By Zac Ellis
The notion of a pay-for-play system in college sports has become an increasingly popular topic of conversation, and as the revenue generated from television networks continues to climb, the movement to do away with the current model of amateurism has grown louder and more threatening to the NCAA.
Apparently, that line of thinking doesn't resonate with everyone. Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops believes his players get enough already. Here's Stoops to Matt Hayes of The Sporting News:
I don’t get why people say these guys don’t get paid. It’s simple, they are paid quite often, quite a bit and quite handsomely.
Stoops' point is this: College football players are compensated with tuition, room, board and other university incentives that regular students are otherwise responsible for. But taking into account the avalanche of revenue schools receive thanks to enormous TV contracts -- not to mention the sales of jerseys and other merchandise -- and players don't seem to be getting anywhere near as good a deal as coaches and league officials are (Stoops makes more than $4 million per year).
To that end, the below quote from Stoops rings somewhat hollow.
I tell my guys all the time, you’re not the first one to spend a hungry Sunday without any money.
But waves of change may be sweeping over college athletics. The Ed O'Bannon v. the NCAA case continues to gain steam, and as SI.com's Andy Staples explains, the NCAA could have trouble on its hands if the plaintiffs are granted class-action status. Meanwhile, as coaches like Stoops are openly disagreeing with the pay-for-play possibility, university administrators are expressing concern that the NCAA might actually lose the case, as USC AD Pat Haden recently admitted to Stewart Mandel. It boils down to this: What is fair compensation for players? Is it half of all television revenue, as O'Bannon and his plaintiffs are reportedly demanding? Is it four years of full scholarship to a university, as Stoops contends? Or is it perhaps something in between, such as the stipends some coaches would apparently prefer? The only thing that's clear at this point is that plenty of powerful individuals -- from USC's Haden to federal judge Claudia Wilken, who twice struck down the NCAA's motion to deny O'Bannon and the plaintiffs class-action status -- don't entirely agree with Stoops' perception.