Colorado Buffaloes Make Karl Dorrell 3rd-Highest Paid Coach In Pac-12

Karl Dorrell Colorado Head Football Coach

The Colorado Buffaloes’ 2020 coaching search has ended. Karl Dorrell will be the new head coach of the Buffs. Dorrell signed a five-year, $18 million contract to be CU’s coach.

Dorrell has roots in the Pac-12. He played wide receiver at UCLA from 1983-86 and was UCLA’s head coach from 2003-07. He has had two previous coaching stints at Colorado, from 1991-92 and 1995-98, while CU was a member of the Big Eight and Big 12 Conferences. Between 1995-98, Dorrell was the Buffaloes’ offensive coordinator. They went 33-14 in that span and won three bowl games, most notably the Cotton Bowl to end the 1995 season.

Dorrell’s Contract and Assistant Coaching Pool Exceeds Amount Mel Tucker Had

Dorrell’s contract will include a $3.8 million pool for him to hire his assistant coaches, an increase from the $3.155 Mel Tucker had for his assistants.

“My salary pool is tremendous,” Dorrell said Monday at his introductory press conference. “I am very flattered to work with (the $3.8 million) pool.”

Having every extra dollar will help Dorrell. The Pac-12 distributes $33 million to its schools for media rights. This figure is $11 million less than the SEC and $22 million less than the Big Ten. On the national scale, it looks like Dorrell may have an uphill battle on recruiting. The financial difference between the Pac-12 and other conferences creates an imperfect scenario for Dorrell.

“There’s no perfect scenario where you are going to have every resource you need to get the job done,” Dorrell said.

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Dorrell 3rd-Highest Paid Head Coach In Pac-12 In Spite of Colorado Athletics Losing Money In 2019

Colorado athletics as a whole lost over three million dollars in 2019 according to the University of Colorado Athletics NCAA Financial Report. Consequently, the results of this report contribute to questions of if Colorado Buffaloes football can get back to relevance.

The Pac-12 has athletic programs that struggle financially, and it is due to the lack of support for the institutions themselves. Colorado is stepping in the right direction by providing Karl Dorrell with more resources. However, the Pac-12 as a whole still has a lot of ground to cover to match the resources available to the other Power 5 conferences in college football.

Dorrell Gets Paid, In “For the Long Haul” As Head Coach of Colorado Buffaloes

Karl Dorrell’s contract exceeds the likes of Chip Kelly and Mario Cristobal. Dorrell said the coaching the Buffaloes is a “dream job” and that “what (the Buffaloes) do on Saturdays will be a sight to be seen.”

Dorrell stated in his press conference that he was “in for the long haul”, which fans will rally around because of the way Mel Tucker left the program. Because of his Colorado ties, Dorrell wants to see the program become relevant again. He stated that he has a responsibility to “bring the (Colorado football) program to greatness”.

Karl Dorrell Hiring Has Positive Reaction From Colorado Football Greats

The UCLA Bruins made a bowl game in every season (2003-2007) Karl Dorrell was their head coach. Dorrell compiled a 35-27 record at UCLA. The Buffaloes got an experienced head coach, but 2020 will be the first season in 13 years where Dorrell is the head coach of a football team. With the increased pool to hire assistant coaches, Dorrell will have to utilize his resources effectively. He received praise from many Colorado football greats, including Broncos legends Ed McCaffrey and Mike Shanahan. Legendary Buffaloes receiver Michael Westbrook also weighed in on the Dorrell hiring:

Fans Should Feel Positive About Colorado Making a Good, Not Splashy Hire

There has been a generally positive reaction from fans, even though there are always those detractors out there. While Dorrell was not the splashiest hire, he has a track record of winning games as a college football head coach. However, UCLA fans desired more from his tenure. He was able to get his team to bowl games every season, which Colorado would gladly take. The Buffaloes have only one bowl appearance in the past 12 seasons. Fans want to see a winning football team in Boulder, and Dorrell will have a great opportunity to produce.

Fans may have wanted a bigger name, such as Steve Sarkisian, Bret Bielema, or Jim McElwain. However, grand success did not happen for them at USC, Arkansas, and Florida, respectively. Some fans were on the Darrin Chiaverini hype train, but hiring Chev seemed like it would have been too easy to do. With Dorrell, the Buffaloes got a commitment, which is exactly what the Buffaloes need at this point. Dorrell has been successful in both the college and professional game but has learned from the hardships he has had in his coaching career thus far. The Buffaloes wanted to make a good hire, not a splashy hire. They hired Karl Dorrell, who is committed to making the Buffaloes better for the long haul.

NCAA Addressed NIL Compensation Before the United States Senate

College basketball is in full swing! The NCAA and college basketball fans are gearing up for the March Madness tournament.  In the weeks to come, fans will fill out brackets predicting which teams they believe will make it to the Final Four. The NCAA again stands to generate a billion dollars from the tournament, which is the organization’s biggest moneymaker of the year. Fans will relish in the excitement of Cinderella teams and major upsets. The NCAA will undoubtedly be raking in the money. However, the NCAA will also be spending money as it continues its work behind the scenes to preserve the amateur collegiate model. The farce of amateurism is being challenged at every turn. The challenge currently gaining the most traction is those from several state legislatures with name, image, and likeness (NIL) compensation bills. 

States with Proposed NIL Compensation Bills

Several state legislatures have proposed legislation seeking to give college athletes the ability to profit from their name, image, and likeness (NIL) and to sign with agents. Last year, the state of California signed the Fair Pay to Play Act into law. Since then,  several other states followed suit proposing similar legislation. While the Fair Pay to Play Act will not take effect until 2023, two similar bills in Florida may become effective much sooner. Florida currently has two college athlete name, image, and likeness bills before its state legislature. One is before the house and the other one is before its senate. State lawmakers are not the only ones seeking to expand college athlete rights. The federal lawmakers are too.

Specifically, Congressman Mark Walker introduced the Student-Athlete Equity Act seeking to give college athletes NIL rights. Senator Chris Murphy released a series of reports detailing the myriad of reasons reform is necessary for college sports. All of these critiques of the current collegiate sports model have put the NCAA in the hot seat. The organization has been backed into a corner where it has no choice but the address the elephant in the room. In fact, the NCAA was forced to address that elephant at a Senate hearing last week. 

Name, Image, and Likeness Informational Podcast

The NCAA is in NIL Compensation Crisis Mode

The college athlete NIL compensation issue has taken the NCAA by storm. The NCAA is in full crisis mode. They have realized that there is a strong possibility that several states could enact different laws to address NIL compensation. The NCAA does not want that to happen. As such, the NCAA has turned to the federal government for help. In fact, the organization has spent big money in an attempt to persuade federal lawmakers in their favor. The NCAA and two conferences spent at least $750,000 last year lobbying federal lawmakers to make reforms that favor the current collegiate model. The NCAA is sparing no expense to preserve amateurism.

Amateurism is the notion that college players simply play for the love game and are not paid. The NCAA purports that amateurism keeps collegiate sports distinct from professional sports. They further purport that if college athletes were paid, fans would lose interest. The NCAA maintains that its rules prohibiting payment help ensure that college athletes are not taken advantage of. As such, college athletes are not allowed to receive any type of payment outside of their cost-of-attendance scholarship or other NCAA approved benefits. However, many feel that the NCAA and the collegiate sports system as a whole are in fact taking advantage of the very athletes they claim to protect.

Why is College Athlete NIL Compensation on the Radar of so many Lawmakers?

College sports are a billion-dollar industry. Coaches, athletic directors, and conferences commissioners receive million-dollar salaries. Conferences receive billions of dollars from television broadcasting contracts. Top ranking NCAA officials receive million-dollar and upper six-figure salaries as well. Meanwhile, the athletes are limited to their scholarship. College athletes keep very strenuous and demanding schedules to perform their sport. Most spend at least 40 hours per week on athletically related activities. Despite their major time investment, they are not allowed to receive a bigger piece of the pie. A scholarship is valuable, however, the athletes deserve a bigger piece of the pie they generate for everyone else. It is for these reasons that lawmakers are working so hard to expand the rights of college athletes.

Last week, the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Manufacturing, Trade and Consumer Protection held a hearing on the name, image, and likeness matter in Washington, D.C. NCAA president Mark Emmert attended the hearing where he was questioned on the NCAA’s handling of a number of issues. Most notably he was questioned and criticized the NCAA’s handling of James Wiseman’s case.

Wiseman was suspended for 11 games for money that his mother received from Penny Hardaway. Wiseman’s mother took the money for moving expenses while Wiseman was in high school. At the time, Wiseman knew nothing of the transaction between his mother and Hardaway. The NCAA also ordered Wiseman to pay the money back. Due to the NCAA’s decision, Wiseman decided to leave college and prepare for the 2020 NBA Draft on his own. The NCAA’s unfairly punished Wiseman for something he had nothing to do with. 

The Senate Subcommittee Urged to NCAA to Swiftly Find a Solution 

In light of the NCAA’s poor handling of Wiseman’s case and several others in the past, several Senators did not appear to be overly confident that the NCAA would not drag their feet on the NIL compensation issue.  Emmert stated that he would work with the schools and relevant decision-makers to make a decision as soon as possible. However, Emmert also stated that the NCAA may need Congress’ assistance in developing a uniform manner to address the NIL compensation issue.

The NCAA desperately wants to avoid having several states with different NIL compensation laws. The Senators at the hearing urged the NCAA to quickly offer a solution to this issue. In April, the NCAA is expected to make another announcement about their plans for NIL compensation. Hopefully, it will be something meaningful for the athletes. Given the NCAA’s general reluctance to give athletes a bigger price of the pie, it seems doubtful. 

Colorado Buffaloes Football Left With Questions After Mel Tucker Leaves

Mel tucker Colorado Pac-12

The night of Tuesday, February 11, 2020, was supposed to be a typical Tuesday night. The Colorado Buffaloes football team thought their coach, Mel Tucker, was committed to the program. However, in a blink of an eye, Tucker was off to East Lansing, Michigan, to take over as the new head football coach of the Michigan State Spartans.

Mel Tucker stated his commitment over the weekend to the CU football program. He was one of the first names to be rumored in Michigan State’s coaching search. Mark Dantonio resigned on February 4. For the next week, the Buffaloes thought they were keeping their coach. However, the Michigan State athletic department then offered Mel Tucker a contract that would have been hard for anyone to refuse.

A double salary and more football resources were simply too much to pass up. Tucker started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Michigan State under Nick Saban. Michigan State has been in the news because of the Larry Nassar scandal among other controversies surrounding the university. Money talks.

Did The Pac-12 Financial Crisis Play a Part in Mel Tucker’s Exit?

Colorado Buffaloes Fans Have Right to Be Mad About Mel Tucker Leaving

Colorado fans have every right to feel cheated by Tucker. He reaffirmed his commitment to the Buffaloes’ program on numerous occasions in the week leading up to his hiring at MSU. He was spotted at a CU Buff Club donor event with a big smile on his face. The CU Buff Club has deleted that tweet, however. Tucker had a huge smile on his face in the picture.

Do not let that smile be deceiving, however. Leaving CU was very hard for Tucker, as he said in his statement when he accepted the Michigan State job. Fans still have every right to be hurt, disappointed, and frustrated because he had given them hope. There were many analogies made on social media for the abrupt way that Tucker left the Buffaloes the night of February 11. Fans and media were both distraught over Tucker leaving.

Recruits Show Commitment to Colorado Buffaloes In Wake of Mel Tucker Leaving

This shock will stick with Colorado Buffaloes fans for a long time, as it should. However, there were many within the recruiting class that affirmed their commitment to the Buffaloes for the upcoming season.

However, the players from the incoming recruiting class could be released from their national letters of intent. The players cannot just leave though. The school has to release the players from their letters of intent. The Buffaloes will probably grant requests due to the circumstances surrounding potential requests. It will be interesting to see which Buffaloes’ recruits stay and which may transfer. 

“No Transfer Portals in the Real World”

Back in 2019, after safety Aaron Maddox and tight end Darrion Jones entered the transfer portal and left the CU football program, Tucker made his most hypocritical claim during his time with the Buffs.

“There are no transfer portals in the real world,” he said.

This comment Tucker made completely legitimizes the harsh comments that have been tossed his way in the days following his decision to bolt for East Lansing. He transferred jobs, albeit to a job that was giving him significantly more resources. He bolted something he had committed to for the next five years. While coaches may take better jobs after a few years with a program, Tucker was able to get one after one losing season with the Buffaloes.

Where Do the Colorado Buffaloes Look For Their Next Head Coach?

Rick George, the Buffaloes athletic director, has stated he wants the next head coach to “share his commitment” to the Colorado Buffaloes. With a shared commitment, the common goal of getting CU football back to national relevance could become a reality. One coach that has shown that unwavering commitment is interim head coach Darrin Chiaverini. However, Chiaverini showed his struggles as offensive coordinator when Mike MacIntyre was the head coach in Boulder.

Other coaches the Buffaloes will look to consider for the job include Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy. However, it is tough to see Bieniemy leave a situation where he has Patrick Mahomes as his quarterback.

There are outside-the-box candidates, such as Jim Leavitt, the Buffaloes’ defensive coordinator during their 10-4 season in 2016, who might get consideration. Could the Buffaloes go as far as interviewing former CSU head coach Jim McElwain? The Buffaloes have not contacted him yet, and the CSU connection may stray the Buffaloes away from potentially hiring him.

The University of Colorado and the Value of Football

When Mel Tucker got his five-year contract with the Buffaloes, it was not unanimously approved by university regents. It is also likely that the next coach’s contract will also not be unanimously approved. While the concerns for football are real, it is a major revenue generator for universities.

Because of these concerns, the question of if Colorado Buffaloes football can become a powerhouse like they were in the 1990s, is a real one. Getting back to that standing is a long, arduous process that a new coach will have to take on. The next coach will have to show an unwavering commitment to the football program. Mel Tucker got Buffaloes fans enthusiastic about the program, and the next coach will have to carry that enthusiasm into the 2020 season and beyond.

College Football Bowl Game Participants​ Should get More Than a $550 Bowl Gift

College Football Bowl Game Gifts

It is that time of year again. College football playoff and bowl game season! The College Football Playoff (CFP) matchups are set. Bowl game matchups are set. There is a lot at stake during the college football post-season. Bragging rights for winning a bowl game, being crowned the CFP champion, and last but not least – MONEY. There are millions of dollars at stake for coaches, conferences, and schools. However, there is one group that is systematically left out of the financial distributions. That group is none other than the football players themselves. 

It is true that the NCAA permits bowl game participants to receive up to $550 in gifts. However, those gifts severely pails in comparison to the rewards that coaches, schools, and conferences receive. Right out the gate, the conferences of the schools that qualify for the College Football Playoff semifinal games receive 6 million dollars for each team. Conferences that do not have a CFP contender still have a chance to rake in 4 million dollars for each team that qualifies for a bowl game. However, this revenue barely scratches the surface of all of the money that is at stake. Let’s take a look at how much the coaches, schools, and conferences stand to earn during the college football post-season.

The CFP and Bowl Games are a Cash Cow for the Participating Coaches

Dabo Swinney $93M contract There's enough money to pay the players

Several college football coaches enjoy million-dollar salaries. CFP champion coach, Dabo Swinney, signed a 9.3 million per year contract for his base salary  Many more coaches enjoy salaries in the upper six figures. However, the college football post-season is the sweetest time of year for qualifying coaches. It is sweet because qualifying for post-season play demonstrates that the coach has led the team through a very successful season. It is also sweet because qualifying for post-season play equals sizeable bonus money for the coaches.

Coach Mack Brown at The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Take the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill coach, Mack Brown, for instance. He will receive $75,000 for the Tar-heels qualifying for the Military Bowl. This $75,000 is additional compensation on top of the $3.5 million he earns as an annual salary. Brown is not the only person on his staff who will be a bonus beneficiary. The Tar-heels assistant coaches will receive bonuses up to “two-twelfths of their annualized salaries”. Meanwhile, the football players will receive a compilation of arguably useless gifts up to $550 in value

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Coach Ryan Day at Ohio State University

Another coach who stands to make more in bonus money than most people make in a year is Ohio State’s Ryan Day. Day replaced Ohio State coaching legend, Urban Meyer, and quickly realized that he needed to make a name for himself. Make a name for himself is just what he did in leading the Buckeyes to the CFP for the first time since 2016. Day stands to earn an additional $450,000 in CFP bonuses. Per Day’s contract, he will earn $200,000 just for the Buckeyes making an appearance in the CFP. Day stands to make another $250,000 if the Buckeyes make it to the CFP semifinals.

However, Ohio State and Clemson are set to face off in the Fiesta Bowl. If the Buckeyes are successful in that game, Day will not receive $250,000 if the Buckeyes make it to the CFP semifinals. Instead, Day will receive $350,000 for “team participation in the finals of the College Football Playoff.” These are only the bonuses that two coaches stand to receive for post-season play. Every other qualifying coach stands to receive similar compensation. Meanwhile, the football players are left with arguably useless gifts totaling up to $550 in value.

Conferences and Schools Rake in the Cash from the CFP and Bowl Games too

Justin Fields Ohio State

Merely having a school qualify for the CFP semifinals or a bowl game earns a conference at least 6 to 4 million dollars respectively. There is so much money available to the conferences and schools from post-season play. Each conference with a school that qualifies for post-season play receives $300,000. Each qualifying independent school receives $300,000 as well. An independent school is one that does not belong to a conference like Notre Dame.

Additionally, each of the ten conferences receives a base amount of money. Conferences who participate in the Orange, Rose, and Sugar Bowl receive approximately $66 million for each conference. Conferences that do not participate in those bowls receive approximately $90 million in the aggregate that is dispersed as the conferences see fit. If Notre Dame qualifies, it receives $3.19 million as an independent school. The other three independent schools receive $1.56 million.

Furthermore, each conference with a school participating in the Cotton, Fiesta, or Peach Bowl or the CFP National Championship receives an additional $2.43 million to cover game expenses. This is a lot of money. Meanwhile, the football players receive arguably useless gifts totaling up to $550 in value. The schools do use some of the money to fund their athletic departments to make collegiate sports participation possible. However, there is still enough money that football players can receive more than $550 worth of gifts.

The Bowl Gifts Are a Joke in Comparison to the Coaching Bonuses and Revenue the Conferences and Schools Receive

Football players who participate in bowl games and the CFP are allowed to receive $550 worth of gifts. In the scheme of things, the gifts are arguably worthless and pails in comparison to the six-figure bonuses their coaches receive. Participants in the Peach Bowl will receive a $390 Vanilla Visa Gift Card, a Fossil watch, and a football. While a $390 gift card sounds nice, it is nothing for all of the hard work and effort players put into their sport. It is certainly nothing compared to the bonuses the coaches receive.

Participants in the Playstation Fiesta Bowl receive a PlayStation 4 Gift Package, a Fossil watch, an Ogio Shuttle Pack backpack, a history of bowl games book, and an Ice Shaker Insulated bottle. A PlayStation 4 is a nice gift. However, is it really that useful for a college football player who puts in 40 plus hours a week on football and has to study too? It would seem that sharing the revenue with the players would be a better option. However, that is not going to happen because of the NCAA’s farce of amateurism.

College Football Bowl Game Gifts

What if the NCAA, Conferences, and Schools Decided to Share the Revenue With the Players?

If the revenue was shared with the players it would provide a major financial boost for the players. This is especially true for players who come from disadvantaged situations. Such players often need extra money to make ends meet. Players who may need extra cash cannot even sell their gifts without fear of being declared ineligible for receiving an impermissible benefit like Terrelle Pryor. In 2010, Pryor was suspended for selling his sportsmanship award from the 2008 Fiesta Bowl. If the NCAA, conferences, and schools decided to share some of the revenue they could eliminate this problem for their athletes.

The NCAA could hold the money in a trust for the football players to receive after they graduate. They could provide financial planning seminars to help them manage the money and use it in a productive manner. This would help the players way more than a fossil watch ever could. With all of the money floating around college football post-season play, the players should receive more than a $550 gift.

Chase Young, James Wiseman NCAA Inconsistent Rule Enforcement

Chase Young James Wiseman

If anyone is still wondering why lawmakers are so interested in college athletes’ rights, they got their answer last weekend. The NCAA once again demonstrated how unfair their rules are and how they are inconsistently enforced when they declared college football’s and men’s basketball top players ineligible. Ohio State University’s (OSU) defensive end and Heisman Trophy contender, Chase Young, was declared ineligible just ahead of OSU’s game against Maryland. Similarly, the University of Memphis (Memphis) men’s basketball center, James Wiseman, was declared ineligible prior to their game against Illinois-Chicago.  

A reasonable fan may wonder why the NCAA would declare their top performers in their major revenue-producing sports ineligible? Did they get caught cheating on a test? Did they engage in illegal activity? Most would agree that if the answer to those questions is yes, the players deserve their punishment. However, that is not the case for Young nor Wiseman. Neither of them did anything clearly wrong. They were both declared ineligible for receiving financial assistance. Why would the NCAA  declare a “student-athlete” ineligible for receiving needed financial assistance?

The answer is simple. The NCAA’s primary motive is to protect the farce of amateurism. For the NCAA, that means making sure athletes are not given any benefit that is not NCAA approved. No matter how dire an athletes’ need is. Chase Young’s and James Wiseman’s cases are textbook examples of the NCAA’s commitment to their rules; even when it defies all logic.

Chase Young’s Case 

Young was suspended for accepting a loan from a family friend. He reportedly accepted the loan to pay for his girlfriend’s trip to watch him play in the Rose Bowl last season.  That is right, Young was declared ineligible for getting a loan from a family friend so that someone he cares for could be there to support him. Here is the real kicker: Young repaid the loan in April. The person who gave Young the loan is not a booster nor an agent.

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Despite those facts, the NCAA still suspended him. The NCAA felt it right to disrupted Young’s potentially Heisman Trophy-winning and record-breaking season to reaffirm their position on unapproved financial assistance. All Chase Young wanted was for his girlfriend to be there to support him while he gave his body to make millions of dollars for others. Young will serve a two-game suspension for taking a loan from a family friend and paying it back. Somehow, the NCAA believes that this is fair and is the right thing to do. It is precisely these type of decisions by the NCAA that makes lawmakers feel the need to get involved.

james wiseman

James Wiseman’s Case

James Wiseman’s eligibility issue stems from a rather complicated story. Here is the crux of his eligibility issue. Wiseman’s eligibility is in jeopardy due to an $11,500 payment that the current Memphis coach, Penny Hardaway, gave to Wiseman’s mother in 2017. At the time, Wiseman did not know about money. The money was intended to cover moving expenses when Wiseman’s family moved to Memphis.

However, this is not why the NCAA declared Wiseman ineligible. The NCAA declared him ineligible because they determined that Penny Hardaway was a booster due to a 1 million dollar donation he made to Memphis in 2008. The donation was made to fund the school’s Penny Hardaway Hall of Fame. Since the NCAA determined that Hardaway was a booster, the $11,500 that he gave to Wiseman’s mom is impermissible under NCAA rules.

According to NCAA rules, this would make Wiseman ineligible. However, the problem here is that the NCAA knew about the $11,500 payment. With that knowledge, the NCAA declared Wiseman eligible. For some reason, the NCAA has gone back on that decision and declared him ineligible. How is this fair? The answer is that it is not fair. James Wiseman’s case reaffirms how inconsistent the NCAA is in its rule enforcement. It is for this reason, that lawmakers have begun advocating for college athlete rights.

Wiseman’s Case is not Over Yet as he has Sued the NCAA

Wiseman has sued the NCAA and Memphis. He also obtained a temporary injunction on his suspension that has allowed him to continue to play. On Monday, the case will resume where Wiseman will as for an injunction to continue playing. If Wiseman is successful in this suit it could dire ramifications for the NCAA and their ability to enforce their eligibility rules.

The NCAA Continues to Prove that Legislative Action is Necessary

What point does the NCAA really think it is making by declaring Young and Wiseman ineligible? All the NCAA has done is further make themselves bad an unable to consistently enforce their rules. They have inadvertently strengthened the case for college athlete name, image, and likeness (NIL) compensation legislation. After all if Young had able to profit from his NIL he may not have needed the loan. As coaches’ salaries and television revenue continues to soar,  the NCAA cannot continue to justify its actions in cases like Young’s and Wiseman’s. The NCAA’s unfairness and inconsistency in its rule enforcement are precisely why lawmakers have gotten involved. Their involvement appears to be necessary.

4 Reasons Fans Should Read Senator Murphy’s Reports on the College Sports Industry

Senator Chris Murphy College Athletics Report

The start of the college football season is rapidly approaching. College sports fans are eager to cheer for their favorite teams in hopes that their team will qualify for a bowl game or make it to the College Football Playoffs. In the midst of the excitement of the upcoming football season, is the debate of whether college athletes should be further compensated. United States Senator Chris Murphy, of Connecticut, has authored two reports highlighting the injustices of the college athletics system. In the reports, Senator Murphy acknowledges the injustices of the college sports system as the rights issue that it is.

The current college sports system no doubt needs restructuring. The numerous academic fraud scandals and the NCAA rule violation scandals have made it immensely clear that the current system is flawed. Perhaps the most telling example of the need for change is the college basketball scandal that resulted in an FBI investigation and a criminal trial.

Change is Coming to College Athletics

Several state and federal legislators have introduced bills aiming to compensate college athletes in some way. One bill that is making serious headway is a bill in California entitled the Fair Pay to Play Act. The bill seeks to give college athletes in California the ability to profit from their name, image, and likeness by enabling them to garner endorsements. One may wonder why the issue of compensating college athletes is getting the attention of so many lawmakers. The issue is getting that attention because the issue of fairly compensating college athletes is a civil rights issue.

College athletes are being exploited. Everyone involved in big-time college athletics is getting rich except the athletes. Yes, college athletes receive an invaluable scholarship in return for their academic services. However, not all college athletes are able to get the most out of their academic opportunity. Many leave school without a degree and without an opportunity to complete their degree in the future. Many who do graduate, do not receive a degree in a worthwhile major.

Senator Chris Murphy Report

Senator Murphy released his first report entitled Madness Inc., How Everyone is Getting Rich off College Sports – Except the Players in March of 2019. He was prompted to write the report after he witnessed the unfortunate knee sprain injury Zion Williamson suffered when his Nike shoe fell apart during the Duke v. UNC game in February. Senator Murphy stated that Williamon’s injury for him “was the starkest example of a kid making lots of adults super-rich, who almost had his career ended without making a single dime.”

Late July, Senator Murphy released his second report. The report is entitled, Madness Inc. How Colleges Keep Athletes on the Field and out of the Classroom. The second report highlighted the reality of the “world-class education” that college athletes are supposed to receive in return for their athletic services. Both of Senator Murphy’s reports show that college athletes are not getting as good of a bargain as many may think. For that reason, every college sports fan should read Senator Murphy’s reports. Here are four takeaways from the reports that all college sports fans should know.

1. Proportionally Coaches Receive More of the Revenue than the Athletes

The first report highlights the stark imbalance between the revenue that college athletes generate and the amount of money that is actually filtered back down to them. The annual amount spent on student aid is $936 million, while $1.2 billion is spent on coaches salaries. There are 45,000 college athletes in schools that make up the Power 5 conferences and only 4,400 coaches. There are 65 Power 5 conference programs. Only 12 percent of all revenue goes to student-athlete scholarships, while 16 percent goes towards coaches salaries. In effect, the coaches receive more of the revenue than the athletes. This is not to say that coaches do not deserve to be compensated for their work, because they do. However, should they be compensated in greater proportion to the college athletes?

2. Spending on Lavish Facilities is out of Control and Provides no Long Term Benefit to the Athletes

Many schools have invested in overly extravagant and lavish facilities for their athletic programs. The report highlights the facilities at Clemson University (Clemson) and the University of South Carolina (South Carolina). Clemson built a $55 million facility that boasts a miniature golf course, movie theater, and bowling lanes. South Carolina’s facility has a video arcade and a sound studio for athletes to record their music. The most recent example of an overly lavish facility can be seen at Louisiana State University (LSU). LSU recently unveiled the $28 million renovations they made to their football operations building.

From the above picture and the aforementioned amenities, it is clear that spending on facilities has gotten out of control. How does a $55 million dollar building make an athlete better at their sport or in the classroom? Perhaps the athletes enjoy the facility a little while they are in college (if their strict schedules allow). However, there is no discernible long term benefit access to such facilities provides to the athletes once they leave college and begin their careers.

3. College Athletes are not Getting the Valuable Education that Everyone Thinks They are Getting

While many college athletes do receive a quality education, some do not. Many college athletes are not receiving the academic advantages that the general public is led to believe they are. Senator Murphy’s second report highlighted the story of Stephen Cline a former defensive lineman for Kansas State University. Cline wished to become a veterinarian but was forced into a less demanding major so that he could focus on football. The NCAA sells education as the bargain that college athletes get in exchange for their athletics services. However, many do not get it.

So many athletes are like Cline and are not encouraged to major in the subject of their true interest so that they may focus on their sport. Not everyone truly cares about the value of the education athletes receive. This was made abundantly clear when the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (UNC) sham course scandal was exposed. The NCAA chose not to sanction UNC, thereby showing their true commitment to ensuring each college athlete receives a world-class education.

4. When Examined Closely, it is Clear that College Athletes act as Full-Time Employees

The daily life of a college athlete is more akin to that of a full-time employee than a full-time student. Many college athletes are up at 5:00 am to report to 6:00 am practice, then to breakfast, then to class, then to another class. Before the athlete realizes it, it is time for a team meeting – another athletic-related activity. Hopefully, the athlete has some time to squeeze a shower and get some lunch in between. College athletes no doubt keep a rigorous schedule. 

Senator Murphy’s report highlighted a study conducted by the PAC 12 conference in 2015. The study found that college athletes averaged more than 50 hours per week on athletic-related activities. The report also highlighted the Northwestern University football team’s hearing with the National Labor Relations Board. During the hearing, the athletes revealed that they spent upwards of 60 hours a week on football-related activities. College athletes fulfill all of these obligations before they have had any time to think about their coursework. 

In order to be a full-time student, college athletes must be enrolled for at least 12 credit hours per semester. For each credit hour, students are expected to spend two to three hours outside of class studying. This means that students are expected to spend between 36-48 hours per week studying. How is a college athlete supposed to spend 48 hours per week studying and roughly 40 hours per week on athletics and be successful at both? 

Senator Chris Murphy’s Report Emphasizes that Fairly Compensating College Athletes is a Civil Rights Issue

As the college football season begins, college sports fans should take some time to read Senator Chris Murphy’s reports. Upon reading the reports,  they will better understand why there has been a surge in state and federal legislative involvement in ensuring equitable compensation for college athletes. Fans will realize that the debate is not just about money. It is about the restoration of civil rights to college athletes. Everyone should be able to profit from their own name, image, and likeness. College athletes generate billions of dollars each year for the NCAA, their school, and their conferences. College athletes should have a more equitable piece of that pie.

Dabo Swinney’s $93M Contract Proves College Athletes Can Be Paid

Dabo Swinney $93M contract There's enough money to pay the players

The myth that there is not enough money to pay the college athletes has been debunked once again! Last week, Clemson University made its football coach, Dabo Swinney, the highest paid coach in college football. The record-breaking contract will pay Swinney $93 million dollars over the next ten years. That is an average of $9.3 million dollars a year. Swinney’s deal beats Nick Saban’s contract with The University of Alabama that pays him $74 million over eight years. It also beats Jimbo Fisher’s contract with Texas A&M that pays him $75 million dollars over ten years.

Just under them is Jim Harbaugh (Michigan), Gus Malzhan (Auburn), and Kirby Smart (Georgia) each averaging $7 million per year. Even with these impressive salaries, people still argue that there is not enough money to pay college athletes. When coaches salaries and television deals for college football and basketball are considered, it is hard to fathom how people can continue to make this argument.

Why do People Still Buy The “Not Enough Money Argument?”

People continue to buy into that argument because they listen to words of coaches like Dabo Swinney. Swinney denounced paying college athletes in a statement where he alluded that doing so would give college athletes a sense of entitlement.

“We try to teach our guys, use football to create the opportunities, take advantage of the platform and the brand and the marketing you have available to you. But as far as paying players, professionalizing college athletics, that’s where you lose me. I’ll go do something else, because there’s enough entitlement in this world as it is.”

In reality, the only people that seem to be entitled is the coaches and the NCAA. They seem to be entitled to having young predominantly black talent perform their talents for essentially free. These athletes do this while receiving a scholarship and being precluded from receiving any other unsanctioned benefit.

While a scholarship is valuable, it pails in comparison to the benefits the coaches, college sports administrators, and NCAA receive. However, that is the paradox of the NCAA’s purported mission and the current college athletics system. Dabo Swinney’s stance on paying college athletes and his new contract is the ultimate demonstration of that paradox.

The Paradox of the Dabo Swinney Contract and the NCAA’s Mission

The NCAA purports to provide college athletes with an opportunity to participate in athletics while pursuing a college degree. The NCAA also purports to keep college athletics distinct from professional athletics. One reason that the NCAA does this is to protect college athletes from exploitation.

In reality, the NCAA has only maintained that distinction in regards to compensation of the labor force. The NCAA has made sure that college athletes do not receive any compensation remotely resembling that of a professional athlete. The NCAA even goes so far as to strip college athletes of their publicity rights preventing them from using their name, image, and likeness, as a condition of participation. Thereby ensuring that college athletes will not receive endorsement opportunities similar to those granted to professional athletes.

However, the NCAA has failed in maintaining a distinction between professional and college athletics in every other way. This evidenced by Swinney’s and other coaches’ contracts and the million dollar television deals. It appears that the NCAA only truly cares about making sure that college athletics is not professionalized to the benefit of the athletes. In reality, the NCAA’s mission and the allowance of contracts like Dabo Swinney’s is really a bit of a paradox. It is a paradox in the fact that the NCAA claims to protect college athletes from exploitation while at the same time allowing their talents to exploited by college sports officials who make millions of dollars from the athletes’ labor.

Perhaps Swinney Would Leave if College Athletes Were Paid

In his statement, Swinney stated that if college sports were professionalized that he would “go do something else.” What he failed to acknowledge is that college sports in already professionalized to his benefit as can be seen in his contract. Perhaps Swinney would go do something else if he was forced to share some of the wealth and coaching college football was no longer a $93 million dollar cash cow. One thing is for sure, there is definitely enough money to pay college athletes.

How the NCAA Tournament Generates Billions From March Madness

NCAA Tournament generates billions for coaches bonuses from March Madness

March Madness 2019 is in full swing. The NCAA’s cash cow basketball tournament started on March 19th and is slated to make billions in revenue. The NCAA tournament has college basketball fans abuzz about who will be this year’s victor. In the midst of all of the excitement, the NCAA continues to face well-deserved criticism for its exploitive college athletics system. Even famed sports broadcaster Dick Vitale weighed in and stated that he believes that it is time that college basketball players get paid. Well-respected industry leaders addressing the injustices of college basketball’s premier event leads one to seriously question just how much money is at stake in March Madness?

March Madness is the NCAA’s Cash Cow

2017 was a monumental year for the NCAA. It was the first year the NCAA cleared one billion dollars in revenue. That is right the NCAA, a non-profit organization, cleared one billion dollars in revenue. Where on Earth did all of that money come from?

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The Bulk of the Money Comes From Marketing and Television Rights for March Madness and a few Other Sources

A huge chunk of the NCAA’s revenue comes from its broadcasting deal for March Madness. In 2016, the NCAA extended their contract with CBS Sports and Turner, a division of Time Warner, for the broadcasting rights of the Men’s March Madness basketball tournament. The extension, which runs through 2032, added 8 years and 8.8 billion dollars to the original contract. Essentially, the new deal will pay an average of 1.1 billion dollars per season.

As a result of the contract extension, the NCAA made $817,517,801 from television and marketing rights fees in 2017. Also in 2017, the NCAA made $128,113,594 from ticket sales, concessions, parking, and other tournaments such as the National Invitational Tournament (NIT). The average price paid for tickets in 2018 was $1,845 for the full Final Four experience and a mere $1,010 for the championship game only.

From these numbers, it should be clear why Dick Vitale and college athlete rights advocates contend revenue generating athletes should be paid. Clearly, there is enough money. Without the athletes, the NCAA would not have a product to negotiate a deal like the one with CBS Sports and Turner. Fans tune in to see the best of the best compete. That very fact is what gave the NCAA the leverage for that billion dollar deal.

NCAA tournament television revenue coaches bonuses

The NCAA is not the Only Beneficiaries – Colleges, Conferences, and Coaches Benefit too

The Big Payday for Colleges and Conferences

After the net is cut and the trophy is presented, colleges and their respective conferences await a big payday. A portion of the March Madness revenue is paid out to the colleges and conferences. Colleges use the money for a variety of things, including scholarships and funding for non-revenue sports. Division 1 conferences get the bulk of the money. The NCAA considers a variety of factors when distributing the money. Those factors include support of non-revenue sports, performance in the tournament over six years, and the number of full-rides given to athletes.

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In 2016, the Big 10 received the biggest payout at $57,540,348. The Western Coast Conference came in at number ten on the list at $8,192,085. The conferences funnel the money down to the schools. The largest payment to a school came in 2016 when Stanford University was paid $3,250,544. From these numbers, is it is clear why the debate regarding payment for revenue-generating college athletes is such a hot topic. Clearly, there is enough money. 

Coaches Receive Huge Bonus Incentives

Similar to Division 1 college football coaches receiving bonuses for bowl game appearances, Division 1 college basketball coaches receive bonuses for March Madness appearances. Basketball coaches receive bonuses for merely advancing to the tournament. Some even receive a bonus for a victory in the first round of the tournament. The bonus incentive increases as the team progresses to each level of the tournament. The levels include the Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight, and the Final Four.

If Arizona State’s head coach Bobby Hurley won the 2018 title, he would have received up to $1.4 million in bonuses above his base salary. The simple fact that $1.4 million in bonuses could have been paid to Hurley for coaching a winning team totally disproves the argument that there is not enough money floating around to pay the athletes. Clearly, there is enough money.

March Madness is Big Business for Everyone Except the Athletes

It appears that everyone, expect the labor force is able to profit from March Madness. Everyone from the NCAA down to the locales where the games are held rake in millions of dollars from the tournament. Even the least watched games will generate millions of dollars for their universities. However, the players will be limited to their scholarship. For the next few weeks, fans will be bombarded with March Madness ads using the likeness of athletes who would be guilty of NCAA violations if they individually promoted that same image. This is March Madness, the NCAA’s billion-dollar cash cow.

Update: Alston v. NCAA: Amateurism on Trial for Violating Anti-Trust Law


The NCAA will stop at nothing to preserve its beloved “amateurism.”  This article is an update to the initial details of the Alston v. NCAA case detailed on the Unafraid Show. The NCAA demonstrated this last week with the parade of witnesses they called to defend their bedrock principle of “amateurism” in the Alston v. NCAA trial.  In Alston, former college athletes sued the NCAA to have the cap limiting athletic scholarships to cost-of-attendance removed.  The Plaintiffs argue that the cap is a violation of federal antitrust laws.  Each witness offered justifications in support of the NCAA’s assertion that the cap is necessary to protect “amateurism” and to help “student-athletes” become apart of the greater campus community.

There was a recurring theme amongst the NCAA’s witnesses.  Almost every witness argued that removing the cap would have a detrimental effect on college athletics.  However, many of the witnesses failed to offer any hard evidence of that assertion.  They relied on their opinions, which are not sufficient in this antitrust case.  The issue of whether removing the cap would have a detrimental effect on college athletics is the main issue in the case. Therefore, arguments for and against must be supported by expert testimony and/or quantitative data.

NCAA Witnesses in Support of “Amateurism”

The NCAA called several witnesses who offered complex testimony that addressed a variety of issues.  The following are highlights from a few of the testimonies.

Rebecca Blank’s Testimony

First, the NCAA called Rebecca Blank, the Chancellor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison (Wisconsin).  Her testimony was fascinating as it will likely do more harm than good to the NCAA.  While Blank testified that “student-athletes” should not be paid, she also criticized how much coaches are paid.   She stated that it was “unfortunate” that the cap on coaches salaries’ was removed and asserted that the high salaries make the programs look bad.  This assertion made Blank appear to not fully support the NCAA’s and Power 5 conferences’ model.

Relatedly, Blank testified that if “student-athletes” were paid, Wisconsin would reconsider its participation in college athletics. Wisconsin issued a statement the very next day that completely undermined Blank’s testimony. The statement made it clear that Wisconsin has no plans to stop offering college athletics.  Blank’s testimony and Wisconsin’s response makes the NCAA and the Power 5 conferences look disjointed. Furthermore, Blank failed to offer any quantitative evidence to support her assertion that loosening the cap would negatively affect college athletics.

Michael Aresco’s and Eugene Smith’s Testimonies

Similarly, American Athletic Commissioner Michael Aresco testified that the rules capping scholarships are necessary to help smaller conferences like his compete.  He argued that the cap ensures that the “big” schools cannot recruit all of the talents.  This argument is flawed.  Even with the cap, it is generally the same teams in the football bowl games, in the college football playoffs, and in the later rounds of the March Madness Tournament. While Aresco’s testimony is more helpful than Blank’s, he too failed to offer any quantitative evidence in support of his claim that loosening the cap would negatively affect college athletics.

Accordingly, the athletic director at Ohio State University Eugene Smith testified.  His testimony was generally helpful to the NCAA.  He pointed out that not all college athletes will play professionally and that they need to be prepared for that reality.  Smith acknowledged if college athletes were paid there would still be fans, although there may be less.   He also asserted that donors might be less inclined to donate.

What is Next in Alston

On Monday and Tuesday of this week, each party presented the rest of their witnesses.  The trial ended on September 25.  Each party will submit a written closing argument to the judge.  The judge will then take some time to review and then issue a ruling.  After the ruling is issued the parties will have the option to appeal to the federal appeals court in the 9th circuit.  This case could possibly reach the United States Supreme Court.  Alston v. NCAA is extremely significant to college athletics.  If the plaintiffs succeed, it could completely change the world of college athletics.

Highest Bidder!: Coaches and Players Loyalty for Sale

While the USC faithful have been celebrating the firing of Lane Kiffin, few realize how many people are affected when the head ball coach gets his walking papers.
In my FIRST position meeting in Jacksonville, my tight end coach Alfredo Roberts introduced me to the NFL. He said, “When teams don’t win in sports, two things happen, coaches get fired or players get fired. The coaches just got fired, so guess who is next if we don’t play well.”. In the world of college and professional sports everything boils down to two things, winning/losing and money. Good players are released or traded because they make too much. The NCAA continues to find additional revenue streams to make money from athlete’s likeness. Coaches aren’t fired because they have too many years and too much money left on their contract.
Ever wonder why coaches win and continue to ask for additional years to their contract? Head coaches typically have a guaranteed contracts, unless they get fired for “cause”. FYI, losing is not “cause”. You have to pull a Bobby Petrino (Arkansas) or Mike Rice (Rutgers) to get fired without pay. The head coach gets all the praise with wins, and all the blame when you lose. But, it is nice to be the head man because when you get fired with years left on your contract, you have a golden parachute. If I were a head coach, sign me through the 2025-26 season.
When coaches like Lane Kiffin, Norv Turner, Rick Neuheisel, or Lovie Smith don’t live up to

expectations and are fired, they leave with some financial security. They often have assistant coaches who are doing a great job, but they typically get thrown out with the head coach. You could be the best tight end coach in the world, but when the head man goes, so do you.

Assistant coaches and their families are affected the most. Most assistants make peanuts compared to the head coaches salary.  Even when the head coach doesn’t get fired, they often change assistants through the years (for various reasons). There is NO job security. Assistant coaches are typically journeyman until they get the job security of being the head coach. Most never achieve their dream, and are tied to finding job with the guys they have worked with in the past who get jobs. Their families are drug across country searching for stability and their dreams to come true. As much as assistant coaches love the game, they are no different than any other husband/father. They are using their particular set of skills to provide a comfortable, and stable life for their families. Since 1999, when I graduated high school, Alfredo has had a job every year because he is a GREAT tight end coach, but has made stops at Florida Atlantic, Jaguars, Browns, Buccaneers, and is currently at the Colts. He has a wife and kids, but the only roots he can put down are the roots on his coaching tree. Imagine every year, win or lose, not knowing if you will have a job. Imagine the stress it puts on your wife, children, friendships, and families to move from place to place for years, just hoping for the day you land the big job.
According to USA today, “The average major-college football assistant coach now earns roughly $200,000, a USA TODAY Sports analysis finds”. The list of the top 124 college coaches 2012 salaries and their assistants totals is very interesting.
Next time you wonder why there is very little loyalty in sports, know why. If you were a coach would you be loyal to a program or team that will throw you out without notice? Or would you continue to look for the best available opportunities until you optimize your personal goals, and maximize your family’s happiness?
A pro coach’s dream career should look like this: Get a position as a quality control coach for an NFL team, do well and a position coaches job opens up on that staff, someone recognizes you as a young talent and you land a coordinator job, your offense/defense is tops in the league for 2 years, an owner takes a huge leap of faith and hires you NFL coaching job with not head coaching experience, win a bunch of games, win a Super Bowl, get a long term contract, get fired with 3 years left on your deal, ride off into the sunset and have fun being a grandpa, and hold seminars and mentor new young coaches.
A college coach’s dream: Get a position coach job in college, someone recognizes you as a young talent and takes a huge risk on you as a coordinator, you have great success and land a head coaching job at a mid level division 1, beat some big teams and go to bowl games, get a job a big school who has been struggling, build the school into a powerhouse, get a NFL coaching job, win a Super Bowl, get a long term contract, get fired with 3 years left on your deal, ride off into the sunset and have fun being a grandpa, and hold seminars and mentor new young coaches.
Coaches have to look out for themselves and do what is best for their families. That type of system trickles down to the players. So when your favorite player changes team, just realize it is part of the cycle. Loyalty is sports is bought, and it usually only lasts until someone else has a bigger, better deal for you. Is your loyalty for sale?