The Sporting News published an exclusive interview earlier today with Oklahoma Sooners head football coach Bob Stoops. The topic? Paying players for their services. His take on the issue? Predictable.
The debate — in case you’ve been living under a rock — goes like this: College football players help universities to make millions off of their efforts and time put in on the field and in public appearances, and, therefore, should see a percentage of some of the money that they generate.
Those arguing for pay-for-play posit that student-athletes — a convenient term created by the cadre of lawyers the NCAA has on retainer to do their bidding — deserve compensation for the services they provide to athletic departments who reap the benefits of said services well beyond the average value of an athletic scholarship.
Those arguing against pay-for-play argue that the value of that scholarship itself, and the fact a player will be debt-free after he finishes his playing days is payment enough, and any additional compensation would open Pandora’s Box.
Predictably, this is just the stance Bob Stoops took in the Sporting News interview. In fact he was quoted as saying players already get paid, just not in the way we see:
You know what school would cost here for non-state guy? Over $200,000 for room, board and everything else. That’s a lot of money. Ask the kids who have to pay it back over 10-15 years with student loans. You get room and board, and we’ll give you the best nutritionist, the best strength coach to develop you, the best tutors to help you academically, and coaches to teach you and help you develop. How much do you think it would cost to hire a personal trainer and tutor for 4-5 years?
I don’t get why people say these guys don’t get paid. It’s simple, they are paid quite often, quite a bit and quite handsomely.
Sorry Bob, but equating services which are provided to student-athletes and the value of their scholarship to “being paid” is a non-sequitor. You couldn’t find me one person on this planet who puts in the time that student-athletes do for their universities who would tell you that sitting down with a tutor, eating a specially designed meal, or having a personalized workout would be acceptable to them in lieu of receiving a justifiable portion of the revenue they generate for the organization they spend this time for.
I promise you, I wouldn’t accept a massage certificate in place of my paycheck.
So, no, Bob, your players are not getting paid.
Furthermore, it’s all too easy for someone sitting on a golden throne — irregardless of how they got there and the “rust belt kid makes good story” which Stoops always shoves down our throat — to make light of what it takes in the modern era to do what these 18-22 year old guys do from one day to the next to “earn” that scholarship money with no possibility of enjoying even the most miniscule portion of the windfall it so often produces for those in the ivory tower.
It’s just not seeing the forest — the bigger picture — for the trees — the assumption that the scholarship is enough, damnit — that makes this point-of-view so tired, outdated, and a glowing example of why the NCAA is a farce and its member institutions even more farcical.