Spurrier’s pay petition meaningless but concept has merits

Steve Spurrier and Nick Saban are among SEC coaches who believe it's time to pay players.

Steve Spurrier and Nick Saban are among SEC coaches who believe it's time to pay players.

Steve Spurrier must have seemed like a seven-year-0ld on a sugar rush at the SEC meetings in Destin as he scrambled to get other coaches to sign up for his pay-the-players plan. But there’s a way to go about this, and a meaningless piece of paper isn’t it.

There are valid arguments on both sides of the pay-for-play issue. The “don’t pay:” Student athletes already receive a valuable scholarship. The “pay”: The dollars in college athletics and contradictory messages from the NCAA have grown out of proportion relative to the concept of amateur athletics. Therefore, it’s time for the athletes to share in the wealth.

My view is somewhere in the middle: I’m certainly not for handing football players $300 paychecks every game, as Spurrier is proposing. Finding a fair and workable salary system that fits into Title IX regulations would be nearly impossible. But I do think it’s time to look into giving student-athletes a small percentage of the peripheral income that a university’s athletic department makes off a a team or player’s name, whether that’s the sale of jerseys, T-shirts or video games.

Georgia coach Mark Richt put it best when he told our Chip Towers: “The spirit of wanting to get more financial help for our players is unanimous. But how to go about it, I’m saying that wouldn’t necessarily be the best way to do it. I didn’t sign [Spurrier's proposal] because I didn’t want to say that’s how I felt was the best way to get it done. … In no way shape or form was I saying I didn’t want to help student-athletes. I 100 percent do. … But how do you do it without hurting amateurism? How do you do it without tax implications? Maybe it’s through the scholarship becoming more valuable.”

Finally, let me add this: A sweeping change like this is not going to made because Steve Spurrier got Houston Nutt and Nick Saban – the biggest oversigning abusers — to sign his little petition. Nor is it up to the SEC, the Big Ten or any other conference. This is an NCAA decision.

But I’m happy for Spurrier that he’s so excited about this and was able to hold court with the ravenous media in a hotel lobby. Guess it beats answering questions about Stephen Garcia.

What are your thoughts on pay-for-play in some form to college athletes?

By Jeff Schultz

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC; friend me at Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

264 comments Add your comment

crush

June 2nd, 2011
10:55 am

Spurrier Rules.

P-Man

June 2nd, 2011
10:59 am

P-Man

June 2nd, 2011
10:59 am

Too late. Read the article first… Big mistake…

P-Man

June 2nd, 2011
11:01 am

I believe this is all a ruse to separate the haves (the BCS conferences) from the have-nots (the non-BCS conferences). The haves will end up in their own division above the FBS, and will all have conference championship games, thus setting up a de-facto (you sportswriters LOVE using that term!) playoff. You simply take the 6 conference champions, add 2 at-large teams (Notre Dame or BYU anyone?), and bam, you have an 8-team playoff (actually 12, but who’s counting?). They might also take a few teams with them, and create 8 conferences and have an actual 16 team playoff, with the conference championship games being the first round (and deciding seeding). With 6 conferences, you have 72 teams, plus independents, with 8 conferences, you could have 96 teams, assuming each conference has 12 teams.

RxDawg

June 2nd, 2011
11:03 am

Makes sense to me. Be damned to Title IX. That ridiculous rule needs to be retracted or very much adjusted at the least.

RxDawg

June 2nd, 2011
11:06 am

Makes sense to me. To heck with Title IX. They can abolish that silly rule as far as I’m concerned. Who the heck says there HAS to be as many female athletes as male? I really hate all this PC affirmative action crap. Biggest bureaucratic waste…. so much waste these days in everything. So much over regulation.

Paul H

June 2nd, 2011
11:10 am

If it reduces the behind the scenes infractions (see anything regarding Ohio State), then I’m all for it. How to go about it? Not sure yet.

Samual Adams

June 2nd, 2011
11:16 am

I thought coaches already paid players out of their pocket…what’s new?

Steve

June 2nd, 2011
11:18 am

I like that Spurrier made a proposal in a media rich environment that will spawn discussion. Comparing this small $300 amount to what the coaches make is a good illustration of the disparity between the generators and beneficiaries of the money college football produces.

DawginLex

June 2nd, 2011
11:18 am

Spurrier has sold his soul.

Pay players.
Give Garcia another chance for the 5th time for the sake of winning at all costs.

I thought he was the son of a minister and should know better.

Top Dawg

June 2nd, 2011
11:19 am

It’s a free world (free market too). If the players don’t like it as is, then they should not play. Otherwise, where does it stop? How about the non-athlete students that are flat broke and still have to find a way to attend class, pay for tuition, books, lodging, etc.??? How much should they get per game? That said, I don’t have a problem with CMR’s concept of finding a way to make the scholarship more valuable.

PMC

June 2nd, 2011
11:22 am

I’m for college athletes being able to trade on thier names and likenesses, that means video games and college bookstores will have to pay them royalties.

This is for everyone men and women, any sport. So skiiers get paid, Women’s Basketball etc.

If there’s no name but the players number likeness or attributes are attached, pay them a royalty.

Chi Town

June 2nd, 2011
11:23 am

Respect Saban.

Crumpy frisky in Greece.

PMC

June 2nd, 2011
11:23 am

Not to mention, If the local subway wants you to endorse their sandwiches…you can.

yep

June 2nd, 2011
11:23 am

Enter your comments here

Julius

June 2nd, 2011
11:23 am

So, Richt wants to make the degree more valuable? How about not hiding football players in useless majors, such as general studies? Maybe then the players that do not make the NFL (vast majority) can get a decent job after leaving uga. I’m not sure paying players is a good idea as they already get a scholarship, a NICE place to live, and free food. One idea may be to set aside additional student loan money for the athletes that are not able to work part time. Then, arrange for players that are successful in the NFL to donate for the loans that the players that did not make it. Of course, those players that “graduate” from uga and the like will not be able to secure decent employment.

yep

June 2nd, 2011
11:25 am

is oversigning against the rules?

Julius

June 2nd, 2011
11:25 am

The players are also given a unique opportunity for free expert coaching, mentoring, and the ability to audition their talents on television.

DIT

June 2nd, 2011
11:26 am

Just my opinion, but if you start paying the players on top of a free education your just opening up a big can of worms from the Students that have to go get a job, if not several jobs, just to pay for living costs (not tuition) for the year.
It seems like it’s all about the athletes now a days and forget about the students. For the most part these football players are not going to be running our country down the road. We need to make it easier for the Academic students looking to earn a degree for the future. Give them some incentives if you’re going to pay for athletes to play a game.
This comes from a guy that had a full ride to play baseball. I have no problem with scholarships to pay for an education, but beyond that is opening up a huge Pandora’s Box! Again, just my opinion!

Russ, the Temporary Mascot

June 2nd, 2011
11:28 am

Sometimes when Coach Richt talks I think he’s not very smart . . . but what do I know, I’m a dog. Still, it looks like he could stand for something on his own and not worry so much about what others think before he decides. That’s kinda like a politician, don’t you think? I am going to spend more time with Coach Richt and see if I can help him become a little smarter.

GT Trumpet

June 2nd, 2011
11:30 am

I feel like the scholarship is all the schools should give the players, along with the free things they get for being on the football team (Bowl swag and such). But allow the players to get money for being in a multi-million dollar video game and able to make endorsements. That may help out quite a bit.

Russ, the Temporary Mascot

June 2nd, 2011
11:31 am

Not being able to use the phone in his truck has really made Coach Richt grumpy. I think he doesn’t like having somebody tell him what phone he can use and when he can use it. I have a Blackberry and I use it whenever I like. Sometimes I’ll get a message from a player asking if I can come up with some bail money. Mostly, they just want me to hang out with them and party.

5150 UOAD

June 2nd, 2011
11:31 am

RxDawg
You would be saying something different if you didn’t have a penis. Having Sisters I think they should have as much a chance at getting an athletic scholarship as much as a guy.

The NAME on the Back of the jersey chances every few years so no the players should not get paid because their name is on the back for a few years. The NAME on the Jersey that matters is the one on the FRONT. The FACT is if there were No FOOTBALL the Colleges would still exist, but if there were No COLLEGES there would be no football. Read todays article on Coach Hall at Tech and what he tells the players about their education.
The SEC wants to pay players so it can widen the gap over football teams. The SEC Loves the BCS because they don’t want to risk losing in a playoff.
If the players don’t like playing and not getting paid then they can always go do something else. Most could be drug dealers or Meth heads, or garbagemen. Most will not get a usable degree anyway. The players get the best facilities to use. They get better food than the rest of the students. They get better tutoring. They have doctors to check every little bump and bruise too. When Athletic departments have the money like UGA and Texas then much of that money should go into the Academic side to lower the cost to ALL students or Pay the Professors more again helping ALL the students not just the athletes.
Why not just SELL college football to private companies and then the players don’t have to go to school they just play minor league ball for 4 years before they can go to the NFL. The Teams will not be part of the school. The new company will pay the college to use the Facilities and work around STUDENT Athletes schedule’s but the players will not have to be enrolled in classes to play or even pass to keep playing.
SCREW the players getting paid. If they want to get paid then they can go get a 9-5 job like the rest of us.

booger burger

June 2nd, 2011
11:34 am

300 per game
+100/-100 per fumble
+100/-100 per int

DIT

June 2nd, 2011
11:34 am

One of the few times I agree for the most part with 5150 UOAD

Buckeye

June 2nd, 2011
11:37 am

Perhaps some good will come of the mess – not just in Columbus – but in most colleges and universities where some kids come from backgrounds where the parent(s) don’t have two nickles to rub together.

Say what you will about Jim Tressel. At least the “pay for play” debate is once again front and center. Spurrier is no dummy. He’s has seen it all in the world of college football over a long period of time. I respect him for literally putting his money where his mouth is.

I could see some sort of needs-based test to provide additional walking around money. That said,
we still live in deteriorating rap/bling/tatt/twitter culture where money rules.As Fergie and the Black Eyed Peas sing, “If you ain’t got no money take your broke ass home”. America is broke, the middle class is broke, the poor get poorer while the big time coaches make millions – and I say good for them.

No wonder the attitude of “I’m gonna get me mine” is so prevelent. For so many of these kids, athletics is the only way out and up.

And shame on us who glorify only to villify.

SOGADOG

June 2nd, 2011
11:40 am

An interesting case is brewing in California that could affect the treatment of college athletes. Sam Keller, a QB for Az. State and Nebraska has sued the NCAA and EA Sports for using his likeness in “NCAA Football” video games without compensating him. Keller claims the NCAA met with EA approved their use of college football players likenesses in their video games. (This is the same NCAA that prohibits a player from selling a t shirt.) The precedent that comes from this case could have far reaching effects and result in players having the right to be paid for the use of their likeness or the sale of their jerseys. So far, Keller is winning his case.

DawginLex

June 2nd, 2011
11:42 am

Buckeye, you are allright.

Must be that part of you that went to Vandy shining through………….

cahopkins

June 2nd, 2011
11:44 am

Will all athletes in college be paid; track, tennis, golf, softball, swimming…..does each get $300 per event?

Doo Rag

June 2nd, 2011
11:44 am

If CFB just becomes a AAA farm club to the NFL then you can kiss it good bye. The “spirit” of CFB is what separates it from the NFL. I see a lot of empty seats at Coolray Field.

Let the athletes that don’t think a scholarship “as is” is good enough for them just pay their way as every other student does.

Hillbilly Deluxe

June 2nd, 2011
11:45 am

What are your thoughts on pay-for-play in some form to college athletes?

Division 1 College football is just a minor league system for the NFL. It’s long past time to give the players a slice of the pie. Reckon how much UGA made off Herschel? A lot more than the price of his scholarship I’ll bet and what if he’d suffered a career ending injury while he was still there?

money talks

June 2nd, 2011
11:46 am

The players should get a lot more than $300 per game. That’s chump change for all the millions they bring in for the universities. At the big schools like Georgia, Alabama and Florida, players should get paid a lot more–at least $2,000 per game. At smaller schools, they can pay them $500-$1,000 per game.

Redneck Spokesman

June 2nd, 2011
11:46 am

when we gonna get some help? this tornado insurance on our trailers has gone out of sight and most of us is just a payday away from being pore white trash and illegals rates higher than us

Jeff Schultz

June 2nd, 2011
11:47 am

RXDawg — “Be damned to Title IX”
… Hah. I’ll pass your sentiments along to the Supreme Court.

PS49

June 2nd, 2011
11:48 am

Spurrier is one of the two leaders of this group of SEC coaches, Saban is the other leader. Another fine example of Spurrier’s brilliance, just a simple solution that would work, wouldn’t come out of anyone’s budget, and would only need the approval of 12 guys. An elegant solution like that would never be accepted by the powers that be, because they didn’t come up with and they want something more complex that takes years to act on. Richt saort of looks like a granfather figure in these meetings, old and out of touch, and not open to new ideas.

Rip Van Winkle

June 2nd, 2011
11:48 am

Wait a second, when I went to sleep 31 years ago we were payin Hershel a bunch to tote the rock.

juvenal

June 2nd, 2011
11:49 am

do like the olympics did-let the ones who can have corporate “sponsors”…..

Eddie

June 2nd, 2011
11:50 am

I don’t think it’s a good idea. I think paying players would create a whole new set of problems that would take us into a much dangerous, corrupt place.

All students who achieve greatness at their University generate revenue for that school … whether your an athlete or are named a Rhodes Scholar. The University provides you the environment to showcase your talents. In return, the school is elevated by being associated with a place where students thrive and help change the world in some way. This elevation in perception equates to money for the school. The student is then able to leverage that same accomplishment for their benefit outside the institution (job in a lab, corporation or professional football team). The system works.

The problem is that Football and other major sports generate SO MUCH money that most people feel that some sort of action must be taken. It’s like when Oil companies post their revenues and politician go nuts saying that they should forfeit some of those profits.

I just don’t think that’s right. Student athletes are given an incredible opportunity … they play on a grand stage and when they do well, they have incredible opportunities and the University also benefits. If that athlete does something wrong, the University also suffers the consequences, which negatively impacts revenues.

It’s not fair to focus on how much money the University is able to capture from it’s programs … A University has a responsibility to create an environment where young people can come in, learn and create opportunities for themselves in the “real world.” The system isn’t perfect, but it’s the best one going.

mgdawg

June 2nd, 2011
11:50 am

Do people really think this will stop the behind the scenes giving from boosters? Alot of these kids will get as much as they can get, 300 will just be a nice little bonus. As I put on another article, I don’t think people understand what all these kids get at big D1 schools. Free education is only the start, free room and board, free food (this is good food, I knew a guy that was a football player and every thursday was steak and crab leg day), free tutoring, free college apparel, etc. You can easily live off of what you get with an athletic scholarship.

Jeff Schultz

June 2nd, 2011
11:50 am

Cahopkings — “Will all athletes in college be paid; track, tennis, golf, softball, swimming…..does each get $300 per event?”
…. Bingo. That’s why this won’t fly.

Texas Pete

June 2nd, 2011
11:52 am

I don’t understand all the “what about the regular students” comments. Student-athletes getting paid has nothing to do with regular students passing their classes. Buncha hypocrits on this blog. People are all about free market principles until it benefits someone else…

Let’s apply this newfound socialism of “what about the regular students” to all walks of life. Business executives need to stop getting paid so much and let that excess trickle down to the staff employees. After all, what about the staff employee struggling to make ends meet?

DawginLex

June 2nd, 2011
11:52 am

The paper trail on Spurrier’s idea would be a nightmare.

It might create a bunch more useless jobs in the NCAA Clearinghouse so there is that going for it.

Brad

June 2nd, 2011
11:53 am

How about giving students a percentage of revenue from t-shirt sales, tv contracts, etc., to be set aside in trust until the student is no longer playing college ball? That way they benefit from what they have contributed, but not until they are no longer “amateurs”.

Jeff Schultz

June 2nd, 2011
11:53 am

Russ, The Temporary Mascot — What an unexpected honor to hear from you in the offseason.

PS49

June 2nd, 2011
11:56 am

Football players make 80% of all income for athletic programs, so they should be comepnsated in some way, above the way other kids in other sprots programs get scholarships, for their bottom line contribution.

Football produces 100x more income than golf, but players in both sports get paid the same (scholarship).

This is not fair.

Cam Newton

June 2nd, 2011
11:57 am

-hit, Rip, nothing’s changed. Go back to sleep.

retired

June 2nd, 2011
11:58 am

NO NO NO NO each scholarship is worth thousands of dollars and the students get to showcase there skills for the pro $$$$ It is a line we do not need to cross. NO NO hell NO!

Rip Van Winkle

June 2nd, 2011
11:58 am

PS49

100X? Golf generates a big fat 0 and there would be no golf without the football dollars.

Rip Van Winkle

June 2nd, 2011
11:59 am

Thanks Cammy Cam. Did you drive Hershels retro Firebird?

blue devils

June 2nd, 2011
12:01 pm

let’s see, room, board, fees, classes, books all paid for. First class health care (that no one can afford), clothes by first class sports clothing outfit, tutors, and travel opportunities(okay sometimes not fancy – see starkville). Why do they need more money? If they don’t like it then don’t sign the scholarship and get a real job……They are taking up spots that could have been filled by folks with higher GPAs and higher SAT/ACT scores that would have loved to attend these colleges and get degrees…..