Paying College Athletes Could Change the Way You Wager

Jadeveon Clowney
Jadeveon Clowney
South Carolina would benefit greatly from a guy like Clowney getting paid, or would they?

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.

Denard Robinson
How much money would these have generated for 'Shoelace' Robinson?

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.

Alabama Faces Tough Michigan Challenge in Season Opener

In what has to be considered the crown jewel of opening weekend, #2 Alabama squares-off against #8 Michigan at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Saturday night (8:00 PM ET).

The marquee matchup not only offers the chance to see the defending champion during opening week but also the opportunity to see a team that many expect to win the Big Ten this season. For both teams this is sure to be a tough contest.

Nick Saban and Alabama will face a tough first challenge in their bid for a third title in four years.

Having wrestled the title away from LSU in 2011, Alabama opens the season with the crystal football very much in mind. Success this season would mark the Crimson Tide’s third championship in four years and a seventh straight victory for the SEC.

For the team from Tuscaloosa, the biggest challenge this season will be adapting to new faces. With the departure of Trent Richardson, Dont’a Hightower and Mark Barron, Nick Saban will be slotting a fair few new players in on both sides of the football.

Advantageously for Michigan, at least six of these new faces will be on the defense. Having kept teams to an average of 183.6 yards and eight points last season, Alabama was a defensive juggernaut and things look to be the same again this season. Getting the Tide early on in the season means Michigan may be able to take advantage of some defensive inexperience though.

On the offensive side of the football, Eddie Lacy replaces Trent Richardson and his 2,000 yards and 24 touchdowns. Lacy may not be Heismann-material, but his seven touchdowns and 11.9 YPG average – which was actually higher than Richardson ­– demonstrates that he has the potential to do more than just plug the gap.

Meanwhile, Michigan will be looking to recapture the glory of the 2011 season – the first under head coach Brady Hoke – in which the team compiled 11 wins. Not much had been expected of the Wolverines prior to the season, but Hoke’s coaching stirred a fire, and a confidence, in his team.

With the absence of Toussaint, Denard Robinson will handle more of the rushing on Saturday.

The outstanding play of quarterback Denard Robinson – who threw for 2,173-yards, rushed for 1,176-yards, and tallied 36 all-purpose touchdowns – led the team to the Sugar Bowl and a 23-20 win over Virginia Tech. Robinson returns for his Senior season hoping to add a Big Ten championship and National Title to his résumé.

The showdown also offers Michigan the chance to win the Big Ten some important bragging rights. The much-fancied SEC continues to dominate National Championship talk, and with six consecutive championships, why wouldn’t it? But while many bestow the title on the SEC ­­­– or USC for that matter – the Big Ten is quietly becoming one of the best conferences in college football. Five teams reached the AP preseason poll with only the Big 12 and the aforementioned SEC having more representatives (six apiece).

What’s more, a strong showing on the field from Michigan may have a few people looking away from the conference’s torrid offseason towards the action on the gridiron.

Despite its setting and importance to both teams, Alabama enters the game as considerable favorites, with most lines having the Crimson Tide to take the game by two touchdowns. No doubt Michigan’s odds took a tumble when starting running back Fitzgerald Toussaint was suspended for one game on Friday after pleading guilty to drink-driving. With Toussaint off the field, Alabama’s inexperienced defensive corps can focus on the dual-threat of Robinson.

Still, if Robinson can avoid tackles and attack Alabama on the ground, whilst managing some proficient and accurate throws – yes, that’s a lot to ask – the Michigan offense could still be in with a chance.

When all is said and done and the dust settles at Cowboys Stadium, Alabama may well be victorious but the chances are it will come after a much tougher battle than some have anticipated.