Interesting Thought on the Impact of Free Higher Education on Sports

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UrbzRenewal's picture

The NCAA would almost certainly let them profit off of their likeness in that case, at a minimum. 

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ANOTHERMICHIGANLOSS's picture

So the recruiting pitch is we can get you an audition for the professional level with our relevance and recognition, and therefore we can get you the best deals with sponsors?  That would shift the recruiting game in a major way.

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JarheadBuck's picture

Isn't that already a major part of the recruiting pitch? 

Our coaches developed X, Y and Z and we had ABC players drafted in the last few years.  Look at how much they got paid in the draft and how sponsors are lining up to sign them.  Hell, scouts are ALWAYS hanging around the Shoe and the Buckeye brand carries clout when you call a GM for a tryout.  You won't get that at "Also Ran State."

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TheBadOwl's picture

OSU literally does a thing with recruits where they pitch what that player's personal brand can become.

In all likelihood, under the Olympic model the NCAA would have to approve any endorsements.

When I walked in this morning and saw the flag was at half mast I thought, "Alright, another bureaucrat ate it." but then I saw it was Li'l Sebastian. Half mast is too high. Show some damn respect.

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JTFor President2016's picture

Agree, and the same should be said for top-level students. Other than gaining admission to a lucrative school, what then would a 4.5 GPA, and a 33 ACT score get you? Now, you can be a great student and get scholarships. What is the motivation if it is free for everyone (outside of gaining admission to selective schools)?

I knew I wanted to go to OU since I was 13. They have an extremely high selection rate. I worked hard to get scholarships, so it would be cheaper, and put me a step ahead of my peers. I don't know if I would've taken high school as seriously if I knew I was going to college for free. regardless. 

They would have to offer additional benefits to players, and to high level students. 

Elliott dots the eye, on this national championship win. 

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ANOTHERMICHIGANLOSS's picture

I wonder how the payments would be dispersed, then, between a #1 overall recruit, a #650 overall recruit, and a kid that isn't playing that got the 4.5 GPA and 33 ACT score.  It would be a nightmare.

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Wargor's picture

Perhaps though, if college was free you wouldn't have decided on OU at 13.  I know I chose OSU years ago in part because of the cost of other schools.  I knew with 13 year old certainty (often wrong, that) that my family couldn't afford Harvard, Stanford, etc., so I knew I was going someplace closer and cheaper.  If the 13 year olds of the world know that money isn't going to be an issue, the best and the brightest may not self-select themselves out of what used to be expensive schools.

Of course, free state school tuition is a far cry from a full ride at a private school, and rest assured that the rich will find ways of protecting their advantages for their children if any ways are open (human nature, really).

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NavyBuckeye91's picture

It’s probably surprising to many, but the Ivy’s and schools like Stanford and Northwestern meet 100% of a student’s “demonstrated financial need.”  So, in essence, if you can get in, but your family can’t afford it, it’s free. MIT is also this way. 

The challenge for most middle class families is that the bar for “financial need” is pretty low, and most exceed it. 

"You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, & in the manner in which you live.
So, live. Live. Fight like hell. And when you get too tired to fight then lay down and rest and let somebody else fight for you. "
- Stuart Scott

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rugby15's picture

Having worked at an IVY school there's a huge difference between what you think your financial need is and what the school thinks. If you own a house they think you should just take multiple mortgages out and its no big deal.

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NavyBuckeye91's picture

As a parent paying for two college tuitions, I'm painfully aware of the disparity.

FAFSA: "You can afford to purchase a brand new Mercedes every year."

Me: "Fat f#%$ing chance."

"You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, & in the manner in which you live.
So, live. Live. Fight like hell. And when you get too tired to fight then lay down and rest and let somebody else fight for you. "
- Stuart Scott

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Wargor's picture

Yeah, that's one of the things that 13 year-old's don't know as much as they think they do.

And yeah, I was middle class enough that I probably wasn't going to get enough to justify it.  

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CarolinaBuck's picture

It's going to open up Pandora's Box. If the ruling in California stands, all states will have to adopt the California standard or they will be at a severe recruiting disadvantage. It would be my guess, all P-5 schools will have to sooner rather than later pay their football or men's basketball players, say $100K which will immediately be challenged in court for violating Title 9. If schools then are forced to pay all student athletes the same amount of money, I can see a lot of non revenue sports being dropped from the university.

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ANOTHERMICHIGANLOSS's picture

There would be some major trickle down effect for sure.

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BrewinBuckFan's picture

Just to clarify the California bill has nothing to do with schools paying players but rather allowing a player to profit off their own likeness (endorsements, autographs etc) so there wouldn't be Title 9 implications.

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ISURVIVEDCOOPER's picture

This is correct. Too many misinterpretations out there at the moment of what actually has happened in the California bill. Also, the argument really is around how are schools to handle said endorsements for their athletes, since there can be conflict of interest - eg, what if a local mens lounge offers huge money to a student athlete... School would be in a pickle since that athlete who is representing the schoolcan be somehow advertised seemingly endorsing men's clubs, too...

"I don't apologize for anything.  When I make a mistake, I take the blame and go on from there." - Woody Hayes

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allinosu's picture

It would be football and basketball. You still have to have just under a hundred women's scholarships to be equal. That's still well over 20 mil not counting coaches and all the other expenses that go with it. OSU maintains it will not pay players. I suspect since the BIG is an academic conference first and foremost, all sport would be intramural. It's not a given California will be allowed to participate. If Notre Dame decides today to remove Stanford and USC from their schedule starting next year, I think California would backtrack in a hurry.

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NavyBuckeye91's picture

I think it would actually level the playing field a bit for California. They’re already at a disadvantage when it comes to football. Lower HS participation rates on the West Coast, and fewer athletes want to move that far away tonattend school. They also have the whole PAC after dark thing to contend with. TV viewership on the West Coast is lower, etc. 

"You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, & in the manner in which you live.
So, live. Live. Fight like hell. And when you get too tired to fight then lay down and rest and let somebody else fight for you. "
- Stuart Scott

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tcm1968's picture

Potentially... all the NCAA would have to do is boot the Cali teams out of the NCAA and then not allow them to compete in the playoffs, bowls etc. That would gut Cali football.  The amount of kids who make a few bucks off their image vs kids who wouldn't but would want chase a national championship or play in bowl games isn't even close.. You would have a few kids stay to get paid and the bulk of them would leave the state and or not go to the state..

Same for basketball...... go to USC and don't get access to March Madness...

Go Bucks!

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osu78's picture

The NCAA needs the Cali market for TV revenue. They aren't going to risk TV money over this issue.

Strive at all times to bend, fold, spindle and mutilate.

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LCT's picture

Comment removed for violating the site's commenting policy.

Lifetime vs. UM: L 8-1, C 7-0, T 4-0

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IBLEEDSCARLETANDGRAY's picture

Title IX will dictate everything. Schools will have to pay men and women athletes the same amount of money if they start having to pay players. If not then they run afoul of Title IX and likely lawsuits. I am guessing that athletes will eventually receive money but it will be a lower sum not $100,000. That would bankrupt almost all but maybe 10 schools.

"You're the patron saint of the totally effed" - Hot Tub Time Machine

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USArmyBuckeye's picture

Not a Title IX expert by any means but could a payment system be structured in such a way as to (random example) pay players a percentage of the ticket revenue for their team and avoid equal pay issues because it’s an equal percentage across all sports/teams?

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Spartan13's picture

This is not true at all. If title IX worked this way the mens and womens basketball coach would make the same at every school. One sport making a negative amount of money and one sport making hundreds of millions would be a very solid reasoning in court why one sport should make more than the other.  

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rugby15's picture

Title IX does not dictate that. just look at scholarships right now. Head count Scholarships vs Equivalency Scholarships. Head Count sports are always full rides. For men, that’s DI basketball and DI-A football; for women, it’s DI basketball, tennis, volleyball and gymnastics. Theres 85 scholarships on a football team at Ohio State there isn't even 85 combined women on the basketball, tennis, volleyball and gymnastics team.

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erniefurgler's picture

In regards to the California model, i think if a kid elects to profit off their likeness, they should have to forego the scholarship money allotted to them and those funds go into the general scholarship fund. 

If you wish to accept endorsement deals, you're responsible for paying your own tuition.  It'll make some kids stop & think if it's worth it or not.  For some it's a no-brainer (Zion, Trevor Lawrence, etc) For those who elect to forego scholly money, those funds get transferred into the general scholarship fund, which in turn helps other current/future students (and current/future alumni)

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swobuckeye's picture

Does a coach have to forego their salary if they have endorsement deals?

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Spartan13's picture

That is really dumb. Who exactly wins in that situation? What lesson are you teaching the kid? There isn't a "scholarship fund" football players sap out of. The school decides to allow 85 men come onto their campus for free because they know it will make them money. They don't go begging donors for money for another football scholarship lmao. 

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Spartan13's picture

I am not surprised how uneducated so many people are on this topic and the topic of paying players so here is some info:

  • Title IX is not the big boogey man making sure every man and every women makes the exact same amount of money. There is a reason the men and women's basketball coaches are allowed to make a different amount of money. However it requires universities to treat men and women equally. For example men's basketball players cant be given luxury apartments to live in for free while women's basketball players live in crappy dorms. If players started to get paid it would be based on a % of their sports revenue so football players would be allowed to make more than the women's badmitten team. 
  • If you do not believe an athlete should be able to profit off their own likeness, such as signing autographs, endorsement deals, or earning a small % off of their jersey sales(Yes OSU jerseys would sell without the kid but there is a reason you buy the top players jerseys so relax), you are either a bad person or uneducated on the topic, this is literally a billion dollar industry
  • Scholarships for football players aren't paid for by alumni like other academic scholarships. Money isn't being taken away from smart kids who don't run fast. The school allows 85 scholarships for football players because it makes them money. There is no "scholarship pool" football players are stealing out of. 
  • If you think you have "conservative" values and the government shouldn't control the economy you should stick to your ideals on this and allow the workers in a billion dollar industry to earn their market worth, if you don't you are a hypocrite
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Spartan13's picture

As far as the original topic, the first thing to consider is Bernie and Warren have proposed free public school tuition. I dont know what the effect would be but OSU would be free while Notre Dame would still have a cost. The first concern would be if the private would be even able to stay open. Is a degree that costs 100,000+ worth more than a degree that costs 0 from Michigan? Probably not. The elite private schools would be fine for awhile but who knows how long they could last. The only reason to play football other than the "love of the game" would be then to allow players to profit on their likeness and increase their stipend. It is a very complex question. 

Regardless it is fair to say college football is likely the next major sport that is going to fold. The stupidity of the NCAA, concussions in football, high school football waning in popularity, college football attendance waning, the TV bubble, paying players, free college, and by far being the most immoral sport in America and FIFA being the only other competitor in the world for the title. I dont know if NCAA football will be around in 30 years.

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FeedZeke420's picture

You are very correct, that from a capitalist perspective the players should be able to make the money on their likeness. There is a reason college football is more popular than the NFL. I have a feeling this is going to make college football very sleezy, I think people are going to tune out if we get kids only going to a school because they were the highest bidder, holding out and not playing until they get an endorsement deal they want etc. The antics of the NFL is what turns a lot of people off, I don't know if people are going to want to watch a less talented version with the same bs. Losing viewers obviously will cause losing $$, before you know it college sports become what they are in the rest of the world, irrelevant.

Go Bucks!

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BrewinBuckFan's picture

I don't disagree with that  - but I can't reconcile that with the fact coaches make more than anyone else at most universities and academic standards for athletes are lax at best across much of the Power 5 relative to the general student body.  This isn't a world where Ohio State's 12 best basketball players via an open tryout play play TTUN's 12 best basketball players.  Both teams have players that would have never been admitted under normal academic standards and take General Studies courses, who were specifically recruited by a coach who flew halfway across the country on a private jet just to tell them they're special because they can shoot well or jump high.

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osu78's picture

As far as the original topic, the first thing to consider is Bernie and Warren have proposed free public school tuition. I dont know what the effect would be but OSU would be free while Notre Dame would still have a cost. The first concern would be if the private would be even able to stay open. Is a degree that costs 100,000+ worth more than a degree that costs 0 from Michigan? Probably not. The elite private schools would be fine for awhile but who knows how long they could last.

I don't think it is that dire. Georgia has the Hope Scholarship, which pays tuition at at eligible state public and private universities and public technical schools  for any high school graduate with a 3.0 GPA (3.2 non-college prep diploma).  Granted, by paying tuition (partially depending on costs) at private schools they are also less costly so they see less of an impact from free (except for non-tuition costs) public education. 

What has happened in UGA didn't increase it's class size, instead they got a lot more selective due to increased applications, The 2cd tier schools as a result got more applicants and became more selective as well; and some grew significantly in size as well. Schools that were safety schools are now harder to get into, and UGA is very tough compared to 20 years ago. Schools such as Auburn saw an uptick in GA applicants since they couldn't get into UGA, even with stellar GPAs and test scores.

The reality is many students fail to keep the minimum GPA in college and thus lose the HOPE. I suspect free education for all would see the same dynamics; and most private schools would do fine. Some may even see an uptick if the program is similar to HOPE since students would be shut out of public schools due to increased applicant pools and need to find a different school.

Strive at all times to bend, fold, spindle and mutilate.

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BrewinBuckFan's picture

Let's keep in mind a lot of student-athletes across all sports would qualify for public or private grants/scholarships outside of their sport due due to academics or family need so as things stand now the value of an athletic scholarship does still vary from athlete to athlete in the current model.

Many athletic departments do however rely on regular students to support athletics in the form of mandatory fees so you could make the case that the money is being taken from smart kids who don't run fast.  And of course scholarships for football players are clearly being paid by alumni in the form of donations, tickets, gear etc.  A lot of schools including Ohio State limit your ability to buy season tickets unless you donate money to the Athletic Department. 

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Spartan13's picture

OSU doesn't limit ticket sales so you will donate to the athletic department because they cant afford having 85 kids on campus for free lol. They do that because they can easily sell the season tickets and they will make more money by forcing you to donate. I am also not talking about athletics in general im talking about football. All D1 football programs make lots of money. Scholarships are not being paid for by alumni for athletes. The cost for OSU having 85 kids on campus is not the same as the sticker price. 

Football players do not sap the "scholarship fund" or require donations from alumni. The AD at Akron doesnt have to go beg alumni to donate money so they can get up to 85 scholarships. The school allows them to come for free, and the cost of allowing them into a class, feeding them, and giving them housing, is much cheaper than what they charge a normal student

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BrewinBuckFan's picture

In the 2015/16 fiscal year the Ohio State Athletic Department received 33.1 million dollars worth of donations which accounts for 20% of the departments entire revenue, of course they need the donations. 

Also, Athletic Departments have to pay the university full tuition/board for each scholarship, they don't pay the university the cost - they pay the full fare that you or I would pay.

Finally, not all D1 college football programs 'make lots of money' in fact just recently the University of California general fund had to pay $238,000,000 of debt the football team accrued via stadium renovations.

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osu78's picture

Also, Athletic Departments have to pay the university full tuition/board for each scholarship, they don't pay the university the cost - they pay the full fare that you or I would pay.

True, but that is just a transfer payment and not a real cost. OSU can run the numbers as needed to stay on the right side of non-profit in the athletic department; while the real marginal cost of teaching 85 more students at OSU is near zero.

Strive at all times to bend, fold, spindle and mutilate.

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AtlBuc's picture

All D1 football programs make lots of money.

Absolutely not true.  The NCAA reported earlier this year that only 20 schools made money on football.  I know there is a lot of funny accounting, but there are many, many programs in the red.

The athletic programs do have to include the full cost of scholarships within their budgets.  This is offset of course by 'transfers' from the general fund that schools report.  There are real costs to these scholarships, as student counts set budget across many different areas at a school.  In addition, housing and food can be off campus, which requires real cash, as well as stipends for the full cost of attendance.

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Buck61's picture

Look into the saga on University of Alabama Birmingham's history in regards to football in just this decade.

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Atl_Buckeye72's picture

You missed the first word in quoting him which was "Not"

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AtlBuc's picture

I was quoting spartan13. Not sure how these replies got out of order. 

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MaineStrength's picture

I'm on record for opening it up and paying revenue generating sports and bringing it out of the back alley and into the light.  However, the idea that if everyone else also got a free education athletes would not play anymore is crazy.  College athletes are playing college sports for one of two reasons, either they want to (ie non-scholarship players) or because they want the exposure that playing college athletics gives them for future professional potential, or a combination of the two.  Just because the regular Joe no longer has to pay for school doesn't mean the D1 P5 QB won't go there if that's his best way to prepare for the NFL.  It still comes down to options.  If there was a better way to get exposure for the NFL/NBA they might take it, but there isn't.  Baseball and hockey are different, but they aren't profit generating.

Strength equipment is expensive & guarantees you nothing. A strong will is free & will give you everything you need.

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stxbuck's picture

If a football player is concerned about profiting off his image-guess what-try to play in Canada or a semi-pro league, or whatever Vince McMahon dreams up. Get paid and control your specific image rights-just like minor league hockey or baseball, or whatever HS hoopsters who don’t want to play a year in college do-play in New Zealand, “intern” at New Balance-former tOSU verbal Darius Baizley,etc.

Or, gasp, accept 50K+ of in kind compensation and marketing in return for your athletic services and image to the university.

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FeedZeke420's picture

The NFL just needs to get rid of the 3 year rule. Then kids will have 2 options, play college football and follow amateur rules or go play for pay in the NFL. People are bullying Tim Tebow for having the audacity to say he played for school pride, tradition, a free education and the love of playing football. Some people have said Tim is privileged and doesn't understand real struggle (lol I wont even go there), but if money is such an issue nobody is forcing these kids to play football, they can go to the work force and make money. This attitude that these kids are taken advantage of is laughable, nobody is forcing them to play. There are NCAA rules if you don't want to follow them, don't play. I am sorry but there a lot of people that have it a whole lot worse in this world than a Division 1 football player at a power 5 school. I would say they have actually been pretty blessed and should appreciate the opportunity.

Go Bucks!

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rugby15's picture

The NCAA has its issues and a lot of them but I don't understand why everyone bashes the NCAA and doesn't blame the NFL and NBA. Its not the NCAA that makes players stay for three years. Yes they profit off of them A LOT but its not their requirement its the NFL/ NBA. If the NFL/NBA changes their rule that solves a big problem of making athletes stay in school when they don't want to.

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Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

The NCAA has its issues and a lot of them but I don't understand why everyone bashes the NCAA and doesn't blame the NFL and NBA.

Because people don't want to think through complex situations, they want easy answers.

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_Patches's picture

NFL needs to create some kind of development path from HS to the NFL. I don't think just tossing them into games with NFL veterans will pan out well, but there has to be some way the NFL can train and them and get them experience for 3-5 years before sending them into the draft. All the while these guys get paid.

Problem is the NFL has a free system now so why buck the trend.

If you take everything I’ve accomplished in my life and condense it down to one day, it looks decent!

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FeedZeke420's picture

Ya but kids would realize that they probably need to go to college so they don't get killed in the NFL. Just like anyone else they have to go to college to grow and learn their craft. That way they have the option to pay for play right out of HS, or go to college and follow the NCAA rules. Kids can also develop in the semi-pro, XFL, or CFL if they want.  Kids want all the benefits of going to school as a D1 football player and get paid like NFL players. I don't believe they deserve both, give them a choice and make them take their own professional development into their own hands. It may make them appreciate their situation a little more.

Go Bucks!

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rugby15's picture

exactly give them the option to make their own choice and then they have to live with it

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bd2999's picture

It is an interesting question. To this point I thought it was free community college, although that would impact Universities too. Not really sure, never really thought about it. I doubt it happens at any rate.

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allinosu's picture

The comments that I find funny are the ones about the coaching salaries. If these coaches weren't paid like this then the best of them would be in the NFL. I know coaches paid to win but to do that these kids are getting the best possible training in doing so. It's a tool for them to get where they want to go. 

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ANOTHERMICHIGANLOSS's picture

Thanks for the replies...I was interested in seeing if people thought of things that I hadn't, and a scatter plot would be wild to see haha.  I guess it's because there is a huge level of uncertainty.  Everyone tries to use logic on where things would go, but there is a counter point to everything.  I guess we will see if it ever happens.  It's an interesting conversation though.

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Buck61's picture

Tuition is just one part of the expense of going to college. It is not clear if the term tuition also includes things like books, lab fees, other expenses such as room and board or some type of stipend. Many majors have some very expensive lab fees or costs associated with them. 

If the lab fees or other costs were covered I would channel people toward the aviation field, that program probably has the highest amount of extra costs associated with it, the fees for ground school and plane rental is very high compared to other majors. There is a growing shortage of qualified pilots due to costs of training and plane usage costs.

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Elks' comb over's picture

Many majors have some very expensive lab fees or costs associated with them.

Confirmed. I had a single class that ran us (each student) over $1,000 in just printing out of pocket one quarter.

“Megadeth >>> Metallica” - Alum 2019. I couldn’t agree more.

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AtlBuc's picture

Tuition, room, board, books, normal fees and now a cash stipend are all included in scholarship packages.  My son is a scholarship swimmer and he gets a percentage of all those. 

Would be tough to live on that if your family can’t help out. 

Doubt flight time and other specialty fees would be included though as it is one number for all scholarships across the board. It is based on the calculated full cost of attendance for an out of state athlete. 

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