Tuck: College Football Doesn’t Care About Players
Don’t be fooled. These conference commissioners talking about finding a way to pay players isn’t some generous, kind act. It’s not some kind of epiphany. You don’t suddenly wake up and pretend like you just caught wind that players might actually want to be paid something for all their hard work in driving a now billion dollar industry.
Nothing major college football has done in the last 25 years has every had anything to do with improving the lives of the player. Every decision ever made has been to do with money and how to make more of it.
Here is a short list (feel free to add to it):
- In 1990 there were 18 bowl games. Today there are 35 bowl games. And it’s not about the experience for these young men. Puh-lease. It’s about television exposure, coaches job security, recruiting, and of course, making money. Of course it dilutes the product (the bowls) and the accomplishment of actually getting to one when 70/125 teams get to play. It’s pee-wee football, everyone gets a participation ribbon. Hope you guys don’t mind playing another game and practicing for another month.
- NCAA allows conferences with 12 teams to play a conference title game starting in 1991 with the SEC. There will be 7 conference title games this year. They naturally sell it as doing what the fans want, but it’s all about TV exposure and money. Guess what kiddo, you get to play an extra game if you’re good. Hope you’re body can handle it!
- NCAA decides to allow for a 12th regular season game in 2005. Hey, look fans! More football! Who is going to argue with that? Of course, us big boys will just be scheduling a cream puff at home with the game so that we can rake in an extra million or two. Or hey, we can go play a neutral site game too and make money that way plus get to be on national TV. Don’t worry son, I’m sure that ringing in your ear will subside enough for you to play this week. It’s just one extra game…every year.
- Starting in 2014, college football will have a playoff, expanding the season yet another game for at least 2 teams. Fans rejoice. The villains (the establishment that always said no, it’s too hard on the players become heroes to fans who are tired of the cruddy money making system called the BCS. Naturally they agree when the recognize they can make even more money with the new format. Oh, and we’re keeping the bowls even with a playoff.
- Realignment took on whole new meaning in recent years. It used to refer to independents joining conferences. Now it is just about finding the best way for your school to make money. Naturally, at the players expense. How you say? Well, as fans, you know. Nothing like having to travel an extra 5000 miles for families and friends. Sure, on that team charter it’s just an extra hour or so. But for mom and dad going to the games and anyone else that liked making road trips, those have become more difficult with the new-look Big XII, Pac-12, Big Ten, ACC, SEC, and the American spreading their geographic horizons.
- Games aren’t just played on just Saturday anymore. Nope. Thursday was fine for awhile, but now college football plays games Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. No joke. No day is off-limits. I am sure that makes things easier for the student athlete to get an education of course. Fans shouldn’t have issue travelling and/or getting time off from work to attend a Tuesday night game, right?
- The season is 15 weeks long now (with bye weeks). Plus, bowl games run through December and end January 1st. Oops. They actually end a week later now. So games run over the course of 20 weeks this year. More work, big deal. Who needs time to study anyway, right?
- That’s just the games though. Remember they have to report in August to practice. Oh, plus Spring ball. That’ll run 6 weeks over the months of February, March, and April depending on your school. Hmmmm. It’s almost like you’re a two sport star, only getting paid 0% of what Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders made.
- And by the way, we’re going to need you high school seniors to skip out on the end of your final year to come join us. That is if you want to play and everything, ya know? Who needs prom anyway?
- Make sure you know that rule book inside-out too, alright? We can’t have you getting a free tatoo or a free dinner. The whole system would crumble. Everyone will paint you as a criminal for taking something for free. You just play really well, and we’ll sell your jersey in our stores. You won’t get any of the money, but thanks for playing great. You keep this up, and we’ll escort you all around the country like you’re a
pro athlete rock star stellar student athlete. You’ll enjoy all the attention, and any good publicity our school receives would strictly be coincidental. You just make sure you keep your nose in the books during all this.
The entire system is a farce. I am not saying college athletes are mistreated. I am saying they aren’t fairly compensated. I don’t think they should be paid by the schools. I do think they should be able to maximize their marketability. Allow them to do commercials for local and/or national businesses. Follow the Olympic model. The only thing currently amateur about their status is their lack of a paycheck. Not everyone is going to make money, and that is the way it should be.
Universities and the NCAA will say they can’t control boosters and agents from influencing players decisions to go to certain schools and disadvantages will be born.
Ummm, those already exist. We just don’t talk about them. What makes the NCAA and colleges worried is that booster Bob won’t be scratching as many checks to the school and instead will be making those checks out to some high school star trying to get him to attend the alma mater. Or paying the Heisman hopeful to do spots for his business.
Like I said, it all comes down to one thing. Money. A college football player’s health, well-being, education, and future are way down the list of important things.