Friday, September 9, 2011
Op-Ed Draft (The Most Under-Paid Revenue Generators in America)
This past basketball season there wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t either see Jimmer Fredette t-shirts, hear a YouTube song about him or hear ESPN commentators talk about his crossover and/or 3 point shot. There was a young man in my Portuguese class that traveled to Las Vegas to sell Air Jimmer shirts at the Mountain West tournament. Out of all the money that was made because of Jimmer Fredette not one dime came back to him as a college-athlete.
As of today it is prohibited for college student-athletes to be paid. They receive money for their tuition, books and boarding as well as an opportunity at a college degree. Unlike most other college students they are not allowed to have jobs during the school year. Subsequently, many college athletes get into financial trouble their first year of college while the schools are making millions from their services. I am in favor of paying college athletes due to the financial needs of the students and because they are the reason the money is being made.
There are several opposing arguments against paying the college athletes. Some say that it takes away the integrity of the game. My response is that the integrity of the college game as already tainted. It is common knowledge that Cam Newton’s father took over $180,000 from someone associated with Auburn University last year. The University of Oregon is under investigation for paying one of their running backs $25,000 for his services. The former Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel stepped down from his position this summer because of several of his players receiving “improper benefits” from a tattoo parlor. The University of Miami’s football program could be under severe penalty from the NCAA for receiving “improper benefits” from ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff. If we were paying college athletes a reasonable stipend the athletes would be less likely to accept illegal payments that ruin the integrity of the game.
The main question brought up when we talk about paying the student-athletes is “Where is the money going to come from?” I ask where does the money come from now? For BYU, our football players’ scholarship money, (tuition, books, rent) comes from boosters and not the members’ tithing. I am from Alabama and the boosters are the ones that pay Nick Saban’s $5 million salary every year. So that’s one way we could pay the student-athletes.
South Carolina’s football coach Steve Spurrier suggested this summer that his football players could be paid $300 per game from his own personal salary. He makes several million dollars a year but here’s what he would be paying. $300 times 50 scholarship players times 12 games comes out to $180,000. All colleges could not do this but it is an option for those that could.
Another way to raise money to pay college-athletes is through the televised deals that colleges make with ESPN. This summer the University of Texas singed a 20 year $300 million dollar deal with ESPN to televise their home football games. BYU also signed a deal with ESPN to televise their home games for 8 years. The amount BYU received from ESPN was not released to the public but it has been speculated that BYU received $40-$50 million. BYU played Oklahoma two years ago and received $4 million from ESPN for the game.
I am not in favor of giving all of the profits from the football program to the football players. A lot of good comes from spending the money on other parts of campus. But with colleges making millions of dollars from their student athletes it only seems just to have a more equal distribution of wealth among those that are creating the revenues.