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Pay for Play: Gregg Doyel Chimes In

You can call me Aaron Burr from the way I’m droppin’ Hamiltons.

CBS Sports Writer and KSR favorite Gregg Doyel came at’cha with some math yesterday, and used basic arithmetic to illustrate what Coach Cal’s been saying for a while: it’s time to pay football and basketball players.

While Cal’s been preaching the need for athlete compensation for a long time, the figures Doyel puts up are pretty mind-boggling.  Consider the following: (1) the average D-1 football player is worth $121,048 per year; (2) the average D-1 basketball player is worth a staggering $265,027 per year; and (3) the average “full-scholarship” athlete leaves each academic year owing over $3,000 to their university.

Ridiculous, right?  Add in that while the average basketball player is worth over a quarter-million to their school, a player at Kentucky has to be worth an inordinate amount more.  Heck, Duke players are “worth” over a million, and that’s Duke.  How much money do you think Michael Jordan has earned UNC over the years?  And what about Anthony Davis for Kentucky last year?  I know the University put up that billboard for him in NOLA, but surely that didn’t wipeout the million-plus in revenue he earned in his nine or so months here.  And while it may not matter much to the players who get drafted, Doyel points out that those are the minority:

A kid like Anthony Davis from Kentucky or Andrew Luck from Stanford can afford whatever bill comes, but those guys are the exception. Most college players don’t go to the NFL or NBA. They go into the same labor force as you and me, and after the fortune they helped generate for their school, the last thing they deserve is to owe that school another $14,000 for their years of free labor.

Cal campaigned earlier this year to implement a remodel to the compensation in order to make sure athletes are properly nourished.  This goes a little beyond hunger and addresses an almost equally fundamental need: equity.  Schools are being enriched by athletes, to whom they owe more than just a room, even if that room is in the luxurious Wildcat lodge.  Would I be jealous if these athletes got paid, and I didn’t?  Sure.  I’d like to be paid money to go to school, too.  But at the same time, I’m not bringing the school hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue to merit that kind of payment.

Are Doyel and Calipari right?  Is a slow, inevitable, almost glacial change to paying players on the horizon?  How would that affect recruiting?  Would it be required for all athletes, or only the programs that bring in a certain amount of money?  There are a lot of questions around the issue, but one thing is certain: the pay-for-play dynamic is looking more and more inevitable.

Article written by Corey Nichols

14 Comments for Pay for Play: Gregg Doyel Chimes In

  1. sccat
    2:34 pm January 19, 2013 Permalink


  2. Class
    2:34 pm January 19, 2013 Permalink

    Um, don’t get me wrong I love the Cats! I was literally raised with them, so they do no wrong in my book. But what about college kids under the poverty line from Kentucky, and other regions, that go to school, but have to scrap and fight for any extra money at all, just to get an education. I’m a scholarship kid going to UK right now, and I stress about how I’m going to get food on my table day to day. I love the Cats and the players, but ALL of them wear better clothes then I ever have and they all have these big earphones and fancy Iphones…. Why do they need money?

  3. Kevin
    2:40 pm January 19, 2013 Permalink

    Entitlement is ruining our value system.

  4. g-mill
    2:41 pm January 19, 2013 Permalink

    How do they owe the university?

  5. brink
    2:50 pm January 19, 2013 Permalink

    2 The difference is the fact that they make the university a butt load of money, and you don’ t.

  6. Flawed analysis
    3:00 pm January 19, 2013 Permalink

    You only looked at this over the short term and this is a problem for society. I will bet any amount of money that anyone who works hard and gets their degree will earn more over their lifetime than the value they brought to the school. 40 years of 60k avg earnings is 2.4 mil. How did this person get screwed in the long run?

  7. OwensboroDavid
    3:03 pm January 19, 2013 Permalink

    Again, no argument that big time schools make a ton off student-athletes. However, how are small D-1 schools supposed to pay athletes? They don’t have the revenue stream to do this. And if you pay football and basketball players (mens and womens) you are going to have to pay ALL athletes. How many schools can afford to do this. I think they should not ever leave a University with outstanding dues if they are on a full ride, but I think they are very well compensated with tuition, meals, room and board. At least UK athletics gives the money back into the academic side of things. Like someone above mentioned, most kids are scraping by to go to college, while student athletes are getting freebie after freebie. They are earning those freebies but how much is enough?

  8. Flawed analysis
    3:06 pm January 19, 2013 Permalink

    Uk only had so many home games and seats available to sell regardless of how much we wanted to go see Anthony Davis. Don’t forget, there is no other venue than college for these kids to showcase their talent. U can’t put a price on how much AD now earns because he got to play d1 athletics at the top program n college.

  9. Beatle Bum
    3:34 pm January 19, 2013 Permalink

    Actually, #2 MAY make the university money. UK sells the fact that it has X number of national merit semi-finalists and finalists. This helps the rep and marketing of the school. There are a lot of smart kids paying full or close to full tuition. They can leave UK with a ton of debt. I think the football and basketball players who get degrees will be just fine.

  10. Beatle Bum
    3:37 pm January 19, 2013 Permalink

    #8, add to that the fact that UK players who stay in state after school may get jobs based in part upon their celebrity status. Heck, they may even get elected to office!

  11. UKguy77
    3:59 pm January 19, 2013 Permalink

    I don’t like when people try to compare average students to high profile athletes. There is no comparison. As an average student you can have whatever job you like, get paid for whatever you want to do, and sale whatever you want to sale. As an athlete in the NCAA you are restricted as to how you can make money. Getting a job is virtually impossible. You can’t even play in certain summer basketball tournaments without the NCAA’s apporval. Plus, really popular players can’t even go to McDonald’s without getting rushed So the kids walking across campus that noone knows can not be compared to Anthony Davis or MKG. And it is a one way deal. Many try to say that the University helps promote a player to become more popular. I believe its the exact opposite. The players promote the program. If we don’t have these high profile players, UK doesn’t have a good team, tv deal, million dollar royalties, huge arenas, or even the amount students who attend the school. Since calipari showed up, the amount of applications to UK has gone up %215. And y?

  12. Hypocritical
    4:50 pm January 19, 2013 Permalink

    #2: You are correct. I guess, then, that the University doesn’t contact alumni, particularly successful alumni, seeking donations and contributions, huh? I mean, it would be hypocritical to treat you as mundane, while you’re there, not making them any money, and then when you’re successful, stress the obligation you owe them, now, right?

  13. Hypocritical
    4:51 pm January 19, 2013 Permalink

    Meant for #5. My mistake.

  14. oldschool
    4:51 pm January 19, 2013 Permalink

    A small monthly stipend of maybe up to $400 will more than pay for a little extra food, a couple of trips to the mall, or incidentals. These athletes get the benefit of food plans, health care, plenty of free clothing, etc.

    They are also getting a top-notch education with free tutoring and professors who bend over backwards to make their academic success nearly guaranteed. Those aspiring to play at the next level are also getting the benefit of invaluable exposure that can make that dream a reality.

    These student-athletes are really not entitled to a ‘paycheck’ from the university for living out a dream of playing Division I sports. That’s a reward in and of itself that countless other young people their age would jump at the chance to do.