October 7, 2013
Next to the government shutdown, the question of whether or not college football players should be paid is the dominant question today (eclipsing the crisis in Syria), and the biggest one involving sports. And with every scandal involving players being paid under the table, the subject only gets bigger.
Well, it just so happens that I’ve done some personal research, talked with a few people, did some online investigation of financial records, and have some shocking results for all of you that could turn the college football world upside down. And remember, you read it here first.
I discovered that there’s an SEC school that actually pays its players. This university is pretty slick. Unlike the scandals today, this college funnels the money to its players indirectly, not giving out cash or dropping money into secret bank accounts. It doesn’t involve boosters or professional football agents. It doesn’t involve summer employment or campus jobs where no work is done.
But like Edgar Allen Poe’s Inspector Dupin stories, the deed is not hidden, but done in plain sight. That’s how this university has been able to get a lot of college football talent to come through its doors.
Dying to know which school has been involved in this behavior that has often occurred right under our noses? It’s the University of Georgia. But it appears that Auburn University has been doing the same thing. So has my alma mater, Florida State University. Our national champion, the University of Alabama, has engaged in this behavior. If you get right down to it, every school in the SEC, ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac 12 or whatever these conferences call themselves, has done this. Even many mid-majors that they play do it as well.
So what are these schools doing? They are giving tens of thousands of dollars in scholarships to athletes, which pays for their tuition. In some cases, room and board as well as books are covered, even travel to and from the games, and perhaps other amenities I haven’t thought of.
Research of mine has also uncovered evidence from the U.S. Census Bureau that college graduates also earn upwards of a million dollars more on average than those with just a high school diploma. That gap gets bigger when you consider the disparity between those with graduate school degrees and those with just a high school graduation ceremony under their belt, or never finish even that hurdle. And athletes who do well in school are eligible for those degrees as well.
It is amazing how many times during the debate when someone says college players get “nothing.” Well there are hundreds of thousands of hard working players at LaGrange College and other schools like it, or even high schools, who would die to save so much in tuition costs. Some of these same critics also decry the high cost of college. You can’t have it both ways. Either college costs too much, or these athletes are getting a good deal.
Of course there’s millions of dollars floating around college football, and I wouldn’t mind players getting a little spending money of what’s earned via television revenue during the semester, which might alleviate these $1,000 sneaky payments. But to cheapen the value of a college education and to leave that out of the equation is not just misleading. It’s highly inaccurate as well.