Paying college football players is a very debatable topic right now. A recent article on Yahoo Sports quoted an interview that Oklahoma Sooners head coach Bob Stoops conducted with Sporting News. In the interview, the reporter asked Stoops his opinions about paying college football players and Coach Stoops had a pretty solid argument about the controversy.
“You know what school would cost here for non-state guy? Over $200,000 for room, board and everything else,” Stoops said. “That’s a lot of money. Ask the kids who have to pay it back over 10-15 years with student loans. You get room and board, and we’ll give you the best nutritionist, the best strength coach to develop you, the best tutors to help you academically, and coaches to teach you and help you develop. How much do you think it would cost to hire a personal trainer and tutor for 4-5 years?”
So, basically Coach Stoops is saying that the college football players get free room and board, a personal trainer and a nutritionist, tutors and a free education in exchange for playing football for their college team. The students also get free medical treatment for injuries and ailments. This does amount to a lot of money for each student.
Now, the writer for the Yahoo piece argued that tuition is not $200,000, showing a lack of reading comprehension skills, because they claimed Stoops said tuition was $200,000. However, if you actually read what he said, Stoops counted everything adding up to about $200,000, which includes the tutors, trainers and medical access. He has a good point too. A regular student who does not play football will pay off $120,000 in school loans over the next 20+ years for college, so that is a lot of money.
Also, the Yahoo writer decided to point out how much Bob Stoops is paid to coach the team. Of course, Stoops also played football for Iowa, went through exactly what his current student athletes go through, and then used his college diploma to get a job that pays this much. His student athletes will also use their college degree, or possibly move on to the NFL, to get a job to make that much. It’s not different than internships in thousands of other jobs that college students take part in.
However, there is still one major problem I have with the college system. It is not that they are not paid for playing football. It is the fact that they get their scholarship and room & board and all the other perks, but they are not allowed to work a real job so they can eat, date, go to a movie, and live life outside of the game of football. The NCAA is a business and the schools take their athlete’s commitments seriously in exchange for scholarships. However, these student athletes are still college students who need to make a living outside of just paying for school.
I agree with Coach Stoops that paying college football players is not a great idea, because the school already pays a lot for their participation in the school’s athletic programs. However, here is another statement that Stoops made.
“I’ve always said college is more about proving you can make it on your own,” Stoops said. “Proving you can go through the process and come out on top and be ready for the world. The typical student here leaves our university and has a boatload of student loans to pay back. Our players leave not owing a dime to anyone.”
My question is, how can students prove they can make it on their own if they are not allowed to work a job to support themselves in college? Maybe that is one of the reasons that college football stars that don’t make it in the NFL have no idea how to survive in the real world?