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.