Longhorns Ready to Dole Dosh to All Student-Athletes
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The brave new world of college sports actually began in 1972.
That's when Title IX afforded equal rights to athletes of either gender.
Those of the apocalyptic persuasion claimed the end of college competition as we know it was near. And just like anyone -- anyone -- waiting for end of days of any sort must accept, that end didn't happen.
It won't happen when student-athletes get paid, either. But the latest morph is gonna be interesting. Texas has set the first standard, and it's $10,000 per player:
- $5000 will be for living expenses over and above what scholarships provide, and
- Another $5000 will be compensation for the Longhorns using their image for whatever purpose.
You can do this when you've got the richest athletic budget at the college level. That number at Texas is $60million.
What happens when a school is not Texas? It's called passing the costs along:
The NCAA has to run out of legal appeals on the O'Bannon case before Texas opens its wallet. That'll be a while. With the Kessler case soon to follow, who knows? We might even see an eight-team CFP bracket first.
Except for a select few schools, this development might force decisions on sporting priorities. For example, would the ACC finally accept that it is a basketball conference, get out of the Power Five arms race, and put most of its resources in hoops, lacrosse, and baseball? The Big Ten hockey programs would surely need to increase their budgets to keep pace with a specialized Hockey East Conference.
The ultimate scenario -- remote, but often cited -- would be if the richest schools decided to make athletics a top priority. Those would be the Harvards, Yales, MITs, Vanderbilts, Dukes, Virginias, Northwesterns, and Stanfords competing with Texas, Texas A&M, Michigan, Nôtre Dame, and USC in the wads of cash they could splash around.
Damn! Now that's a serious list with serious consequences for violations! NCAA, take note.
Ironically, most of thoe institutions on those lists make more money from their students and staff who conduct research for governments and corporations, who in turn reward more graduates than pro sports can with lucrative employment positions. Dumping more resources into their athletic departments would be a downgrade for their earning power.
The end of college competition isn't near. It's simply doing what all things do: evolving. Compare the 1930 football season to now. It's got a somewhat different cast, but stalwarts remain. However, it's also no coincidence that those teams are also listed among the richest schools.
Except maybe for the liberal arts institutions, students attend college to enhance their earning power in adulthood. All students. And those who are making money for the school by doing their bit for alumni and booster relations -- there are rich donors who wrestled, rowed, ran track or played volleyball, too -- deserve to be compensated for going above and beyond the call.
And Texas is the first to give this value some perspective.