After hearing of Steve Spurrier bringing a petition around the SEC to pay players $300 a game (and getting a fair number of signatures), I was at first angered by the idea that scholarship athletes are so downtrodden. I decided to take a few days to cool down before responding.
I cannot cool down; the idea is ridiculous.
First of all, it is not as if the players are being forced to be slaves of the school and receive nothing in return; many analysts seem to see this as being the case. Most of the players receive full scholarships that can be valued at up to $40,000 or even $50,000 a year.
Another argument that I cannot stand states that the players cannot have a job because all of their time is devoted to football. This may be true, but everybody needs to be realistic. A college kid is not going to make $40,000 a year working. It won't happen. The football players therefore are doing better without a job than those who have a job (and tuition).
The idea that the reason there is so much corruption in college football is because the players aren't paid is ludicrous. There is corruption in college football because players feel entitled and have no self-control.
I agree that agents need to stop preying on young men; however, said young men need to simply say no. Paying players will not help the problem of players wanting to take stuff from agents. The problem is not that the players so desperately need the gifts that they are receiving. Nobody needs to go to a party in Miami. If the agent was paying a kid's mother's rent, then I would understand. That is not what is happening.
If a party is so tempting that it is not possible to say no, there is a bigger problem than the agents. It's simply that the players need to control themselves. Can we please have some accountability? Stop blaming everything around these men and let them be responsible.
It isn't the NCAA's fault for not paying them, and it's not entirely the agents' fault either. The players are responsible. Let's stop trying to make their job easier and have them just suck it up and say no. It's not that hard.
Finally, though, let's not forget about those that play Division I FCS, Division II and Division III football, and let's not forget other sports such as soccer, baseball, field hockey, lacrosse, swimming and cross country.
Those kids work just as hard as those playing Division I FBS football, but we are not talking about paying them to play. If the problem is they donate all of their time to the game and cannot work, then we should talk about paying them as well.
If Terrelle Pryor is sad because he can't afford a new tattoo, he should go talk to some D-III kids and see what they say. I am sure his problem will be equal to their struggle to pay for school. Pryor can always quit football and go to work if the tattoos are that important; good luck paying for school though.
Instead of babying our star athletes, we should worry about making sure our kids can go to college, 4.3 forty or not.