Archive for June 22nd, 2011
On a previous article we posted at our sports betting blog, we had mentioned that the NCAA was working on some sort of contingency plan to try to keep Division I sports at an amateur level. NCAA President Mark Emmert doesn’t believe colleges should pay athletes, and he wants university leaders to help him. Emmert announced he would hold a two-day retreat with about 50 school presidents or chancellors to discuss the future of Division I sports. The meeting is scheduled for Aug. 9-10.
Perhaps the main issue here is that every day it becomes more evident that college sports are not really as amateur as the organization that rules them all would like them (or at least make us believe) to be. Perhaps the only reason why we understand college sports as amateur is because of the fact that there are two bigger and professional leagues, the NFL and the NBA, that use this 4 year program as a filter to bring out the best of the best in a yearly multimillion dollar draft. That exclusion is in appearance the mayor distinction between both. Until you consider the money factor.
Truth is, that the educational component to College Football, and by extension we could add, College Basketball, is almost a non-factor. If we semantically consider amateur back in its original classical Latin, the word meant lover. Now its understood as something that is done for the love of it, and not for money. I can‘t help but to feel that the only thing that is left at an amateur level in college sports is that despite all the profit that it is been made by the schools, the coaches, the conferences and even the association in terms of ticket sale, advertising, sponsorship packages and television rights… it is the players, the guys who actually risk their health in the court or the field to make this such an entertaining commodity are the only ones who are not making a dime.
And yet, when if by one reason or another, a player manages to make a little extra cash for himself, he usually ends up having to deal with a big lot of trouble. And here is where it all get’s interesting. According to a researched made by the Associated Press, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany was the highest paid, receiving total compensation valued at $1.6 million, followed by Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner John Swofford ($1.1 million), Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive ($1 million) and Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe ($997,000). The other two commissioners each started in July 2009, so their compensation figures are only for the last six months of the year: PAC-10′s Larry Scott ($735,000), and Big East’s John Marinatto ($366,000).
That’s certainly much more than what the average college president makes. I’m not interested in arguing whether the conference commissioners deserve such a salary, or if that money could better be used in funding other academic proyects, since at the end, Colleges are supposed to be a place to develop the most brilliant minds of generations to come, not the best athletes. But then, we would have to consider how much easier it is to find funding for the Oklahoma University football team then for the linguistics department that explores the native tongue of the natives that once lived where the institution now stands. But that’s a whole different story.
What we know as a fact is that the average annual pay of presidents of the United State’s largest research universities was $760,774 in 2008. I guess they could have been better off working for the Conferences. It is got to be a really hard task to enforce amateurism among college athletes when this is the kind of salaries that those in charge of keeping things amateur make.
Don’t even get me started on how much coaches make. Texas coach Mack Brown, for instance, makes around $5 million, while Alabama coach Nick Saban earns $4.7 million. That is a lot of scholarships if you ask me. But hey, on the other hand, Ohio State coach Jim Tressel and star QB Terrelle Pryor both left the school this spring in the wake of revelations that Pryor and other players sold memorabilia for cash and tattoos. Tressel was only trying to cover up for his players. He got fired anyway. Perhaps he felt a little guilty that he was picking up a 7 figure salary while his players weren’t making anything but a free education which is a big deal considering what it costs, but a meaningless fraction of what the schools and the football organization make out of their talents and efforts.