The discussion over whether or not to play college athletes has gone on for a decade or more now, but only in the last year has the seriousness of such a thing really become a hot button issue. The idea of the student-athlete really doesn’t apply the way it did 50 years ago in my opinion especially in the big money sports of college football and college basketball.
Those two departments account for nearly all of an athletic department’s budget with some exceptions. If you have ever wondered why FBS schools keep scheduling seven and even eight home games, your answer is money. Take for example Michigan and Tennessee. Both schools have football stadiums that hold well over 100,000 people on any given Saturday in the fall.
Both have also seen their share of ups and downs over the last 10 years. The fact that both schools have good football traditions is notwithstanding, because the issue is about success now, not then. If either of those schools fail to fill their stadiums then that is a significant loss not just for the university, but for the other athletic departments as well.
Back to the topic at hand… 50 years ago, student-athletes were paid for playing in the form of full scholarships which paid their tuition, room and board, books and anything else academically related. In their infinite wisdom, the NCAA decided to impose some of the most archaic and ridiculous rules known to collegiate existence. For example, your teammate’s parents come to town for a game and invite you out to dinner with them. Uh-oh! The NCAA says it would be a violation for you to have your dinner paid for by them. And since you aren’t allowed to have a job, you have little spending money.
Of course the bigger issue is the money these athletes bring in on their own name, errrrrrr, number I should say. In 2011, the President of the NCAA put the hammer down on any thought of players making money on their own jersey selling. Can you imagine if Michigan’s Denard Robinson was getting even a percentage of those sales? Or Robert Griffin III for example? The issue is of course equality. A left guard at Eastern Washington probably isn’t going to sell too many jerseys but why can’t that money from one or two players be divided up amongst the whole team?
If players do ever end ujp getting paid or a ‘stipend’ as many like to call it, it will no doubt make you wager differently on Saturdays. You will need to pay closer attention to the injury reports because there is not doubt in my mind that any form of payment would be tied to games played or games dressed for if you follow NCAA logic.
I think it would also behoove you to pay close attention to top players around the country especially those on offense. Knowing that football players cannot leave until after three years removed from high school, will getting paid have an impact on their performance both early in their careers and late?
There was a lot of discussion about South Carolina’s Jadevon Clowney skipping his junior (and most likely final) season in order to avoid injury. He’s expected to be the top pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. If you think he is the only one thinking that then you’re crazy. While I fully expect Clowney to play this fall, will he be totally focused on the task at hand? Or will he throttle himself down in an effort not to get hurt?
Whether we like it or not, college football is changing and it will continue. You have to keep pace by monitoring these changes and how they could potentially affect your wagering decisions.