“People who are older…are stingy; for one of the necessitites is money and at the same time they know from experience that it is difficult to acquire and easy to lose.”
-Aristotle, On Rhetoric Book 2
I often joke with my students that had centuries and sexual preferences not separated us, Aristotle would’ve been my man. There is something about a scholar that drives me wild. With wisdom comes wit; with wit comes friendship. As Aristotle also said, ” a friend is one who loves and is loved in return.” At the very least, Aristotle and I would’ve been friends…in my mind.
As the son of a doctor, Aristotle was expected to become a doctor as well. After studying under Plato, however, Aristotle chose a different and, at the time, higher profession. By the first century BC. “grammarians, lexicographers, and textual critics could be found in many parts of the Greco-Roman World, and scholarship was a flourishing and highly respected profession” (Dickey). Scholarship was something of which to be proud. Education was capital; a commodity that could never be stolen.
Centuries later, education has become the footnote of the stories of the lives of countless students who attend a four year university. While our great nation has the highest cost of post-secondary education, it seems that a free education is not enough for our campus heroes: the college football player. As football generates the most income of all college athletics, many wonder whether or not the players should be monetarily compensated for their time and talents.
According to collegedata.com, the average cost in-state public college for the 2013-2014 school year was $22,826; a moderate private school costs $44,750. These averages include tuition, room and board, books, school supplies, housing, and meals.
There are currently only few NCAA sports that offer “full” scholarships, football, men and women’s basketball, women’s volleyball, women’s tennis, and women’s gymnastics. On an average day, these athletes spend about sixteen hours in class, mandatory study halls, practices and meetings. While the general public would like to focus on the four hours on a Saturday night that these players spend with their friends out on the town, most athletes find themselves in their dorm room instead of parties.
As a normal college student, I spent about 12 hours in class a week (with at least eight added hours of studying a week) and 20 hours at my part-time job. According to Marcusfootball, what I considered to be a grueling schedule, I only matched the working hours of two and a half days for a football player. These players are on call every day of the week while in season. It only stands to reason that these players should be compensated.
After all, according to a 2012 survey of college football coaches salaries, at least 42 head coaches make a touch over $2 million. The median revenue of college football of 120 FBS schools is over $39 million. Nick Saban tops the list of highest paid head coaches at $7 million. Is he worth that much? Forbes Chris Smith says yes. I would tend to agree when in 2008 (before his most recent national titles) football generated over $124 Million dollars in revenue. Football has also increased the rigor of acceptance to the university, moving acceptance rates from a little over 70% to 53%. One could argue that football increases the academic potential of a university as the institution can start to admit only the best and the brightest students to attend.
|Hey there, moneybags.|
Saban’s historically large salary would land him in the average of NFL coaches. The highest paid coach is Sean Payton at $8 million. How does this stack up to the NFL players? It depends on your position. The highest paid quarterback is $13.5 million (Carson Palmer), but quarterbacks average a little over $1.9 million. DE: $1.5 million (Julius Peppers is the highest paid player at $14.1 million); OL $1.2 million; DT $1.2 million; CB $1.1 million; LB $1.175 million; WR $1 million; RB $957,000; Safety $947,000; Punter/Kicker $868 (not bad!); TE $863 (It’s no wonder Jimmie Graham wants to be labeled a WR!)
My point is simply this. If a player is talented enough coming out of high school to receive a full ride from a four year university, then he should look at his tenure at said university as his internship. Some internships last three years, some four, but each end up with a pretty solid payoff at the end. While players may only average getting about $17,000 cash (according to a 2011 editorial), that is nearly double what I received during my internship out of college. I was one of the lucky ones, too. Most internships are unpaid. Lastly, most internships do not lead to multi-million dollar contracts at the end.
Should scholarship athletes be paid? In my estimation, they are being paid with the highest and most respected capital possible: a free education. While this may be my “stinginess,” or my realization that money leaves as quickly as it is made (see 30 for 30’s Broke), I would perhaps assert that fans and players alike need to stop thinking about the bottom line. We need to think about these players’ futures…because there is a whole lot of life to live outside of the NFL, should they make it that far.
I believe, as fans, it is our responsibility to teach these players not to be like the newly rich that Aristotle describes…
“The kinds of character that follow from wealth are plain for all to see; for (the wealthy) are insolent and arrogant, being affected somehow by the possession of wealth; for their state of mind is that of those who have all good things; for wealth is a kind of standard of value of other things, so that all things seem purchasable by it…the character that comes from wealth is that of a lucky fool…the newly rich have all the vices to a greater degree and in a worse form; for to be newly rich is, as it were to lack education in the use of wealth.“
-Aristotle, On Rhetoric Book 2, Chapter 16