You’ve gotta hand it to Steve Spurrier.
The head football coach at the University of South Carolina scored major brownie points among prospective recruits last month when he proposed paying players $300 a game… out of his own pocket.
For the record: If you’re listening Mr. Spurrier, I know a Los Angeles-based editor who could really use a new set of golf clubs.
Anyway, the “plan,” which for all we know was scribbled on the back of a napkin, is half-baked at best — far too many logistical loopholes to warrant serious consideration.
Nonetheless, the concept is an interesting one, especially in light of recent events. You’ll recall that the artist formerly known as Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel (now “Private Citizen Jim”) was run out of Columbus last month amid allegations he lied to the NCAA about football players receiving heavily discounted cars and tattoos.
And the University of Southern California this week was stripped of its 2004 national title after star running back Reggie Bush was found to be ineligible. Which means there’s no champion for that year. Kinda like the game never happened.
A brief aside: Wouldn’t it be cool if, citing an obscure technicality, we could all claim that certain events just didn’t take place. I’d probably wipe out that Halloween party back in 1998…
The point is that college athletics has become a bloated cash cow. Institutions are paid gargantuan sums of money through licensing, ticket sales, TV rights and other revenue streams. And the student-athletes who are largely responsible for their schools’ success see precious little of the windfall.
But should they? These kids already receive first-class treatment, a complimentary education, the finest meats and cheeses (OK, that one was made-up) and name recognition that endures far beyond their playing years.
Is it also our duty to ensure they have access to a set of hot wheels and killer body art?
As always, I invite your feedback.