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Not Everybody’s A-OK With Trying To Pay Players

From the day Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany suggested that his league would like to raise the value of its league’s athletic scholarships, we’ve said that part of the motivation is better recruiting. 

We said the same when other leagues — the SEC included — followed with statements similar to Delany’s.  And we wouldn’t be surprised at all to learn that SEC coaches — like Steve Spurrier who last week suggested players be paid out of coaches’ pockets — go out this fall and tell recruits: “We’re talking about trying to pay players… sign with us now and you might get paid by the time you’re a junior or senior.”  No, that wouldn’t shock us in the least.

But there’s a non-SEC, non-BCS take on paying players and Central Florida athletic director Keith Tribble shared it with Mike Bianchi of The Orlando Sentinel yesterday:

“It’s obvious that those conferences (Big Ten and SEC) have signed very lucrative television contracts that are going to generate a lot of revenue and further the gap between the haves and have-nots.  They are probably in the position to say, ‘We can afford it so why shouldn’t we be able to do it?

I’m a believer that you need to make sure that all of intercollegiate sports (play by the same rules).  Anytime you start creating separate divisions, I think that’s bad.”

If/when the BCS big boys propose to the NCAA that they be allowed to pay players, you can expect the non-BCS schools to offer up the argument Tribble makes.  And for those who say it’s time for the BCS-level schools to simply form their own “league” or division separate from the NCAA, just think about what it would take to make that happen.  Presidents, ADs and coaches from about 65 schools would have to agree on:

1.  Revenue splits
2.  Bowls versus playoff format
3.  A new rulebook
4.  A means of enforcing all rules
5.  A person or persons to run the new league
6.  Etc, etc, etc.

We’re not talking about the CFA where a group of schools banded together to file a lawsuit over television rights.  We’re talking about building a whole new entity from the bottom up.

So roll all that all up and add it to other factors we’ve touted here previously (cost of living differences, players’ tax status, who gets paid and how much) and you’ll understand why we continue to believe college athletes will not be getting big pay raises anytime soon.

Much to the relief of the little guys like UCF’s Tribble.


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