What price tag should college football players carry?
Well, according to Steve Spurrier, head coach of University of South Carolina's football team, they should get a pretty nice piece of pocket change. Spurrier not only supports a $2000 yearly stipend the NCAA proposed providing for college athletes but also advocates for at least another $1500, ESPN reports.
"We as coaches believe they're entitled to a little more than room, books, board and tuition," Spurrier said.
Spurrier is not alone. Louisiana State University coach Les Miles goes further.
"What we're saying is the revenue-income sports, certainly football," Miles told ESPN, "would need in a possibility of sharing the income that's being produced, paying it back to those guys."
Education Week notes that this scheme (i.e. players receiving payment based on revenue "earned") is illegal. If this were the case, men's basketball and football teams, the most profitable college team sports, would get the lion's share of revenue. Education Week calls this a clear violation of Title IX. Requirements dictate that money would also be awarded to female student athletes whose teams don't return revenue.
The talk of revenue opens a larger conversation, leaving us wondering; is there more to college football than just the revenue it can produce?
In a debate over college football's values hosted by Slate and Intelligence Squared, former college football players Tim Green and Jason Whitlock argued that football unites a school's student body around a common purpose and teaches players valuable lessons in cooperation.
However, authors Malcolm Gladwell and Buzz Bissinger countered that college athletes participate in a game with serious long-term physical effects. Bissinger adds that it exploits players and returns little revenue to the schools that support it.
"The amount of money that coaches make is insulting," Bissinger, the Friday Night Lights author, noted in the debate. "It is insulting when a coach is making five to 10 to 15 times more than a college president. What does it say? What does it say about the priorities of a university? It says that the head coach runs the school."
What do you think? Do you think college football players should be paid a portion of the team's revenue? Or a flat rate as Spurrier suggests? Let us know in the comments section!