 teams would go into the red using your $5000 figure.

Another link I found interesting is this It shows how the Oregon Ducks are outspending their athletic budget, and only dips into the school's reserve fund keep athletics afloat. That's a major team in football that doesn't make a profit.

Keep in mind that you're talking about football, but saying that all athletes at the BCS schools would get money. Most sports don't have a BCS format, so all Division 1 teams play each other. The spending money really is unfair in those cases. College Hockey would get up-ended. Why would a kid go play for the University of North Dakota, or U of Minn Duluth if he gets an extra $5K to go to a Big Ten school? Those teams are currently fairly competitive, look at the current NCAA rankings, would $5K to just some of the teams make sense? If not, then we're back to just playing football players, and I don't think that's happening.

posted by dviking at 12:55 AM on February 27

However it would work out with regards to pay isn't really the issue. The fact is, it could be done. Nobody is suggesting these athletes have to be paid huge amounts, just a little bit of spending money. It could be based on family need, on percentage of money a certain sport brings in to a university (obviously football and basketball bring in more money than, say, baseball and wrestling, so that can't be ignored in the equation).

But the idea these programs can somehow pay their coaches for the two major men's sports millions and millions, while each kid performing on the field faces scrutiny should a mere $20 come their way, is totally wrong, regardless of the arguments. Scholarships are great, but students in many programs at various schools receive scholarships, and very few of them bring in the amounts of money to their schools that football and basketball do.

posted by dyams at 08:54 AM on February 27

(obviously football and basketball bring in more money than, say, baseball and wrestling, so that can't be ignored in the equation)

Bring in more, cost more too. Sometimes they cost so much that other sports are sacrificed on the altar of we-must-have-football.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:27 PM on February 27

Again,(and seriously, for the last time) I think some of you need to get over this idea that every school in the country is raking in millions from athletics. As has been pointed out several times in this thread alone, most schools are losing money on sports. Most are not even making money on football (check my link to Oregon's finances in my last post) So, any call for additional money to be thrown at athletes is just going to cause most schools to dig deeper into that non-existent pile of money. Modern day athletics cost a ton of money, with only bigger football programs, and a handful of basketball programs making any cash.

I just don't see how you pay a wrestler less than you pay a fullback. I can't see the NCAA going to that type of a situation. Can't see them changing to a pay for play anytime soon either.

posted by dviking at 02:16 AM on February 28

I don't think anyone is saying ALL schools rake in tons of money. It's not necessary to list each and every division 1 program and their finances to realize a big number of these institutions are running what amounts to professional programs where they don't have to pay the athletes (I know, I know, they get scholarships). Whether it's USC, Florida, Alabama, Texas, Ohio State, etc. there is absolutely NO difference between how their football programs and those of NFL teams are run (except for the fact most of those big-time colleges probably generate more money than many NFL teams). It IS a sham, regardless of the spin anyone puts on it. The schools, in many instances, are getting a incredible deal that allows them to fund many aspects of their institution.

posted by dyams at 10:09 AM on February 28

Whether it's USC, Florida, Alabama, Texas, Ohio State, etc. there is absolutely NO difference between how their football programs and those of NFL teams are run

I'm not so sure about this. I can't claim to know the details, but I do know that every NFL rookie says the same thing: it's a huge adjustment and a big step up. If there really were no difference in how the programs were run (except that in the NFL, you don't even have to pretend to be a student), would they say that?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:10 AM on February 28

As has been pointed out several times in this thread alone, most schools are losing money on sports.

I don't believe them when they say that. What schools are probably doing is making sure their revenue aligns very closely with their expenses to avoid looking like they are making a profit. If they are making a profit, the athletic department no longer gets to keep that money. That's what I see when I look at their data. I took a look at the University of South Florida, which is not one of those big time football programs. Football makes around $16.5 million with expenses around $12 million. They may use that money to fund all athletics, but there is no reason why it must be that way.

posted by bperk at 12:07 PM on February 28

bperk...so, using your data, USF football makes 4.5 mil. Okay, what do you think all the other sports at that school cost? I'll bet a fair amount that it's considerably north of 4.5 mil. That's the point, there isn't this huge pile of money from athletics to start paying athletes out of.

posted by dviking at 12:29 PM on February 28

College football and basketball generate several billion dollars a year. How is that not a huge pile of money?

If USF had to pay its athletes $5,000 a year, that's around $3 million. If they (and other programs) spent less on other areas such as coaching salaries and recruiting travel, they could afford that expenditure.

The reason these programs don't make money is because they choose to spend everything they bring in to be as competitive as possible. If paying their athletes small grants was the cost of doing business, they'd adjust.

posted by rcade at 01:13 PM on February 28

That's the point, there isn't this huge pile of money from athletics to start paying athletes out of.

There never will be no matter how much they make because they don't want to seem as if they are running a profit. They will build a new athletic center or pay the coaches more or find some other way to spend each and every penny that comes in. The goal is not to give your revenue to the university, but to keep it in the athletic department. Paying the players will just give the universities a smaller pool to spend on coaches or some other such thing.

posted by bperk at 02:22 PM on February 28

I can't claim to know the details, but I do know that every NFL rookie says the same thing: it's a huge adjustment and a big step up.

Absolutely, with regards to the game itself, on the field, it's a huge adjustment. But with regards to the money being generated from tickets, the amount of people attending games, the marketing of merchandise, betting, endorsements, concessions, television, and other businesses capitalizing off these big-time college programs, there's really no difference in those respects from college to the NFL.

posted by dyams at 02:27 PM on February 28

The reason these programs don't make money is because they choose to spend everything they bring in to be as competitive as possible

Seriously, rcade, are you just trying to see how long you can make this go on?

The reson there isn't a big pile of money at the end of the football rainbow is that the money is used to pay for all other sports.

Even if USF does spend more on football than have to, just to be as competitive as possible, how does spending an extra $3million change that? All you'd be doing is spending $3mil per school more than they do now, as everyone wants to be competitive. Since most schools don't earn a profit on sports (from your link, not mine) all that means is more schools taking on more debt.

Yes, or no, do you really think anyone, especially the NCAA is going to allow schools to pay football players $5000 a year in pocket money, but not force them to pay all athletes that money? Title IX probably doesn't allow it , I could be wrong.

posted by dviking at 10:40 PM on February 28

The reson there isn't a big pile of money at the end of the football rainbow is that the money is used to pay for all other sports.

They spend the money because they have the money.

The revenue has exploded in the last couple years. It was under $1 billion not that long ago. Does it have to double again to $6-8 billion before you think the athletes could be paid $3 million a year? Is there a point at which the revenue would be obscene enough and you would concede that athlete grants could be affordable?

Since most schools don't earn a profit on sports (from your link, not mine) all that means is more schools taking on more debt.

Or they'd cut elsewhere. If college programs could adjust to Title IX and survive, they could adjust to a $3 million expenditure to pay their athletes small grants.

Seriously, rcade, are you just trying to see how long you can make this go on?

I'm just pursuing the debate. It seems ridiculous to me that anyone could look at the billions being earned by college sports and believe there's no way they could afford to pay players. You're like the NCAA's dream accountant.

posted by rcade at 11:02 PM on February 28

What are they going to cut? As you've pointed out, no football program is cutting back because they want to be competitive. The other sports run pretty lean to avoid being cut out completely. I just don't see that happening.

Here's a great link showing that 25% of the money you keep referring to comes from taxes. Given that schools probably aren't going to cut money from existing programs to fund spending money, I don't think taxes are going to be raised to create this. And, even if all the coaches somehow did find a way to cut current expenses back in order to pay for the spending money, if the public is told that their taxes money was going to go to give athletes on full ride scholarships $5000 in spending money, I think we'd have some protests on that. You and I might find value in it (okay, you might) but the average taxpayer is not.

Lastly, my previous link to the Oregon football team shows what this link does as well, that is, revenue from sports is not on a ever increasing track. Oregon went down, and over all, the rate is slowing drastically.

Just don't see how it's feasible, without cutting more non-revenue sports.

posted by dviking at 05:12 PM on March 01

You're right, Dviking. No NCAA program could ever make cuts to afford a new $3 million expenditure. And no matter how much their TV revenue increases, it would be impossible for them to direct $3 million of their revenue towards grants to student athletes.

In other news, my alma mater UNT -- a non-BCS school that has been astonishingly incapable of bankrolling athletics for decades -- found a way to open up a new $78 million stadium this fall.

The best part of your link is the question "Is there any good news?" The NCAA pulls in billions of dollars in revenue while portraying the economic condition of the athletic programs at its member schools as troubled. Fucking pathetic.

posted by rcade at 05:25 PM on March 01

You look at the top line, I look at the bottom line. 30 years of running businesses I guess.

I don't see this happening even from a non-monetary standpoint, so perhaps arguing about whether, or not, all the schools have cash laying around for this is pointless.

UNT got that stadium approved before the state ran into budget issues, doubt they'd get it approved now. BTW, just drove by it this morning, it looks great. The old one was a piece of crap the day it opened. (not that I was there the day it opened, but the layout is awful.)

posted by dviking at 02:09 PM on March 02

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.