Friday, June 3, 2011


Steve Spurrier
The 'Ole Ball Coach' is definitely on to something.

During the Southeastern Conference spring meetings on Wednesday, South Carolina head football coach, Steve Spurrier, proposed that its players should be compensated monetarily for their participation. He stated that the coaches themselves would pay those players who dressed — approximately 70 — $300 a game.

For teams who play 14 games, that would cost each coach around $294,000 per season.

"A bunch of us coaches felt so strongly about it that we would be willing to pay it — 70 guys, 300 bucks a game," Spurrier said Wednesday. "That's only $21,000 a game. I doubt it will get passed, but as coaches in the SEC, we make all the money — as do universities, television — and we need to get more to our players."

I totally agree with Spurrier that college football players should be paid for their services. The only disagreement I have with his plan is, it should be the university who compensates its players, not the coaches.

The schools are the ones banking millions upon millions off these young men's work, they should at least offer compensation for their services. Sure, one can argue that the universities offer scholarships as compensation. But here's the thing ... we live in a little place called 'Reality,' where paying for a car, gas money and rent cannot be accomplished by using a student I.D. card.

Furthermore — if I remember correctly — college is pretty hard work, is it not? Now, couple it with having to practice, work out, study film and play in games.

Yeah, that's a whole lot to ask of a young man, especially when he's doing it essentially for nothing. I just don't see how the current format could be seen as compensation for a job well done.

It's called work for pay, people ... not work for more work. It would be like my publisher compensating me for my columns by paying tuition for a seminar at the Poynter Institute. Could I use the help? Sure ... but I need the money more.

Back to Spurrier's plan ...

I love the idea of paying the players $300 per game. The only problem is, it's only for a maximum of 14 weeks out of the year. That would be $4,200 per player, which comes out to about $350 a month. I don't think that kind of money is going to pay for a car, gas and rent.

I propose that the 120 colleges and universities that make up the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) pay the players on scholarship a $250 weekly stipend. That would come out to $1,000 a month, which would more than help these players with everyday expenses.

With a maximum of 85 players on scholarship at the FBS level, the yearly cost for the university would be approximately $1.1 million. That's a drop in the bucket when compared to the revenue these universities generate from playing football.

Now, I am in no way, shape or form implying that $1,000 a month would prevent players from looking for extra benefits elsewhere. But the excuse that they're broke and had to find a way to pay their bills would be vanquished.

For once, the term "improper benefits" would actually have some validity.

Look, the purpose of my proposal isn't to give those players who have broken the rules validation, or that I feel Ohio State has been wronged by the NCAA.

I'm proposing that these young men get paid for their work because it's the right thing to do.

Nothing more, nothing less.