Given the incredible amount of money coaches make in college sports, the players who help them succeed should be paid as well.
This image is clearly a football coach being carried by his players in a celebratory manner – most likely after an important win. The crowd roars in the background, cheering on the coach who appears larger than life. A closer look reveals that this is the University of South Carolina, meaning the coach is Steve Spurrier.
I find this picture a bit ironic, given that the players who actually won the game are carrying the coach that merely helped guide them along the way. Interestingly, this image can be used as a metaphor for college sports. NCAA Division I football and basketball have exploded in recent years. The television ratings for important games compare to professional sports, and many of the players are nearly as skilled as professional athletes. However, the coaches are paid millions and the players don’t even make a dime. Steve Spurrier, in the photograph above, makes $4.88 million per year. His contract may sound ridiculous, but it is actually logical given the seemingly endless money in Southeastern Conference college football. What is ridiculous, however, is that he can be rolling in wealth while his players that help him succeed get nothing. As shown in the picture, it truly is the players carrying the coach.
For years, people have argued that college athletes should not be paid. They say that a full scholarship for a high level education is already plenty. My objection to this claim is simple: these are not student-athletes; they are semi-pro athletes that bring in a tremendous amount of revenue into the schools they represent. As stated by Spurrier himself, “Because of the tremendous amount of money – billions – they’re bringing in; we as coaches believe these players are entitled to a little more than room, books, board and tuition” (ESPN). A millionaire coach has spoken, and it is time for the NCAA to listen. Spurrier realizes that these players contribute just as much as he does, and therefore deserve compensation.
However, while the NCAA continues to sign multi-billion dollar television deals, the athletes continue to get nothing. News flash – viewers don’t watch college football to see the NCAA logo printed on the field; they tune in because of the players.
Steve Spurrier understands that he is being carried by his players, both literally and economically.