Paying the Players: College Football's New Paradigm

Bleacher ReportCorrespondent IJuly 13, 2011

The big discussion coming across the message boards and sports airwaves is should we pay the players and if so how?

Let us address the fact that this is not for every program out there nor does it discriminate against any program. Money walks and the rest continue on with their everyday NCAA lives.

We start with the subject of Title IX. Here is a link to the legal manual on Title IX provided by the Department of Justice.

Now, you can read through the 164 pages detailing all the privileges associated with the amendment or you can just go here to read their simple definition.

It states, "Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 bans sex discrimination in schools receiving federal funds, whether it is in academics or athletics." The majority of Title IX cases filed against K-12 schools involve sex equity in athletic programs.

Basically what you do for a male's sport you must do for a female sport as well.

How do we get around this?


The football program is disbanded. It is reformed under a private ownership outside of the university's and college's athletic departments. These private investors purchase the rights to use preexisting logos, trademarks and namesakes. Licensing on university property rights happens everyday. 

Instead of paying royalties to represent a university through the sales of jerseys the investors want to represent the university through sales of a football team.

The new private entities would be something like the football clubs from the early 20th century. It would even have that local feel. This is accomplished through the leasing of the university stadiums and practice facilities.

Above these club levels are the leagues. Much like the pros there are divisions. And just like the pros there are rules. Fifty-five players to a team, coaching staff sizes and so forth.

Ahhhh, I know what you are thinking, "What about players getting paid extra cash to sign with one team over another?"

Just like the NFL, there is a draft. High school seniors enroll for the draft during the fall of their senior season. And, just like the NFL the talent rises to the top of the pick.

Yes, you have salary caps.

Yes, top players get paid more.

Yes, their is a league minimum.

Yes, their can be trades with caveats.

What are the league maximums and minimums? For the top players no more than $75,000 a year excluding some perks such as jersey sales, etc. League minimum would roughly be the average cost of tuition, plus room and board with a living expense attached for the local university.

Therefore, for those who wish to attend school, they may do so and those who don't can save their money and attend later or never.

Here is the kicker, contractual timelines for a player can be no more than five years and no less than one year. You could actually sign as a top player, but by year two or three, be paid as a minimum player. Agents are not shunned and extracurricular financial activities are accepted.

What about collective bargaining agreements? Okay, what about the next high school "phenom" coming out next year? That guy will replace you on his way to the NFL.

How many teams can be in this league? You be the judge. You could say that only 32, like the NFL, should be involved or you could go higher. Think about the financial viability on this question. Only the top money makers would want to be involved or the Fred Smiths of the world. (Remember he is the founder of FedEx and wanted Memphis in a BCS talks.)

Scheduling would be just like the NFL, even with more teams. You have your regular season games and then you have your playoffs. Just what the doctor ordered. Home games would be the same but maybe adding one or two more game plus playoffs. This would generate more money, as well coupled with a longer and more meaningful season.

What is even better is that you would have, more than not, games against abnormal opponents. Such as Florida against Southern California, Texas versus Penn State, or Oklahoma trying to whoop up on Auburn. 

And, because the clubs play on the campuses the student body along with the alumni and sidewalk fans will continue their support. 

Here is a potential list of teams:

SEC: Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina

Big 12: Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Missouri, Texas Tech, and Kansas State

Big 10: Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan State

ACC: Florida State, Miami, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Clemson, and Georgia Tech

Pac-12: UCLA, USC, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Colorado, and Arizona State

And Notre Dame.

That alone is 36 teams. All of them are not financially profitable. Some are subsidized by student funding and government aid. But that doesn't mean it will not work. It is funny how private investment and for-profit businesses can thrive where non-profits fail.

As far as the programs that wouldn't participate they can live out their existence under the glorious rule of the NCAA. They can have their bowl games and the BCS can be their new friend. However, I don't think the TV ratings or payouts will be that good. But, they will be for the club teams.

Now, I'm sure that there are a few questions you may have concerning this model. Let me have them so I can tighten up this project and forward it onto the Phil Knights and Mark Cubans of the world.

The point being is the possibility of doing this model. This link from Kristi Dosh's website tells more. I haven't fully vetted it but the numbers do seem to correlate to what you may find on CNN, MSNBC or Forbes articles. Her bio does say she is a contributor to Forbes as well as appearing on CSS' Sports Night as "Miss SportsBiz."

It seems there could be some profits there for more than a few schools.


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