NCAAF  > General NCAAF  > SI Cover story about paying players
October 14, 2010, 08:40 PM
For those of you who have not seen/read the latest edition of SI, there is a story about an agent (who confesses) to having paid players during the '90s... the list is pretty substantial - Kanavis McGhee, Chuck Webb, Carl Greenwood, Othello Henderson, Jamir Miller (No. 10 pick in 1994 NFL Draft), Matt Soenksen, Chris Alexander, Bruce Walker, Jonathan Ogden, Singor Mobley, Tony Banks, John Rushing, Ryan Fien, Joel Steed, Torey Hunter, Greg Thomas, Delon Washington, Darick Holms, Phalen Pounds, Rob Waldrop, Ryan Leaf - The agent also says that after an NFLPA rule change in 1999 - which said players who took money in college would no longer be required to pay it back - things have gotten even worse. Opinions?
October 14, 2010  08:46 PM ET

He also claims that Santonio Holmes admitted to taking money from an agent during a 2005 meeting, and that one of the agents he worked for would have meetings with college players and use Mel Kiper to help push them into signing with him. The story - they were meeting with Willie Howard (Stanford), and his employer had arranged to have Mel call during the meeting and say a spoonfed line. He said "I'm sitting here with the best defensive player in the college game" and Mel said "You must mean Willie Howard!" Apparently this was a recurring event.

October 14, 2010  08:59 PM ET
QUOTE:

The agent also says that after an NFLPA rule change in 1999 - which said players who took money in college would no longer be required to pay it back - things have gotten even worse. Opinions?

I suppose if the NCAA hadn't stomped on USC, it would promise to get even worse. I don't know if the USC sanctions are much of a deterrent to the players, but I'm guessing the schools are better motivated to watch for signs of agent/player contacts and deal with them proactively.

October 14, 2010  09:32 PM ET
QUOTE(#1):

He also claims that Santonio Holmes admitted to taking money from an agent during a 2005 meeting, and that one of the agents he worked for would have meetings with college players and use Mel Kiper to help push them into signing with him. The story - they were meeting with Willie Howard (Stanford), and his employer had arranged to have Mel call during the meeting and say a spoonfed line. He said "I'm sitting here with the best defensive player in the college game" and Mel said "You must mean Willie Howard!" Apparently this was a recurring event.

Mel Kiper was on ESPN radio this afternoon talking 90 miles per hour. He didn't deny talking to any player but he did deny that it was a pre-arranged set-up between him and the agents.

The problem is --- what person in his right mind would want to speak with Mel Kiper? Once Mel starts talking it ceases to be a conversation. His lips are always moving.

October 14, 2010  10:01 PM ET

I can't even really comment. I'm just....ug.

October 15, 2010  08:08 AM ET

Not sure this is a surprise to anyone. Again, my solution is to allow any NCAA athlete to borrow from an accreditied bank/credit union against future pro earnings. It would be out in the open, the players that are talented would get compensation for the money they bring to the schools, and no school would benifit more than any other. The currrent system is like the BCS-pretty on the surface but a joke once you look at it closely.

October 15, 2010  10:43 AM ET
QUOTE(#5):

Not sure this is a surprise to anyone. Again, my solution is to allow any NCAA athlete to borrow from an accreditied bank/credit union against future pro earnings. It would be out in the open, the players that are talented would get compensation for the money they bring to the schools, and no school would benifit more than any other. The currrent system is like the BCS-pretty on the surface but a joke once you look at it closely.

It's an idea. I don't know if you could get banks to loan as much money as what the athletes may be getting from agents now. Who is the guarantor on the loan? Agents are willing to take more risk with their money because the payoff for them can be huge. The banks would just be getting their money back plus a bit of interest.

I really don't see a good solution to this problem. I think it is very widespread and I hate to see one school get hammered for something that may be happening at every school.

I don't think having the schools pay players solves anything though people often suggest it. When have you ever not noticed that human beings want more money, regardless of how much they have? Schools paying players wouldn't do anything to reduce the incentive agents have to get players as their client.

The only solutions I see are (1) if the NFL put something like a death penalty(cannot play in NFL for player, or can't represent player for agent) for offenses. Don't see this happening.
(2) NCAA lets agents pay players. Fairly simple and would get things above board. NCAA would have to change a lot of bylaws, but i don't see the problem other than the issues as to how it ties into recruiting. I think the NCAA could more readily address that issue and enforce it. Not perfectly, but better than the situation we have now with agents running amuck.

October 15, 2010  11:15 AM ET

Just pay em. I know thats not a popular thought, but from my stand point and experience, they should be entitled to a piece of the pie they help make.

October 15, 2010  11:57 AM ET
QUOTE(#6):

It's an idea. I don't know if you could get banks to loan as much money as what the athletes may be getting from agents now. Who is the guarantor on the loan? Agents are willing to take more risk with their money because the payoff for them can be huge. The banks would just be getting their money back plus a bit of interest. I really don't see a good solution to this problem. I think it is very widespread and I hate to see one school get hammered for something that may be happening at every school. I don't think having the schools pay players solves anything though people often suggest it. When have you ever not noticed that human beings want more money, regardless of how much they have? Schools paying players wouldn't do anything to reduce the incentive agents have to get players as their client. The only solutions I see are (1) if the NFL put something like a death penalty(cannot play in NFL for player, or can't represent player for agent) for offenses. Don't see this happening. (2) NCAA lets agents pay players. Fairly simple and would get things above board. NCAA would have to change a lot of bylaws, but i don't see the problem other than the issues as to how it ties into recruiting. I think the NCAA could more readily address that issue and enforce it. Not perfectly, but better than the situation we have now with agents running amuck.

Your #2 solution would work well too. I think what you have to worry about a bit is the schools giving money directly to players (unless everyone gets the exact same amount) as that might give some schools a gross advantage.

With either banks or agents both are trained to evaluate risk and both wouldn't care if a player was from UF, USC, TCU, or Arkron. One thing is certain-if either method of payment was done there would be a fairly large spike in player insurance policies, as the banks/agents would have a big stake in the health and well being of projected NFL stars (it could even lead to items like a coach being sued if a player got hurt in the 4th QTR of a blowout game).

October 15, 2010  01:06 PM ET

spam bump

October 15, 2010  01:53 PM ET

I think that allowing players to draw an actual salary would cause more problems than it would solve.

However, allowing individual players to cut marketing deals seems reasonable to me. Let Landry Jones do Gillette commercials. Let Denard Robinson have a signature 'shoelace' line of Nikes. Lesser players could do local TV ads for car dealerships, etc. Every player could get a small check from EA Sports for using their likeness in the NCAA video games.

Yes, you would have huge disparities in income on the same team, but that's no different than in the NFL (or at my office for that matter).

Marketing deals could also have the benefit of encouraging players to keep their nose clean off the field. DUIs, bar fights and other negative publicity would hurt a player where he feels it.

October 15, 2010  01:59 PM ET
QUOTE(#10):

I think that allowing players to draw an actual salary would cause more problems than it would solve. However, allowing individual players to cut marketing deals seems reasonable to me. Let Landry Jones do Gillette commercials. Let Denard Robinson have a signature 'shoelace' line of Nikes. Lesser players could do local TV ads for car dealerships, etc. Every player could get a small check from EA Sports for using their likeness in the NCAA video games.Yes, you would have huge disparities in income on the same team, but that's no different than in the NFL (or at my office for that matter).Marketing deals could also have the benefit of encouraging players to keep their nose clean off the field. DUIs, bar fights and other negative publicity would hurt a player where he feels it.

I think I agree with you. I think you mean also that payments from agents to entice signing with them would be allowed as well. True?

October 15, 2010  02:03 PM ET
QUOTE(#10):

I think that allowing players to draw an actual salary would cause more problems than it would solve. However, allowing individual players to cut marketing deals seems reasonable to me. Let Landry Jones do Gillette commercials. Let Denard Robinson have a signature 'shoelace' line of Nikes. Lesser players could do local TV ads for car dealerships, etc. Every player could get a small check from EA Sports for using their likeness in the NCAA video games.Yes, you would have huge disparities in income on the same team, but that's no different than in the NFL (or at my office for that matter).Marketing deals could also have the benefit of encouraging players to keep their nose clean off the field. DUIs, bar fights and other negative publicity would hurt a player where he feels it.

That seems do able.

October 15, 2010  02:19 PM ET
QUOTE(#11):

I think I agree with you. I think you mean also that payments from agents to entice signing with them would be allowed as well. True?

On the surface, yes. However, players would need unbiased legal advice since in the case of agents they would be getting advance payments against uncertain (and possibly zero) future income.

I could see naive players getting into bad contracts and end up owing money on draft day.

With marketing, they are selling their current worth, not future worth. Jacory Harris may or may not ever get an NFL contract, but the kid is undeniably cool. He has market value as an endorser while at Miami, even if that market value fades after graduation. Let him reap the benefits while he can.

October 15, 2010  04:17 PM ET
QUOTE(#13):

On the surface, yes. However, players would need unbiased legal advice since in the case of agents they would be getting advance payments against uncertain (and possibly zero) future income. I could see naive players getting into bad contracts and end up owing money on draft day.With marketing, they are selling their current worth, not future worth. Jacory Harris may or may not ever get an NFL contract, but the kid is undeniably cool. He has market value as an endorser while at Miami, even if that market value fades after graduation. Let him reap the benefits while he can.

In a way owing money on draft day might be a good thing-if they ID money issues early then they have an entire pro career to overcome those issues. Probably not in most cases, but a few extra years of having to deal with tons of money might be helpful for some.

October 15, 2010  04:47 PM ET

I don't mind commercial money going to the players, but it has to be allocated to each player equally. About the time capitalism takes hold of the FBS, I'll become a fan of the FCS. Imagine all the grandstanding and self-promotion to compete for the marketing money. The show that is the NFL will take hold of CFB and that which we like most about CFB (besides the cheerleaders) will dissolve away.

October 15, 2010  05:02 PM ET

You start paying CFB then all you have done is create a minor league....and then the next question is should we pay HS players?

Gotta stop somewhere

October 15, 2010  05:36 PM ET

I wasn't talking about paying players, only that players could accept things from agents that is being done anyway. It can't be enforced fairly as it is. I was trying to think of a workable solution to this mess.

October 15, 2010  06:00 PM ET
QUOTE(#16):

You start paying CFB then all you have done is create a minor league....and then the next question is should we pay HS players?

Gotta stop somewhere

Why not pay HS players? Seriously.

Football and basketball are about the only human activities that place these restrictions on participants. Golfers, tennis players, computer geeks and everyone else in society are all allowed to earn money as soon as they are good enough to get paid.

Serena Williams turned pro at 14, Gretzky at 16, and Mozart at 5. The Olympics dropped amateur requirements in all sports twenty years ago: all those ski jumpers and pentathletes have corporate sponsors and earn prize money.

Michael Dell applied what he learned in his UT Austin business classes and started Dell Computer from his dorm room. I don't see how that is different from Garrett Gilbert applying what he is learning at UT to earn money while still a student--except that the NCAA has a huge tax incentive in keeping money away from Gilbert.

October 15, 2010  06:01 PM ET
QUOTE(#17):

I wasn't talking about paying players, only that players could accept things from agents that is being done anyway. It can't be enforced fairly as it is. I was trying to think of a workable solution to this mess.

+1 . With agents and/or banks the players are really just paying themselves if you think about it.

 
October 15, 2010  06:02 PM ET
QUOTE(#18):

Why not pay HS players? Seriously. Football and basketball are about the only human activities that place these restrictions on participants. Golfers, tennis players, computer geeks and everyone else in society are all allowed to earn money as soon as they are good enough to get paid. Serena Williams turned pro at 14, Gretzky at 16, and Mozart at 5. The Olympics dropped amateur requirements in all sports twenty years ago: all those ski jumpers and pentathletes have corporate sponsors and earn prize money.Michael Dell applied what he learned in his UT Austin business classes and started Dell Computer from his dorm room. I don't see how that is different from Garrett Gilbert applying what he is learning at UT to earn money while still a student--except that the NCAA has a huge tax incentive in keeping money away from Gilbert.

The best private FB schools kinda do this already with scholarships for good players.

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