Advocacy group says college football players worth over $100K

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Thanks to another round of conference expansion and the start of the 2011 season, the issue of whether college football players should be paid that simmered over the summer has been shoved into the background.

Thanks to an advocacy group, that issue Will Likely be back out front yet again.

The National College Players Association, headed by former UCLA linebacker Ramogi Huma, will release a report Tuesday titled “The Price of Poverty in Big Time College Sport”, which will claim college football players at the Div. 1-A (FBS) level are worth on average $121,000 annually to their respective schools.  At schools such as Texas, that number would swell to over $500,000 a year.

The NCPA came to their conclusion by taking the pro models for revenue sharing and applying it to the collegiate level.

The report, obtained by the Associated Press ahead of its release, will apparently focus on three proposals for paying college football and basketball players:

  • Schools should be required to take revenues and put them into what’s being called an “educational lockbox”, which players could tap into after their eligibility has expired or they’ve graduated.  It’s unclear how this would help the players during their playing careers.
  • Players should be permitted to pursue endorsement deals, with some of the money earmarked for the “lockbox” as well as defraying some of the cost of attending college that a scholarship doesn’t cover.  Speaking of which…
  • Schools should make up the difference between what a schoalrship pays for and the actual cost of attendance.  The report will state that that number falls between $952 to $6,127, depending on the college.

As to the group’s points, the first one will likely never, ever happen, at least with the current group currently occupying the positions of power.  There are far too many hurdles to overcome, first and foremost Title IX compliance, to allow that to come to fruition.  There are also some concerns that, if the students are paid, they would then become university employees, which would open up the college game to unionization.  That’s the last thing the NCAA and school administrators would want.

“Dr. Emmert has been similarly clear that paying student-athletes a salary is in no way on the table,” the NCAA, which has not seen the report, said in a statement.

As to the second point, that likely won’t happen as well but it should, at least to some extent.  There is simply no good reason why players are not paid for their images being used in video games licensed by the NCAA, nor is there any reason why a player should not get a cut from the sale of jerseys with their number on it.

The third solution proposed by the group, has a very good chance of coming to fruition.  At a retreat last month that involved the discussion of myriad issues facing college football, school presidents/chancellors and conference commissioners were among the individuals who tackled the issue of “full cost of attendance“.  While no decision was made, it does appear to be headed in that direction.

Some schools in smaller conferences could, however, buck at such a proposal being enacted due to the costs involved.

The AP writes that “the Committee on Academic Performance is meeting this week to discuss the issue, and will make recommendations to the Division I Board of Directors next month.”

The report will also state that student-athletes — football and basketball players in particular — fall below the poverty line at 85 percent of schools due to the difference between scholarships and actual cost of attendance.

“The NCAA’s definition of amateurism has proven to be priceless to obscenely paid coaches, athletics administrators, and colleges but has inflicted poverty on college athletes,” the report will state.