Johnny Football should be paid, Spurrier believes

Screen Shot 2013-09-10 at 9.44.52 PMThe Johnny Manziel controversy caused some to wonder if perhaps college kids who risk valuable body parts to play football and earn millions for their school deserve some compensation.

Here’s a shocking notion:  What’s immoral about what Johnny Football says he didn’t do?

Seems like good honest capitalism to me.

Let’s say he did sign 4,000 autographs and was paid for some of them.  If he got a dollar for each, I say that’s a big-hearted young man.   Have you ever wondered how much fun it is to sign your name a hundred times in an hour?   If your handwriting is like mine you know lots of uncomplimentary things will be said about you and your autographing skills.

Maybe for years and years.

What is your reputation worth?

One of the most boring things I’ve ever done was sign all the papers for a house sale.  I can imagine what Johnny was doing was no more fun than that, constantly penning his name.

So shouldn’t he be paid for his time and effort?

Steve Spurrier says yes.  And he says some NCAA administrators would approve of BCS athletes earning $4,000 a year.   In a wide-ranging interview for CBS Sports Network, the coach of the South Carolina Gamecocks laid out a case for paying athletes, not by autrograph seekers representing corporate interests, but by the universities themselves.

“Most of the football and basketball players come from lower-income families,” Spurrier said, though noting Manziel was not one of these.  “And they could use four or five thousand bucks for the total year.  And the money’s there for them to have that.  I’ve even heard some of the commissioners talk about how we need to do this.  Hopefully it will happen real soon.”

The Ole Ball Coach, as he has styled himself, is 70 and has never looked better.   He not only is good for a round of golf, he looks like he could do a round in the ring.

He’s one of the most successful coaches in college ball, has won a national championship and seven SEC titles.  His words deserve attention.

Spurrier cited the proliferation of television channels and the vast sums of money going into the athletic departments.  And also going out.

“The TV money is unbelievable,” he said.  “They made a billion dollars off of March Madness.  .  . .  The coaches are making lots of money.  Assistant coaches are making a million dollars in some places.  We’d like to share a little bit of it with the performers, the players.”

He does not expect the smaller schools to pay $4,000 a year to each of their football players.    “The commissioners are talking about separating the BCS conferences,” he said, “because the amount of income that comes to those schools is so much different from the other schools.  The smaller schools cannot afford to do this.”

But large universities like Texas A&M that want autographs for alumni donors should be more generous with their support of the student-athletes.   As Spurrier pointed out,   “The money’s there to help our guys live a little better than they do now.”

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