Not sure about Kiel and Chris. . .but Spartan's Izzo right on the money
Disclaimer: I told myself I’d never get involved in a quarrel between two former MSU students. . .Don’t even know if they’ll have time to read this between couch burnings and tear-gassings after Saturday night.
That said, I thought I’d chime in on paying college athletes. First off, both Kiel and Chris are right: Players are already getting paid – and taken advantage of. So where should the line be drawn?
MSU coach Tom Izzo had a good quote last week sometime during the tournament, which I thought may shed some light. He said, “Families should be enjoying the incredible moments with these players and sometimes they don’t get the opportunity. I wish there was a way their families could be flown here. I wish there was a way we could pick up their hotel rooms. It’s hard to have those special memories when the most special people in your life aren’t there.”
In Izzo’s case, he’s like to bring the families out in a legit fashion, but can’t because that’s considered a “gift".
It’s true many athlete’s families are getting a little under the table, but some aren’t. The NCAA, a “non-profit organization” will make something like $650 million this tourney and distribute it accordingly to conferences and schools. I agree with their prosecution of booster’s and schools who cheat, but at the same time they’re being quite one-sided with the cash.
But athletics are just a slice of the institution. Currently, many schools already have a hidden fee in tuition that goes towards the athletic department. Last year at Indiana University, tuition was hiked for ALL students to fund the AD’s $2 million dollar defecit – this riding on the heels of a Final Four trip of their own in 2002. If schools like IU can’t keep up now, how will they by paying players?
Also, a big difference between most pro and college games is the price of a ticket. Some games are still affordable to most. If we start paying collegians, it’s safe to say prices will increase.
But at the same time, the NCAA is making a hefty profit on licensing video games and jerseys. If I go out and buy a #4 IU jersey, I’d rather see the money go into Bracey Wright’s hands than Myles Brand, but the school itself deserves most of it. And the fact rules are so stingy as to not let schools bring families to the Final Four without fearing an investigation is downright pitiful. Make the NCAA losen up the rules a little and maybe more players will stay four years, making more money for everyone.
Aside from basketball, I remember in my competitive golf days in high school, we were told not to accept any prizes valued over $15 if we want to keep our “amateur status". This meant if we won a long drive contest or a trophy that was too nice, we couldn’t accept it. To be honest, it seems like having mom and dad take you out to a nice dinner to celebrate, that’s seriously jeopardizing your eligibility. I hope Myles Brand wasn’t hiding in a back booth.
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