Rob Long: Opening The Floodgates
University of South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier talked about giving student-athletes an extra stipend last year and it was paid very little attention. He brought the subject up again this year at SEC media day.
“It’s very similar to last year,” Spurrier said. “We’re trying to get extra money for living expense, academic expense, game related expense to our players because of the tremendous amount of money…billions…they’re bringing (in).
The NCAA is debating over whether to give athletes $2,000, but Spurrier believes the figure believes the amount should be “approximately $3,500 to $4,000” a year to cover college expenses.
That idea would present several problems. Problem number one is that all universities aren’t able to pay that amount. If you can’t pay that to all of the student-athletes, you present problems. All schools aren’t in the black. Some schools aren’t making money, so how can you pay students.
Another problem is, if you can only pay football players, you are presenting other problems. While Title IX says that no one shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation…
Although paying some and not all student-athletes doesn’t violate the letter of Title IX, it may violate the spirit. If the argument is that football generates more revenue than any other sport, the rebuttal to that would be that football, in some cases, may be the only sport that actually generates revenue. Football, in rare cases, is the tail wagging the dog. What next, do you take away meal money from other sports because they aren’t generating revenue?
I’m not saying that I know the solution. What I do know as someone who deals with student-athletes is if you pay some or one sport and not pay the others, you’re creating problems that the people who are in favor of such a notion won’t have to deal with. Everyone has great ideas when they do not have to deal with the aftermath. The includes “The Ole Ball Coach.”
Also, how many schools are there that can afford to pay athletes up $3,500? You have up to 85 kids on scholarship for a college football team. That’s nearly $300,000. What do you do for the walk-ons? Do they get anything or do you shun them because they’re “just” walk-ons? This needs to be thoroughly examined before we change the landscape of college athletics forever.