The Student-Athlete Paradox

By Kyle Lamb on May 8, 2012 at 10:00a
Worship the grail of the student-athlete

What, pray tell, is a student-athlete anyhow? Does it differ from an athlete-student? Nearest we can tell, it's nothing more than a buzzword the NCAA has created to deflect other prejudicial terms such as "employee," "business," and "injunction."

Justice Potter Stewart said in 1964 in his opinion of Jacobellis v. Ohio that he could not define pornography, but "I know it when I see it." To be perfectly honest, I cannot define student-athlete, but I know a rat when I smell it.

The NCAA, which is nothing more than a self-policing organization made up of university presidents and several smaller governing councils, has essentially been operating a cartel that protects itself from antitrust implications, paying labor to unpaid interns and operates as a tax-free shelter. It's all cleverly done using these carefully selected buzzword to serve the IRS purpose of functioning as "primarily educational."

Whether you're sympathetic to these unpaid athletes, or you think they should pipe down and be happy they're getting a free education, I think we've reached a point of mutiny in agreeing there is some level of exploitation at work. From the beer-guzzling, foam-finger-waving tailgaters to the white collar, wine-and-cheese crowd, the cartel has been receiving a rash of unwanted publicity. 

While the problems are many, the solutions seem to be elusive -- at least to those in power. The decision-making bodies don't see a problem for reasons I'll explain later. 

This past week, H.G. "Buzz" Bissinger, most known for authoring New York Times bestseller, Friday Night Lights, offered the granddaddy of all solutions: eliminate college football entirely.

Bissinger concluded in a Wall Street Journal column that college football simply interferes with the mission of higher learning. He believes that subsidizing athletics is a waste of resources, and further makes a mockery of academics. 

I admit that when I want insightful football commentary, the WSJ isn't typically the first place I turn. When it comes to finance, however, I raise the bar just a little bit. I expected more of a well-reasoned response.

It could be this is merely a play for clicks. Perhaps it was a trial balloon concocted in an Upper East Side Manhattan nightclub over a cosmopolitan while listening to a friend regale his story of how he made it big in the 1990's dot-com bubble. That would be ideal, as it gives Bissinger an alibi for his sanctimony and he's not as crotchety as he purports himself to be. The scathing tone is a living caricature of Bobby Boucher's mama from The Waterboy.

"Fool's ball...bunch o' overgrown monsters manhandling each otha." 

No sir; fool's ball's not the devil. 

He surmises, on a false premise no less, institutions are robbing Peter of his hard-earned collegiate fund to pay Paul, who's pursuing a dead-end athletic career. If anyone is being robbed by the student-athlete scam, it's the athletes who are being deprived of access to the free market. 

Most Division I athletic departments operate as auxilary organizations under the university umbrella with separate accounting structures. They're essentially non-profit organizations, complete with the do-gooder sentimentality and propaganda buzzwords. Like any NPO, there technically are no shareholders; no wealthy venture capitalists realizing a return on investment. But like any good cartel, a select group is running the show and making a pretty penny in the process.

These departments make money in two forms: general and allocated revenue. The lion's share of the money is earned from ticket sales (30.4% for Ohio State in 2009-10), booster donations (22.1%) and conference payouts (19.4%) which include NCAA Tournament revenue, bowl payout and television rights fees. Parking, concessions, marketing, licensing and sports camps are also part of general revenue, which comprises roughly 75-80 percent of the revenue stream for FBS institutions. 

It's allocated revenues that seem to be the the cause of common misconceptions about athletics finances, and also the source of Bissinger's vitriol. 

Simply, allocated revenue is money from an institution or government entity that is ongoing. The NCAA Revenues & Expenses report for 2011 show that in 2009-10, the median institutional support received was $2.2 million for public universities and nearly $11 mil for private schools. That seems like prima facie evidence of Bissinger's gripe, but wait... there's more! 

The NCAA report also shows that 68 of 120 schools turned a 'profit' in 2010. Profit is a misleading term, as no one is actually realizing the profits, so we'll aptly call it a surplus. On the other hand, a 2010 article by the AP reported only 14 universities made money. The difference has everything to do with counting or not counting institutional support as revenue. It's fancy accounting magic.

You might think it's intuitive not to count institutional support to determine whether athletics are self-sufficient. The problem is they spend the money on the expense side of the ledger knowing it's money they'll have in revenue, except it won't actually count as revenue. Neat trick, huh? Say you have a $300 surplus in your personal budget then add on a $400 car payment on the expectation you'll have $500 coming from a new roommate. By the NCAA accounting standards, you're losing money since you're now $100 in the hole. 

Many schools that do have a surplus wind up returning all or most to the university. Some schools, like Ohio State, receive no consistent revenue from the university and are almost entirely self-sufficient. However, of great importance to Bissinger's draconian measure is that football and men's basketball must fund almost the entire athletic department. Data from the Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act show OSU reported nearly $80 million in revenue for 2010 from those two sports combined. 

That money, combined with the rest of the revenue, must cover salaries of athletics personnel, pay for the costs of travel and assistance for over 500 athletes and provide for overhead and facilities' maintenence. Because of Title IX, money spent on men's sports must be spent equally or greater on women's sports, although there are many tricks-of-the-trade for fudging those numbers; but that's another story for another day. 

Using his narrative, another B1G institution, Minnesota, flushed $2.9 million down the toilet in 2010 with institutional support. What he doesn't consider is that someone is footing the bill for the cost of these scholarships. Universities aren't just letting athletes come into lecture halls free of charge. Athletics are covering the cost of these scholarships for the athletes that might not otherwise attend the university. As such, the Golden Gophers cut a check back to the university for $8.7 million to cover grants-in-aid. 

And there may be indirect perks, too.

One 1992 study at Western Kentucky University found that spikes in enrollment were actually tied to the success of its football and men's basketball program. The report found that simply going .500 over the previous two seasons in basketball, over zero wins, and making a postseason appearance in football, was worth a combined 1,200 additional students. 

The National Center for Education Statistics shows WKU currently has an in-state tuition of $7,200 and out-of-state cost at $16,151. With an 82 percent in-state enrollment, that's a proportional increase of $10.6 million for additional tuition assuming those extra thousand bodies arriving on account of athletics. That certainly mitigates their spending $7.7 mil in 2010 on support, while receiving back only $5.4 mil in tuition payments. 

Some studies have even suggested that annual giving to the university increases on account of athletics. Though few studies have been able to tie that into actual success, a Master's Thesis by Auburn graduate Christopher Whaley in 2006 found football alone was worth an average of $3.3 million in additional donations. The study was based on a regression model from 2004 that examined 657 total universities. No clarification in the study on how much the Auburn football players were able to solicit from donors (*zing*).

The student-athlete charade certainly exists, but it's hard to accept Bissinger's postulation that athletics deter from the academic mission. Instead, the anger needs to be redirected at the cartel. 

Practically speaking, athletics are run by presidents, conference commissioners and athletic directors. The bowl executives also have balls in a sling, but they're akin to the slimy street agents involved in recruiting. 

Last year, the NCAA had 171,575 proud Division I "student-athletes." Somewhere in the neighborhood of 80,000 of them were on full or partial scholarships. Over 340 institutions combined on a reported $6 billion in general revenue. About $1.7 billion was paid back to those 80,000 athletes ($21,250 per student). 

That's a nice slice of pie. It sure isn't the Betty Crocker that the cartel received. 

A review of Form 990 tax returns for 27 of the 31 major conferences revealed $10.1 million spent on the salaries of those 27 conference commissioners. That's $375,601 per commish. 

Data combined from USA Today's athletic director salary database, NADA's salary survey's and other published reports show over $110 million earned for 343 athletic directors. That's over $320,000 per A.D.

Finally, data compiled from EADA disclosures for 2010 show that a total of $545,916,942 was spent on 2,447 head coaches of male sports at Division I universities. Thats $223,096 per coach. 

Collectively, these three positions combined for over $665 million paid to less than 3,000 individuals ($236,364) or more than 11 times the money being spent for each 'student-athlete.' 

These are the people that continually vote to maintain the student-athlete illusion. Exploitation for personal gain? This must be how Dora the Explorer feels. The truth is that Disney and Viacom have nothing on the NCAA and its hyphenated wordplay. Student-athlete may ultimately be a euphemism for player, but the players are getting played. 

Despite the saturation of emphasis on Division I athletics, the athletes are ultimately creating a lot of brand identity for universities. That marketing only advances, not detracts, from the academic mission. In the process, thousands of athletes are given a shot at secondary eduction that otherwise would not. Taking away football is not just punishment for the select players using college football as a stepping stone to the NFL, it's also a death sentence to thousands of athletes that depend on FBS revenue to further their education. 

So let's revisit the definition of student-athlete, shall we? Responsible for a multi-billion dollar industry; often exploited, while willingly screwed; easily blamed; young and people pay to watch. I suppose Justice Stewart was correct...we do know pornography when we see it. 



Comments Show All Comments

pcon258's picture

im definitely thinking that this would have been a DJ article had he still been here....great article though kyle, this is a well done extensive piece that does justice to a pretty wide ranging topic

buckeyeEddie27's picture

^ this. 

I know there's a game Saturday, and my ass will be there.

Whosisbrew's picture

How many times are we going to have to read the same story? Not that I disagree with the content (or even HAVE to read it in the first place), it just seems that this story, in one version or another, has been written on this site dozens of times.

William's picture

It's a pressing issue in the sporting world, so it will be discussed and debated about continuously. Just like Iranian nuclear proliferation, the Rise of China, and our growing debt are continuously discussed, because they are pressing matters in the world. 

Whosisbrew's picture

Sure, but those stories develop on a daily basis, offering new points for discussion. It's not the subject matter necessarily. It just seems that this same story has been written and re-written on here more than its fair share of times.

William's picture

Pay-for-play develops on a daily basis too, offering new points for discussion. I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.

NW Buckeye's picture

It just strikes us a a little ironic that this site would continuously champion pay-for-play.  How many writers on here actually get paid for their contributions?  And if they do get paid, is it commencerate with the work they put in?  Why do they do it?  Because, just like the athletes they cover, they love the game. 
There is a fear amongst many college football fans that many of the impending changes to college football (pay-for-play, expanded playoffs, super conferences, etc) will only draw the game closer to the professional game.  And, let's face it, there is a huge difference between college football and pro football.  Which one issue will be the one that really crosses the line?  None of us really know, but there are a good many of us who want college football for what we believe it is. 
There is a reason why college football has been so much more successful than any of the "minor" league football teams across the country.  Heck, I coached HS kids that moved on to some of those leagues.  They play in HS stadiums and the fans in the stands consist of friends and family.  And, they have great players!  But, they can not generate much of a following. 
Universities, on the other hand, have a built in following.  The students on campus, and the alums.  One could argue that those fans will show up for any team that has reasonable success on the field, but start paying players, and see how that turns out.  I know that pay-for-play will equate to higher ticket prices, more rediculous jocking for royalties from every angle (including blogs that owe their existence to the popularity of the sport) and generally, a more expensive experience for all concerned. 
So, yes, many readers here find it confusing that sites like this continue to champion this cause.  There is a very real fear that pay-for-play could indeed make it very difficult for sites like this to be as popular as they are now. 

slicksickle's picture

Have you thought that the reason some athletes, and writers on here (as we have seen) are using college sports (and 11W) as a starting block to make it into the pros? Pryor said he wanted to come to OSU because of the pro-style they ran, in order to be a better qb in the NFL. I have seen quite a few 11W writers move on to professional writing/blogging. So, to say they do this 'just' for the love of the game is being slightly near sighted. Speaking to the few athletes I know that have played college sports, I know they would all have loved to move on to playing professionally.

Alhan's picture

As many times as you choose to sit there and read it I suppose.  It was pretty obvious what the article was going to be about by the title so if you don't want to read about it again, choose to skip it.

"Nom nom nom" - Brady Hoke

Whosisbrew's picture

Not really the point I was driving at, but sure.

Dean's picture

<EDITED> Nevermind, figured it out myself, probably best not to get into it.

BED's picture

The argument is particularly ridiculous when you point out that NOT ONE IA school lost money on FOOTBALL, taken by itself.  Someone pointed out the other day (in the Skully?) that while the atheltic departments as a whole lost money, even Eastern Michigan netted ~$1M from its football program.  (Not including alumni donations, I believe.)

The Ohio State University, College of Arts & Sciences, Class of 2006
The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, Class of 2009

Bucksfan's picture

I think this article in summary is simply pointing out the vast discrepancy between what a college athlete earns (20K dollars in tuition), and what an athletic director receives, which is well into the 6-figures.  Now, I must ask you, how many college defensive backs can do the Athletic Director's job?  How many pistol shooters can do the Athletic Director's job?  How many volleyball players?
Now, let's hypothetically say that a star QB at a school like Ohio State gets hurt, and the backup has to go in.  How much revenue is lost by the school the following week?  Probably none.  The crowd still shows up and the stadium is filled.  So, what exactly is the product that the university is selling if it's independent of WHO is actually playing the game?
Lastly, let's say the NFL went with a minor league playoff system, and all the athletes who used to go to college to play football now get paid for their labor.  How much do you think they'd get paid to keep the system equitable?  MLB only pays its minor league athletes about 20K a year.  Can't imagine it being much more.
And what would Ohio State do in that scenario, where all top high school athletes go pro?  I have a feeling they'd still stock the team with players.  And people would still show up in droves to see Ohio State football.
I guess my point is that college sports IS a free market.  I agree it has its shady, exploitative aspects.  But at the end of the day, they're selling you pride...not athletes.  So, who's really getting screwed?

William's picture

Pretty sure that Division 1 college football is considered to be a monopsony by most economists, not a free market.

Bucksfan's picture

I'm interested to see if any lawsuits against these entities as "non-profit" organizations will affect any change.  There are several.  I doubt it, though.  Sort of weird to have such a visible system of market injustice with so much money involved be neglected by our federal government.  They love telling big companies to stop doing things like that.
I'd also like to see what happens when the government suddenly tells schools that they have to start paying their athletes.  There are dozens upon dozens of people on this website alone who sh*t a brick over Title IX because they say it is the government "robbing" certain athletes while awarding others.  Having the government tell colleges that they have to start paying their athletes salaries might actually decimate college athletics.  What comes after a salary?  Health care?  Retirement benefits?  Where does it stop?  Well, hope you're fine with no more college baseball or hockey.

sir rickithda3rd's picture

its ridiculous that female sports get as much as mens. "You keep what you earn" is how it should be, thats how its done in the real world.

mark may wins douchebag of the year... again

Pam's picture

I am biting my tongue so hard it's bleeding.  Please please don't start another Title IX discussion.

Jason Priestas's picture

Why does Marion hate Title IX?

Riggins's picture

Damn, nice article. Very well researched.  When I saw the title, I thought DJ was moonlighting for 11W again.

I know the elite football and men's basketball athletes at the major universities are getting a raw deal.  However, due to Title IX and all the other rules and regulations on equality, I don't know how you could pay all the university athletes feasibly without it amounting to a pittance compared to what the revenue-generating athletes really deserve proportionally.  That's why I tend to favor the Olympic model.  The student athletes are free to accept endorsements from sponsors (Gatorade, McDonald's, etc) and the free market will decide if the football player and the archery member deserve to be paid the same. I'm not some anarcho-capitalist, far from it, so I know that their would need to be serious regulations, otherwise it would just devolve into a glorified boosters-giving-endorsements system. 
I know the NCAA needs to be reworked.  They shouldn't be for-profit.  They've participated in some shady accounting practices that you pointed out.  It's broken for football and men's basketball, but for the other non-revenue sports, the athletes are getting a good deal if they actually apply themselves and get a worthwhile degree.  Sorry swimmers, just because you're good at avoiding drowning doesn't mean you're being exploited if people aren't paying to watch.  You're leaving college debt free in an era when many are being saddled with decades of debt.
As for the pay scales for conference commissioners, athletic directors, and coaches, I'm honestly not shocked.  You point out that these three positions are on average paid 11 times more than the money spent on the average "student athlete".  And?  CEOs take home quite a bit more than your average worker too.  Do you really think Urban Meyer or Jim Delany aren't worth 11 average student athletes?  I know Meyer and Delany are paid more than your average coach and commissioner, but I'm sure OSU spends more on its student athletes than your average university too.  I'd be interested in seeing what the ratio is at OSU if anyone has the salaries of Meyer, Delany, Smith and the money spent on athletics/number of athletes.

I also just want to commend the owners at 11W for bringing on all the new writers.  You guys are continually putting out high quality content at a rapid pace.

NW Buckeye's picture

Excellent article sir!  Great work on digging out the numbers.  But, why is it that whenever the talk turns to the monetary side we have to bash the "student athlete" moniker?  It seems like it is the in thing to jump on the "poor student athletes" theme.  It would be just as easy to jump on the "poor student" theme. 
Here's a news breaker for you:  Universities use students to generate money!!!!!  From the moment a student steps onto campus, the university is using that enrollment to secure more money than the student is actually paying in tuition.  What you say?  How can that be?  Universities are all about grants, donations, endowments - you name it.  And the best way to attract all the lucrative $$ is to have students - elite students - the more the better.  I really don't need to go into an expose here.  But a simple description would be that the elite students (or grunts) get to do lots of leg work and research in order to attract the best opportunities.  It can be something as simple as a competition.  (When I was in school I participated in an ad marketing scheme that netted the Ford Motor Company thousands of ideas for commercials).  It can be something more grandiose, like medical research. The bottom line is that the "poor" students are the grunts in this.  Not only performing the work, put paying the university for the opportunity to perform such work.  Yes, in many instances the truly elite get the opportunity for a scholarship, but that scholarship comes with performance standards that must be met - often requiring hours upon hours on non reimbursed work.  This is all done eagerly as a prep for what the student hopes is a good paying job for the future. 
That's kind of the way things work.  How is it that "student athletes" are singled out as the poor slobs whose life borders on slavery?  Could it be that the monies generated by athletic departments are just too obvious.  The espins of the world have convinced just about everyone that sports is big business.  It is.  But, generally everything the Universities are involved in is big business.  And it is conducted on the backs of the students. 
One could look at athletics as just another opportunity for the student, just as marketing, architecture, medicine, etc.  And, the universities (just like their athletic teams) have people lined up, waiting to get in, hoping for that opportunity to better themselves.  And, there is no guarantee that graduation will secure the monetary reward that everyone in this society desires.  For everyone who strikes riches, there are many who fall short.  Is it for everyone?  No.  It takes a unique mentality to be a student.  And a lot of hard work. 
Just why should "student" athletics be so different?  Some will generate more funds for the University, some less.  But, they are all thrown into the pool of "student athletes".  It's kind of the University brotherhood.  The opportunities that await them vary from pro-athlete to HS Coach, to fitness instructor, even to restaurateur (be it running a restaurant or flipping burgers!!!).  The choice is really theirs to some extent whether it be in athletics or another field.  Put in the hard work, and be somehow rewarded at the end.  That is essentially what attracts any student to any University. 
Kyle does a great job pointing out how athletic teams attract more money outside of athletics for the institution through success on the field.  But, that can be said of any department in any University.  A University is a living breathing organization that strives to succeed in every aspect.  The more successful it is in research in Medicine, the more it will generate for donations/grants/etc overall.  Everything is connected.  And, when everything is in place a University can survive the occasional setback of failed research, a losing season, or human scandal. 
This is not to say that there is nothing wrong with the system.  Sure, there are a lot of short falls.  But so far, it has worked, for both academics and athletics.  Be careful of how you wish to change it, as it really is all interconnected. 

Ethos's picture

agreed, though I think this could of been an article all on its own ;)

"I spent 90 percent of my money on women and drink. The rest I wasted." - George Best

WildMan Leather and Lace's picture

This is a very well written article.  It is nice to see this subject approched with a level head and maturity. Thank you.
I agree with BucksFan.  As an Ohio native I will always love football and Ohio State.  Even if the NFL creates a minor league for the top recruits in the country and Ohio State gets the left-over lesser ranked high school players. Who would you pay more attention to?  Say Columbus got a minor league football team, do you think they could compete with over 100 years of tradition and pagentry?  How can you compete with The Horseshoe?  So, Ohio State will still have the same problem with it's lesser ranked student athletes, as they would probably generate as much if not more revenue than the NFL's minor league team.  And the same problem would persist.
As for letting student athletes accept endorsements, the result would be a far greater gap between the big and small schools (as if this wasn't a problem already).  But I think it would make competition unbalanced even between schools within conferences such as the Big Ten.
I think that is what the NCAA is trying to maintain, an equal playing field. And yes the elite players are the victims and the rich are getting richer but we have only ourselves to blame.  We love football and we love Ohio State.   I think the only option to avoid this is to ban Universities from having football teams altogether.  And that is ridiculous.  Buzz Bissinger is ridiculous.  Football started at the collegiate level and it has grown to what it is today primarily through the collegiate level.  Ohio State being at the forefront of this game.
At the end of the day we have a choice. Players have a choice. They choose to play the game and be exploited.  Is it unfortunate? Yes.  But some things just are not going to change. And one of them is the "I" being dotted on fall saturdays in Ohio.  

Kyle Lamb's picture

I definitely didn't want to come across as being too pampering toward the players. I definitely think there's a value in the 'free' education. I also don't have a problem with athletic directors, commissioners or coaches earning a nice living for their skills. But I do have a problem with them making a lot while claiming the players are amateurs and should not make money. It's a billion dollar industry... if they're going to profit, the players should have access to some of it.

I've always been a fan of paying players on the clearinghouse system.

First, pay them as part of the Federal Work Study Program. They're simply reimbursed Federal Minimum Wage for their mandatory 20 hours a week. As luck would have it, college students taking part in the FWS are paid on the same premise. 

Second, set up an endorsement clearinghouse where the university can sponsor free-market opportunities. An athlete can register an endorsement with the university and the proceeds are put in an escrow account with the NCAA Clearinghouse. After an athlete graduates or five years after arriving on campus for those that do not graduate, a prorated portion of the endorsement fund is returned back to the athlete. I'd also set up a graduation bonus paid if they successfully graduate with a certain GPA and have been eligible their entire career. 

These things wouldn't end corruption, nor would they keep athletes from leaving early professionally, but it would an intellectually honest system and justify a zero-tolerance policy for taking money from boosters. 

Bucksfan's picture

I'm curious, how much money does Skreened make off of the shirts they are selling that have references to Ohio State players (Miller, SHZR, Simon)?  How much does 11W make off of Skreened advertisement of those shirts?
Not trying to start a war, just pointing out that the shady line with profiting off of college athletes seems to be a bit blurry, even around here.

Kyle Lamb's picture

I can't speak for Skreened, nor am I privvy to the advertising model directly, but I definitely don't think it's a major windfall. 

I do know that merchandise is subject to licensing through the universities, so people are not exploiting anyone when selling t-shirts since they're going through the proper channels to do so. Do I think the players deserve a share of those profits? Sure. But again, that's why I don't like that they're not getting a cut. 




Bucksfan's picture

Yeah, I'm not sure if Skreened is selling anything officially licensed by Ohio can tell because they never put the words "Ohio" and "State" next to each other.  But I'm with you on the merchandising part.  In fact, I find the ability of the NCAA, colleges, and bowl entities to generate revenue by selling the likeness of the athletes the grossest contradiction.  Generating revenue off of the game is one thing.  Profiting off of an athlete's likeness, "forever and throughout the universe" as their contract with the NCAA states, is despicable.  Usually when an athlete sues over this, the NCAA settles out of court in order to avoid having a court officially tell them that their business practice is wrong.  I think there are quite a number of these suits out there, too.  I'm eager to see if anyone decides not to take the settlement.

Kyle Lamb's picture

I'm curious how the Ed O'Bannon NCAA lawsuit turns out. Last spring, a federal judge dismissed EA Sports from the suit, but the NCAA is still a defendant. As of this past fall, there were more former players still joining the lawsuit. It could have huge ramifications. 

If the suit wins, basically we could wind up seeing players being given a cut of merchandising. 

Bucksfan's picture

That might be what I'm thinking of.  I read this big article last year that mentioned something about it.  Couldn't remember the details.

Doc's picture

I don't understand how this would make a zero tolerance policy for boosters.  Isn't it a zero tolerance policy now?  As long as there are boosters with extra cash there will be kids willing to take it.  No matter how much they are getting paid.
I'm also not taking the side of the ncaaa, but these athletes are getting way more than just a free ride.  Isn't room and meals included in these scholarships?  Not to mention the vast earning potential they could have for a lifetime.  Not just the pro types who will make millions, but the "students going pro in something else".  Getting a degree is a golden ticket to a world of opportunities that a lot of these athletes wouldn't have been able to afford in the first place.

CJDPHoS Member

The Official DDS of 11W

Kyle Lamb's picture

Sort of. 

What I mean is that right now, it's hard to be upset at a player for selling a jersey off his back or selling his own hard-earned ring. But if a player were being paid a work stipend as well as having access to endorsements and merchandising, I wouldn't feel guilty for someone being suspended for accepting money from a booster. After all, there would be no excuse for someone since they're being paid accordingly.


Doc's picture

That explains things.  I don't think selling your own stuff should be frowned upon, but if you were making some extra coin from playing AND still sold stuff I can see the argument "we gave you guys more money and still that wasn't enough".
Welcome to the site by the way.

CJDPHoS Member

The Official DDS of 11W

Kyle Lamb's picture

Thanks! Glad to be here. 

I also agree that selling stuff shouldn't be frowned upon. If the clearinghouse idea ever came into play, I would hope they allow them to sell their own belongings as part of the registration process. 

NW Buckeye's picture

Thanks for clarifying so eloquently.  And, welcome to the site. 
As for your views on the clearinghouse approach to funding and the sharing of royalties from trinket sales, I understand.  It is just that the coach in me wants to make it a team thing more than an individual thing.  If there is one thing that the college game still has over the pros is that it is indeed a team game (maybe not in some people's eyes - I am aware of that). 
I would be concerned that a move to have players seek endorsements to hold in an escrow although appealing could end up being the bridge that takes it a bit too far.  The big names would have no trouble finding endorsements, but what about the linemen of the world.  For that matter, what about the scout team players?  And, as far as royalties I understand that a QB's jerseys are a hot item while they are on the team, but without the team success sales of those items may not have been so high.  Same could be said of any of the big names. 
What I'm really trying to say here is that there is no easy solution.  As appealing as any choice seems to any of us, there are always snafu's or problems.
And, please forgive any of us who may have overreacted a bit to your article.  We have heard much of this before in a much different tone. 

nickma71's picture

As long as it is understood why Terrel Pryor did something "wrong" by making a few bucks to get more tats. Because the NCAA didn't get the money.

Buckman's picture

Great article.  Student-athletes do way more for a university than what people think they they do.

I like to believe that my best hits border on felonious assault.