Jun 10, 2011

Pryor, The NCAA, And Why Paying Players Is NOT The Option


The other day, Ohio State Quarterback Terrelle Pryor said via his lawyer that he was not going to return for his senior season. While it may have shocked some, the fact was it was bound to happen eventually. The NCAA investigation is only going to dig up more dirt on Pryor. Even if only half of the alleged violations are true, he will have broken more than enough rules to warrant a longer suspension. 
His selfish actions will likely cause a USC like crackdown on Ohio State. They received a two-year postseason ban, loss of 30 scholarships over three years, and were forced to vacate many wins including the 2004 BCS National Championship. Expect an even more serious punishment on OSU. The USC issues were solely on the hands of Reggie Bush. OJ Mayo also broke rules, which is why the NCAA issued a lack of institutional control. But the football punishment was only because of Bush.
In Ohio State’s case, the root of the issue is much more deeper than just Pryor. There were other players that allegedly broke rules. And then there was head coach Jim Tressel. He knowingly lied to the NCAA. Whether you like it or not that is a big no-no.
However, this article is not about Tressel. It is about Pryor, and how these college super-stars think they are above the law. Lets run down a quick list of the allegations recently thrown on Pryor.
He allegedly took free or cut-rate cars when he should not have gotten those deals. He sold his Big Ten championship ring, other trophies and jerseys for tattoos. And worst of all, sold autographs for hundreds, and at times thousands of dollars, repeatedly. We all have read the reports into how much he was supposedly making a year from these deals so I won’t go into details about that. 
The problem is that many fans out there think his actions are OK. I have heard so many people, not just OSU fans, giving justification to these elite players taking cash for things. As the saying goes, “rules are rules.” Why should these few elite players be able to sell their autographs and other things for cash? It’s not fair to the others who obey the rules.
The next point people make to defend this is that it’s hard for college players to get by. This folks is complete BS. I am aware that many of these top athletes come from lower to middle class families and do not have a lot of spending cash. The fact is that football players on scholarship can easily make it by.
Scholarships include free tuition, room and board, plus a stipend for away games as well as off campus living. This is already greater than most academic scholarships that high school kids work their ass off for. Next, they receive enough free clothes to have a few extra closets. Sure, they aren’t clothes you would want to go out in but they can easily survive with them. 
The list of ‘NCAA legal’ perks only continues. Free books, tutors, and study sessions, first class treatment from the professors, and extended deadlines. It makes you wonder why so many of them are majoring in pottery.
Then, there’s the off-the-field football perks. These include state of the art facilities, weight rooms, trainers, coaches, and training gear. This would add up to thousands for the average Joe. Also including top-level meal plans, along with team meals, which usually consist of buffets by high end catering companies.(same thing re-write this fragment) 
You can see why so many kids dream of playing college football. It’s clearly a life different from that of a normal college student. This begs the question why are the players selling everything they can for cash? How selfish are Terrelle Pryor and the other players out there that cannot understand what they have gotten handed to them? Do they really need this cash to get by?
The only excuse that could work is that they need/want it for spending money. Every college student likes to have some cash on the side to go out or buy some nice things. However, the NCAA prohibits those on athletic scholarships to hold a job. This is the one problem I have with the NCAA. Allowing them to have a simple summer job would end any possible excuse for wanting cash.
Nonetheless, NCAA athletes have no excuse for selling stuff for cash. Another popular response to what the players are doing is blaming the NCAA. People are asking why if the NCAA is making so much money, cant they compensate the players better. Basically, why can’t you pay the athletes?
Paying college athletes is a terrible idea.
Paying players is a slippery slope towards disaster. It will lead to the demise of the NCAA and screw up most, if not all, universities.
Here’s why:
People think these schools are making millions and millions of dollars off these student athletes. The fact is they are making millions of dollars. However, the schools see very little of that, if any. After most expenses there are only a dozen or so schools that actually make a profit. According to information from 2009, only 14 schools were able to make a profit without support from the university. Only 14! That alone should end any argument about paying student athletes.
Athletic departments also have to share their income. A large portion comes from bowl games and TV contracts. However, that gets split up evenly amongst the conference members. Then, with whatever profit you have left thanks to your football team, you have to support all the other sports. OSU has one of, if not the largest, athletic department in the NCAA. With over 36 varsity teams and over 1,000 student athletes, it can be a pricy task. It cost over $126 million to run OSU’s athletic department last year. The fact is there is not enough money to support paying them.
Also, how would you base your pay? Would it be for revenue producing sports? That would only consist of football and men’s basketball. Not really fair to the other sports is it? Even if you don’t want to be fair and give the other sports scholarships and pay football and basketball, you would have to fight the federal government who instituted Title IX about 40 years ago. It forces all athletic spending to be equal for both sexes. Well see how many universities pay their women’s lacrosse team the same as football.
Also, how would you start paying them? Would it be performance based? Would it be a set amount? How about the differences in conferences? The logistics of starting to pay student athletes would be impossible. The money would run out and tuition for normal students would rise. Then, the schools would ask for more money from the states. This would raise taxes. You can see the domino effect.
Sure the NCAA is a broken system. When the rules were established, they did not expect the NCAA to be a multi-billion dollar industry. They didn’t think they would be making millions of dollars off the student athletes. However, inflation has made it impossible for other sports to survive if football doesn’t continue to make millions of dollars. If players want to make money off what the school makes on them, other sports will crumble. Then, football will eventually crumble from lack of money. People need to look at both sides of the ledger when they think the schools are making a quick buck off these kids.
As for the athletes, why cant’ you be patient? Rules are broken everywhere and Pryor is not the only one. But it is only by the very few that will one-day make money off their God given talents. Can’t they realize how much they have already been handed to in life? Every other student idolizes them and wishes they were in their shoes. If you cant be patient enough to wait three to four years to start making millions of dollars then you don’t deserve too. 

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