Sunday, January 07, 2007

Show 'em the money!

At last, some football players who haven't played too many games without their helmets:

Playing in a bowl is no longer reward enough for some college football players: Some Buckeyes and Gators want a cut of the millions being generated by the championship game.

"We all deserve more money," Ohio State senior guard T.J. Downing said. "We're the reason this money's coming in. We're the guys out there sacrificing our bodies. We're taking years off our lives out here hitting each other, and we're not being compensated for it."

...."I've got to admit, sometimes I look in my hand and look in their hand," Florida defensive tackle Joe Cohen said, referring to the Bowl Championship Series. "I believe players should get a little bit more than what they're getting. I don't want to sound like I'm greedy. It's just reality.
"I believe players should be paid, because I'm broke."

Cohen chuckled when he said it, but it's no laughing matter for the NCAA, which has steadfastly maintained that players - or student-athletes, as the association refers to them - are amateurs and cannot be paid. It's right there in Bylaw 2.9 of the NCAA Manual:

"Student participation in intercollegiate athletics is an avocation, and student-athletes should be protected from exploitation by professional and commercial enterprises."

Which is to say, the players can't capitalize on their fame by earning any money endorsing sneakers or energy drinks. Or signing autographs.

....According to the Football Bowl Association, this year's 31 bowl games will generate $210 million for NCAA schools. Over the last six years, bowls have paid schools $900 million, the association said, and it estimates bowl payouts will grow to $2.2 billion over the next 10 years.

The FLUBA has just the consultant for the players in making their case, Harvard economist Robert Barro:

Finally, we come to the NCAA, which has successfully suppressed financial competition in college sports. The NCAA is impressive partly because its limitations on scholarships and other payments to athletes boost the profitability of college sports programs. But even more impressive is the NCAA's ability to maintain the moral high ground. For example, many college basketball players come from poor families and are not sufficiently talented to make it to the National Basketball Assn. Absent the NCAA, such a student would be able to amass significant cash during a college career. With the NCAA in charge, this student remains poor. Nevertheless, the athletic association has managed to convince most people that the evildoers are the schools that violate the rules by attempting to pay athletes rather than the cartel enforcers who keep the student-athletes from getting paid. So given this great balancing act, the NCAA is the clear choice for best monopoly in America.

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