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As Opposition To Stipends Increases, So Too Do The Chances Of A New Subdivision In College Sports

chasmIf you read this site often you know that we believe the top 70-80 schools in the Football Bowl Subdivision will eventually create their own “super division” of college athletics.  The biggest schools in the biggest conferences are already pushing for the right to provide full-cost-of-tuition scholarships to their athletes.  The commissioners of the biggest, wealthiest conferences are behind the idea.  Embattled NCAA president Mark Emmert is as well.

But according to The Chronicle of Higher Education, the divide between those who want to increase student stipends and those who don’t — or those who can’t afford to — is widening:

 

“In some ways, the issue has become a referendum on Mr. Emmert, whose attempts to get things done quickly have alienated certain factions.

‘There are some people who will oppose anything he supports, and that’s unfair,’ says Sidney A. McPhee, president of Middle Tennessee State University.  As head of the NCAA Student-Athlete Well-Being Working Group, Mr. McPhee has become chief arbiter of the stipend debate.

The issue has driven a wedge through an already divided Division I.  Some institutions, including those that don’t compete in football at the highest levels, say they simply don’t have the revenue to offset the added costs.  Others worry that making additional payments to players—no matter how small, and for whatever reason—threatens the amateur model.

Such opposition is one reason some of the wealthier programs are pushing for a further subdivision of the NCAA’s top level.  If they can’t get their way on issues like this one, some observers say, they’ll just take their ball and go play somewhere else.

The climate has frustrated Mr. McPhee, who believes that even the less-wealthy programs have an obligation to make a priority of players and their unmet financial needs.  ‘If you want to compete [in Division I],’ he says, ‘you’ve got to step up.’

It’s also a matter of fairness, he says. Institutions increase aid packages for other students all the time, so why shouldn’t they do it for athletes too?”

 

There are only three questions remaining, in our view.  First, when will the new “super division” be created?  Second, will athletes from all sports be paid (if not, expect litigation).  Third, if all sports are included, are we looking at a split inside the FBS or an overall split among Division I schools in every sport?

While the 70-80 largest, richest football schools would obviously be ready to start their own new branch of the NCAA, would their be some big basketball schools — St. John’s, Georgetown, Marquette, for example — that are prepared to pay athletes as well?  One would imagine so.

Rest assured, a split is coming and a new “super division” will be formed.  It’s just a matter now of when it will be formed and who will be a part of it.

 


18 comments
ezgame
ezgame

First step is payment, and IMO paying student athletes more than the cost of full tuition is dumb.

Money doesn't solve problems, it just creates more.

HoustonVol
HoustonVol

The schools and players could sign a deal under the schools licensing and marketing contract that is already in place. Go back to the L'ville and the Kevin Ware RI5E t-shirts. L'ville/Adidas had to stop selling them because they were making money off of a players likeness. Instead of banning the shirt and image. Why not restructure the rules to reward the school, player and contribute to the general scholarship fund and athletic stipend fund of the school? Say the shirt currently costs $20. Raise the price to $25, and have that extra money go to a trust fund for the athlete. The athlete could draw a stipend off that fund (with the monthly limit set by the NCAA or Conference). Upon earning his/her degree,  completing their eligibilty, and or turning pro, the athlete would receive the balance of his/her personal stipend fund. This would allow the marketable players equal access to capitalize on their likeness.

sambreth1
sambreth1

@SabanSays. That sucks!! If the tickets go up enough,poor people will just watch Bama on TV and attend Division 1 games

Jimisawesome
Jimisawesome

This reminds me of what happened in Baseball where Veeck warned owners to get in front of free agency before the courts did.  And this is likely to happen in this case of O'Bannon v NCAA.  You propose a remedy right now and the courts will bend over backwards to give it a chance force the courts to deal with the remedy and the schools are not going to like the results. 

 A stipend and some other minor rule changes that really will not cost the schools all that much and nothing really changes.  Now imagine the court rules that players are allowed to individually bargain for a package see how cheap that ends up being.  Right now the NCAA does not take kindly to legal representation of high school athletes wait until the courts open this can of worms. 

Thern
Thern

I would love to see all collegiate sports follow the baseball model. That is that any player would have the option to play-for-pay in a minor league professional system, or to play as an amateur in collegiate athletics. Unfortunately that involves a professional minor-leagure infrastructure not present in football, and that is still only developing in basketball. This would potentially hurt the high profile of collegiate football and basketball, but paying collegiate athletes would shutter most of the smaller programs and result in lost opportunities for many athletes, not only in the non-revenue sports, but also the revenue sports as well. 

redundantraven
redundantraven

The Real problem is the other sports. If you could split off a Football this might work, but paying extra to all men's and women's sports would be too expensive for most if not all schools. I am not against them getting a stipend, but it would be a logistical nightmare.

GatorGeek
GatorGeek

The day they start paying college athletes will be the last day I have anything to do with college athletics. The football and basketball players already don't represent the student body.  College sports will go the way of alternate leagues in pro sports.  If this does happens, I'll bet Vandy will take the high road and maintain the student athlete. model. That could be my new team. 

5LittlePiggies
5LittlePiggies

While I agree that players deserve some extra cash their way for all that they do and bring monetarily to a university, I have only one fear in all of this.  How will it change the atmosphere of college sports, primarily football and basketball?  Will it create a more "professional" atmosphere because they are now "paying" players?  I know a stipend is far from getting millions from endorsements and jersey sales, but that will be coming soon after, I have a feeling.  Will coaches and A.D.s hang the additional moneys over students head?  Will there be more of a "We own you" mentality, or will the student-athlete/mentor relationship continue as it is with many coaches now? Maybe none of this will be an issue if they give students a "stipend," but it seems as if it will be opening the door to more than that. 

HoustonVol
HoustonVol

I think what will happen is there are going to be some rules created to allow the schools and athletes profit off of a student athletes imagine. Instead of some type of stipend that could have to be justified on why X team gets so much while X team gets nothing. If you just do it as a licensing issue, then it only applies to the star players. The female basketball player could profit along with the football player all the way down to the hot swimmer. This keeps it from being about sports teams and athletes and less about stipends, but about the individual players themselves and what they are worth.

KellyJones2
KellyJones2

Based on last year's revenue numbers, the AAC sans UCONN is the pivot conference that could go either way if top 70-80 is truly the range.  Memphis has the 67th highest gross revenue, and Tulane has the 95th highest gross revenue with all other AAC members in between.  The top half of the MWC is also in the 60-90 revenue range.  Info from following link, by the way.  http://ope.ed.gov/athletics/

torris187
torris187

Why does paying athletes create a problem?  Literally everybody else in this business model gets paid. 

People who get paid:  Coaches, Assistant Coaches, trainers, athetic directors, athletic office staff, tutors for student athletes, ESPN reporters and anaylysts, SEC executives, SEC staff, referrees, Bowl commissioners, etc. 

People who don't get paid:  Football players, cheerleaders, band members (Basically everybody who you see on the field who is under 22) 

Sounds a lot like generational discremination to me. 

HoustonVol
HoustonVol

It would not discriminate because all players would have the same ability to market and have themselves marketed. Last year, the most valuable player at Baylor was on the woman's basketball team - Britney Grinder (SIC?), while could you name anyone off of the football or men's basketball? Would the larger athletic departments with larger alumni bases be able to twist this to their advantage? Yep. Imagine a 5 Star QB deciding between schools. Alabama could say that a two year starter could earn the maximum stipend ($2000/month) and expect to leave school with a trust fund worth $1million dollars from jersey/T-shirts sales and commercials.  While a smaller school with less of a fan base like Georgia Tech could offer an expected 3 years of starting, but the player could only expect half of the maximum stipend ($1000/month) and a trust fund of 1/4 million when he leaves school.  What school would you choose? Of course in both cases the athlete has to make him/herself marketable. If you are riding the pine you are not worth anything.

DanHogan
DanHogan

@Thern   I've actually wished for a while now that the minor league/developmental leagues weren't as strong as they are today in hockey.  I'd love to see more of the high-quality hockey players making their way through the college ranks instead of minor leagues in the hopes of improving quality of play there.  

 If developmental leagues that pay players were available, we'd certainly lose the great players that we love to watch at the college level now.

DanHogan
DanHogan

@GatorGeek Don't forget, most stipend models being talked about now are built off the stipends given to kids who are on academic scholarships.  We're not talking a lot of money here.  The one that didn't quite get through a few months back was a few thousand a year.  Most kids could earn that taking a part-time job.  This isn't money to entice potential pro players into sticking around.  This is money that makes ends meet.

ezgame
ezgame

It would probably create more opportunities for FB & BBall players to mess up?  How many student athletes have the personal moral character to ALWAYS do the right thing?  If 25% had the desire, yet limited capabilites-funding...  That changes, with an increased stipend.  Those same 25% now have their capabilities increased (same desire presumed)...  Who wants more muggings on campus?  Missing laptops?  Spice flow?  Designer drugs?  Fighting with officers?  Drunk & disorderlies? etc......

Remember these are 17 to 23 year olds with hormones raging & limited filtering systems in place.

KellyJones2
KellyJones2

@HoustonVol , in that scenario, schools would have to totally get out of the licensing/marketing business of individual athletes.  They would constantly be in hot water for promoting some athletes and not others due to conflicts of interest.  Athletes would need to sign individual licensing deals and have an agent.  Not a problem with me, but schools would have to walk a fine line between promoting their teams without promoting individual players that stand to gain monetarily over others.

KellyJones2
KellyJones2

@ezgame Most of our active soldiers in the field (not officers or admin) are that age as well, and a fair share of them mess up in the way you described above.  Should the accounts of all people under 23 be managed by another?  How about those that enter a trade out of high school and do not go to college?  Should their paycheck be managed by another?

5LittlePiggies
5LittlePiggies

@KellyJones2 @ezgame Great point.  It always bothers me when coaches, fans, and analysts call football players "kids."  We are sending males of the same age to war, and I never hear them called "kids."  It's a parent's job to train their children as they are growing into 18-year-old men and women to make good decisions once they leave their home.  After that, sure, we want coaches and teachers to help mentor and guide our sons and daughters into better decision making, but once they are 18 they have to make and live with their decisions.  

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