The world of sports has long brought people joy, entertainment, pleasure, controversy and even scandal. For example, take the recent scandals of the Ohio State Buckeyes, Cam Newton and most recently the Miami Hurricanes.
But are these programs really to blame?
Instead of pointing fingers at the programs that repeatedly get caught and punished for scandals, the NCAA and media need to look at the college football industry and find a way to fix it.
The fact is this, the NCAA and the college football industry is broken as it stands now, and this has long been the case. If the industry wasn’t broken, there wouldn’t consistently be scandals being turned up.
Take ex-quarterback Terell Pryor and his fellow teammates for example. Pryor was recently ousted out of his position of starting quarterback for the Ohio State Buckeyes because he sold some memorabilia that was signed with his signature.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I used to be completely against these football players taking any other money except for their scholarship money. But this all changed recently when I got into an argument with a friend of mine.
My friend made a valid point when he asked me the following question: “What is the difference between Pryor selling an autograph and an art student selling a painting they made in class?”
I pondered the question for a couple of minutes and came up with what I thought was a valid argument back. “But Pryor and football players are already on scholarship,” I said confident in my response.
But he already had a response for that: “The college football industry is a $1 billion industry, probably more. How much do you think art students make their colleges?”
I was stumped. He had completely changed my opinion of the situation in under five minutes of conversation. He was right, these athletes make their universities a ridiculous amount of money to not get at least a little bit of allowance.
Now, I’m not saying that college football needs to turn into a minor-league NFL. All I am saying is that these kids need to be compensated more than they are now.
Think about it. College football is an industry that makes universities tons of money, yet the kids can’t even sell their autograph?
In the 2009 season, a year that Pryor led the Buckeyes to an 11-2 record including a Rose Bowl victory, Ohio State made $39,515,387.00 on ticket sales alone, according to USA Today. This doesn’t even include the money that the university made from jersey sales and other revenue sources like boosters.
Not only do these football players make the university money, but they also often fund the other athletic programs since they are not as marketable. This is just another reason why the universities need these players, and should give them a little bit of extra money.
In America, we pride ourselves in our capitalistic market. In most business models in industries in this country, if your business goes up in worth and the product quality increases, then your employees get a raise. This is not the case in the college football industry.
The coaches of the game continue to get paid more and more, receiving multi-million dollar contracts, all while the college student-athletes continue to only receive scholarships.
Again, I am not saying the players should earn salaries. But why not give them some of the jersey revenue, or ticket sale revenue? Not an outrageous amount, but maybe in the form of a small weekly allowance. Or if the player is able to sell an autograph for a little extra cash, allow it.
The NCAA has been broken for years now, and it is the reason why these scandals keep happening. If the NCAA would recognize how much money these athletes make for the industry, the would realize that it needs to be fixed in order to fix the industry and stop future scandals. I’m not saying there is one definite way to fix it, all I’m saying is that the NCAA needs to attempt to fix the college football industry.