For over a decade, college football fans have been clamoring for some sort of playoff system to determine a true national champion and, finally, the powers that be have given in to their wish.
Last week, the NCAA presidents officially approved a four-team playoff system that is set to begin in the 2014 season.
The change comes as the sport is at its peak in popularity. In fact, college football is no longer simply just a sport—it’s now a billion dollar enterprise.
Lucrative television contracts, licensing deals, sponsorships and the like have changed the face of college football forever, and there are now extraordinary profits to be made each and every season.
It seems that the only group that won’t be able to reap the benefits of the tremendous revenue that a new playoff system will potentially provide is the same group that will be providing all of the entertainment—the players.
Although the commissioners got it right by finally instituting a playoff system in college football, there’s still one gigantic issue that has to be resolved, and that’s how to properly compensate the student athletes who are helping to bring in millions upon millions of dollars for their schools each and every year.
The "Should college football players be paid?" issue is one that has been hotly contested and debated in recent years. However, given the recent developments and the potential for the dramatic increase in annual revenue that a playoff system would provide, it seems the time is right for there to be some sort of compensation for the players.
These are young men who are basically putting in the same type of time and effort as their professional athlete counterparts, yet they are still treated as amateurs.
We’ve gotten to a point in major college football where being a football player is a year-round full-time job. Between training, practices, film sessions, road trips, treatments, classes and study halls, there’s simply not much room at all for players to obtain a decent paying job that would provide them with the necessary funds to live a normal college life.
Scholarships and free room and board are obviously a great benefit, but we’ve seen a ton of examples in recent years of young college athletes resorting to drastic measures just to support themselves in everyday life.
That’s why a potential stipend for the players makes so much sense at this point.
Prominent head coaches such as South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier and Texas’ Mack Brown have already endorsed the idea of providing players with a potential stipend. However, there are still some major hurdles that have to be cleared before that happens, as the NCAA would have to approve a plan that’s fair for everybody.
Still, it’s no secret which sports are bringing in the big bucks in college athletics these days. Football and men’s basketball are generating billions of dollars every year, and it’s time to start taking a serious look at a stipend plan for the athletes that are helping to rake in all of that money.
It’s certainly a complicated issue that won’t be easy to resolve, given the imbalance of power and profits between some of the powerhouse revenue generators and the schools whose athletic departments are barely keeping their heads above water in these tough economic times.
Now that college football finally has a playoff, it’s time to move on to the next big issue. Over the next few years, it should definitely be interesting to see how the powers that be tackle the idea of compensating athletes.
These are still so-called amateur athletes who are no longer playing an amateur sport. College football is now a big business, and since that business is about to become a whole lot more profitable, it's time to give the main workers their proper shares.