Are we finally at the NCAA crossroads? Before we even consider what might be happening with the O’Bannon lawsuit, consider the allegations revealed today by Sports Illustrated against Oklahoma State. Sports Illustrated alleges in the first of a five-part series that players were paid, very well, under the table with cash, sex, and drugs. I guess the only thing missing is rock and roll, but I digress. Without having all parts to the series, it’s tough to say what exactly Oklahoma State is facing in terms of allegations, but it’s safe to say at this point they’re significant.
Scandal: Oklahoma State - Sex, Drugs and Cash
More important than what happens with Oklahoma State is, is this where we see significant change in athlete compensation and punishment for schools when they violate the rules?
Sports Illustrated admits that some of the allegations are based on hearsay, but we know at least a significant percentage of them are true, or close enough to get the Cowboys in significant trouble. One has to ask, if this were your athletic program are you OK with your players being paid for sacks, tackles, and touchdowns?
In light of vacated wins and lost titles, how far do you want the boosters of your favorite college team to go to compensate players? Now we’re back to the fundamental question of whether players should be compensated. I’ve almost always been against paying players because I think they already receive fair compensation through scholarships.
At some point, I’d like to see stipends extended to all players, but keep in mind those dollars won’t be coming from the schools. The overwhelming majority of schools lose more money than they make each year on academics, and even if its funny accounting that gets them to those loses, consider how many school must accept academic subsidies (read: taxpayer money) to keep their programs afloat. Why do you think schools like Rutgers and Maryland are leaving their traditional homes to join the very rich Big Ten? It is obvious they were not making money in their current homes.
So, where do we go from here? Do you have an idea about how to fairly compensate players, or should we create another level of college athletics where players are paid a salary? How does this impact lower divisions of the NCAA and players in the non-revenue generating sports in the highest division?
Let me know what you think. Leave a comment or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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