The League

Doug Farrar

Doug Farrar

A staff writer

Slotted salaries needed


First of all, it's totally nuts to assume that the players and agents are predominantly at fault for the NCAA's recent rash of infractions. The NCAA itself is mostly to blame for holding on to an asinine serf mentality when it comes to the compensation of its most financially valuable players. Conferences are making money faster than they can count it -- ESPN has a 15-year, $2.25 billion deal with the SEC to broadcast its sporting events, Mack Brown, Texas' head football coach, makes $5 million a year. Nick Saban of Alabama (who likens agents to pimps; a staggering hypocrisy in his case) clears almost as much.

These coaches are allowed to jump franchises with all the integrity of carpetbaggers anytime they want. Meanwhile, if the athletes who are responsible for that revenue accept so much as a free dinner outside the purview of their scholarships, they're punished for violating the terms of a "spirit" of amateur athletics that hasn't existed in decades. And if a kid wants to transfer to a different school, he has to sit out a year with very few exceptions.

So, the first thing that must be done to eliminate agent perfidy is to find a way to pay athletes a percentage of overall revenue received by every athletic program. If football and basketball make the most money, those players get the lion's share of the revenue split. Players are put on a per-year slotted salary scale that corresponds to those percentages. Pay could be based on starts, awards, performance incentives, postseason bonuses ... it would be a complicated system, but a fair one if handled properly. But let's get the whole "amateur" thing out of the way -- the top athletes among big-ticket programs in major college sports are simply underpaid professionals.

The next step is where the agents show up -- the transition from college to pro. And the best way to eliminate issues here is to extend the slotted salary scale to the NFL draft. This is on the verge of happening anyway; the NFLPA agrees that the salaries paid to high draft picks are out of hand, and the only problem right now is that the two sides can't seem to agree on what to do with the money left over that was not spent on the Sam Bradfords and Matthew Staffords of the future. If there is a sliding scale all the way from college to pro, agents would be far more interested in what they should be doing -- helping the players who have made it to their second and third contracts by dint of their NFL performances make as much money as possible.

By Doug Farrar  |  August 3, 2010; 1:25 AM ET  | Category:  College Football , NCAA , NFL Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Well, sure, but there's not a college Board of Trustees in the country that would approve this, nor a lawyer in the country who wouldn't sue the day it was implemented to get members of the women's teams paid exactly the same amounts on the same basis. (And would win the case easily)

The only school that could even think about affording this is the University of Texas.

The NBA and the NFL should be paying the colleges for shouldering their development costs. A million for each first round draft pick and less for later picks.

Or start minor/junior leagues of their own like baseball and hockey did a century ago.

Posted by: corco02az | August 4, 2010 7:16 AM

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