College Football Needs to Rid Itself of Hypocrites and Pay Players

Kevin ShayContributor IIIDecember 1, 2012

The cloud hanging over Terrelle Pryor for selling memorabilia as a Buckeye would be lifted if college football paid players.
The cloud hanging over Terrelle Pryor for selling memorabilia as a Buckeye would be lifted if college football paid players.Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Many universities, conference and NCAA bigwigs like President Mark Emmert make millions off college football. Look no farther than ESPN's recent $5.6 billion deal to broadcast the college football four-team playoff system that will begin in 2014.

Who do you think gets that money? Hint: It's not the players.

Coaches like Alabama's Nick Saban and Texas' Mack Brown make millions on this gravy train - in fact, they each hauled in $6.2 million in salary and bonuses this year, according to USA Today.

Corporations and business people make millions off college football. ESPN and other TV networks make millions in advertising revenue.

Who doesn't make a cent? The ones who are most at risk of a life-changing injury: the players.

Yet, if a player as much as dares to sell a jersey to make $100 or so in spending money, those NCAA hypocrites making millions off him and fellow players swoop in and put the entire team on sanctions. They don't let poor Rudolph play in their BS games.

The hypocrisy is just mind boggling.

The definition of hypocrisy is thus: The practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one's own behavior does not conform.

These NCAA bigwigs, coaches, conference execs, college presidents, etc. act like they are so concerned about protecting the "integrity" of the game by not allowing players to make even a token amount of money off it. They talk about how much they want "student-athletes" to get an education and go on to make something of themselves.


Then they turn around and sign million-dollar contracts that set them up for life, as well as deals to put Nike swoops on jerseys and corporate names on stadiums.

That's the textbook example of hypocrisy.

College football is to pro football what minor league baseball is to major league baseball.


The difference is one sport's prospects get paid to pay their dues and develop their raw talents, while the other sport's prospects get nothing. Don't try to say they get an education. Players have to spend so much time on the gridiron, it's little wonder that many don't graduate or even attend most classes.

This year's situation with Ohio State brings the issue to a head. Ohio State went undefeated this season, yet doesn't get a chance to play in the top BS game.

Why? Because some players two years ago sold some rings and received tattoos for autographs. The former coach apparently knew about it and looked the other way, even lying about not knowing anything to those NCAA hypocrites asking questions about it.

But instead of coming down just on those involved, the NCAA hypocrites also came down on this year's team and coach, who had nothing to do with the prior situation. So we have one undefeated team sitting home, while a team with one loss plays for that mythical title.

If players at the major universities were paid a token stipend for expenses - say, $30,000 or so a year - they would not be tempted to trade autographs for tats or sell their rings or jerseys just to get a few bucks. If we could admit that Division 1A college football is really minor league pro football, a lot of the hypocrisy could be weaned from the business.


Each university could set what they will pay, though there should be an agreed limit such as $30,000, and that should go to each scholarship player, irregardless of position. Major college basketball players should be paid something similar - Kentucky's John Calipari also pulled in $6.2 million last year.

As for college football getting a true national champion like college basketball does, the four-team playoff that is to begin in 2014 doesn't really cut it. It won't stop the arguments over what four teams should be in those brackets.

Hopefully, teams will not have to wait more than a month for the playoffs to begin so they don't sit around getting rusty.

But the playoff system is a start. Now, the bigwigs have to do the right thing and let players get a token amount of spending money.