I just finished reading an article by Dan Wetzel entitled “Bowl boycott would shock unfair system.”
My first thought was that the “occupy Wall Street” movement finally made it to the NCAA. These guys really don’t see the bigger picture and yet they try to rationalize it in some way that makes sense to them without answering any of the larger questions. How is $40 a week going to make a difference? How soon before $2000 a year isn’t enough anymore? If these schools are making so much money, then why do they need fund drives and donations to do renovations to their stadiums? Shouldn’t they have enough to do those and STILL play players? Wouldn’t all stadiums and facilities be on equal footing in terms of quality by now?
We know the answers to all of those questions.
The athletes (or more specifically the football and men’s basketball ones )need to keep in mind that football generates the money that sustains non-revenue generating sports like baseball, softball, volleyball, wrestling, golf, tennis, gymnastics, etc. If it’s fair that these players get a stipend, it’s only fair that players of all other sports get one too. They work just as hard at their craft with a fraction of the national recognition. The size of TV deals and the like is getting larger because the costs are growing. So is the cost of an education, but players never see those costs. How long before the argument for a stipend trickles down to 1-AA? Those schools don’t have near the budgets of 1-A schools, but the players work just as hard. How many schools would do away with athletics because they couldn’t afford such stipends?
Wetzel starts to veer off course with this statement, “And yet these college coaches and administrators still cry amateurism as if they operate a local Little League team. Then they turn around and demand salary, country club memberships, his-and-her luxury cars and the use of private planes as if they run the New York Yankees.” How many schools is he talking about that are like that? Ten maybe? Does he really think there are that many prima donna coaches and administrators at this level?
Then he continues on by saying that it’s too much to ask to players to boycott a Final Four or a BCS title game because players want to play and they have worked too hard to compete. Don’t players involved in this lower tier bowl he suggests work just as hard or want to compete any less? Wouldn’t boycotting a BCS game make a bigger statement then? Wouldn’t a huge boycott like that have more of an impact on the future of athletics that these athletes are supposedly so concerned with?
Wetzel then makes his biggest blunder by arguing that it’s unfair to athletes that schools can profit off of their likeness for the rest of their lives and these players will never see a penny. You don’t see schools expecting money when these alumni become the next Bill Gates or Jonas Salk. The fact is players gain a FREE education that no one can ever take from them, and yet all we hear is that it isn’t enough. They need spending money.
All it boils down to is, “you make a lot of money off of me and I want more than I am getting because an education isn’t much.” What kind of mixed messages are we sending to kids when we say that you can’t put a price on a good education, but if you play sports you can, and it’s more than room, board and tuition?
The droning to “PAY THEM!” continues, but it turns to silence once you ask the tougher questions.