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Do College Football Players Deserve to be Paid? Here's How to Find Out

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 09:  Nick Gentry #58 and the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrate after defeating Louisiana State University Tigers in the 2012 Allstate BCS National Championship Game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 9, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Alabama  won the game by a score of 21-0.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
David DeRyderCorrespondent IFebruary 16, 2012

I wish I had the email address of every college football player playing for a national powerhouse. If I did, I could make the debate of whether college football players should be paid or not history.

The solution is simple. Next December, after the BCS Bowl participants are announced, the players should threaten to boycott the games. If they did that, amateurism would be over.

The debate over paying college athletes seems complex. There are a multitude of arguments on each side. In reality, it is painfully simple. The reality of our capitalistic culture is this: Those who create value will be paid.

Fast-forward to the end of the 2012 college football season. Considering recent history, it is safe to assume that there will be a controversial fight for the right to play for the national championship.

The other four bowl games will feature high-profile teams and generate excitement in their own right. It will be like any other season, fans will count down the inordinately long time between the finale of the NCAA's regular season and the BCS bowls.

But wait, a few days after the matchups have been announced, the players from the participating teams should make an declaration. They will not play the bowl games unless they are paid.

Purists would decry the death of amateurism. Fans of the schools involved would criticize their players for being selfish. But you know what else would happen? The players would get paid.

The BCS bowl games are big business. Every game has a corporate sponsor. The networks who televise the games makes millions of dollars selling ad time. In short, they make too much money for them not to be played.

Sure, after the players made such a stance there would be an outcry. Universities might threaten to rescind scholarships. Fans would be furious. It would seem like a public relations disaster for the players.

When hope seemed to be lost, an unlikely savior would emerge for the players, the corporations.

Would companies pay the same advertising rates for a January prime-time slot airing something other than a BCS bowl? Of course not. Would Tostitos let the Fiesta Bowl take their money without playing the game? Of course not.

Inevitably the pressure would build on the universities involved, the networks airing the games and the bowls themselves. Too much money is at stake. The players would have to be paid.

In an ideal world, every college football player would understand this. The schools are not doing them a favor. They generate hundreds of millions of dollars. In return they get a free education. While education costs are rising, they represent a fraction of these athletes' worth.

If I had the email address of every big program football player, I would tell them to sit out next year's BCS bowls. You can argue the merits of amateur sports until your face turns blue, but the fact remains that these players are responsible for a windfall in revenue.

They are entitled to their fair share.

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