Jim Boeheim takes a stand against paying college athletes
Syracuse men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim has taken a strong stance against the idea that collegiate athletes should be paid. At a New York State Associated Press symposium on Wednesday, Boeheim addressed what has become the most hotly-debated subject in collegiate athletics over the past few years. In short, the 68-year-old feels that his players and others receive plenty of compensation.
“That’s really the most idiotic suggestion of all time,” Boeheim said, via The Post-Standard. “I think you have to understand something. It’s really very clear. This is really clear. … Our players get a $50,000 education. Some of them use Syracuse to develop their game, get the publicity they need, become a first-round pick and make money from basketball. Some of them like me get the scholarship, get the grades, get their education, get the chance to play basketball and then get to start life without any debt.”
Most people who feel that the NCAA should not pay its athletes agree with Boeheim’s assertion that a free education is payment enough. Those people certainly have a point. Students spend years paying off their debt when they graduate college, which is something athletes on a full scholarship never have to worry about. Boeheim also pointed out that the money generated by the basketball and football programs does not turn into profit.
“People say that they should be getting compensated because there’s 30,000 people in the (Carrier) Dome,” he said. “That money all goes to pay for basketball, pays for field hockey, pays for volleyball, pays for soccer. We make no money at Syracuse University in the athletic department. Zero. We’re lucky if we break even at the end of the year. The only reason we break even is because we’re subsidized in some way for scholarships and we use fund raisers. Our basketball program might make 12 or 14 million (dollars) but it all goes to pay for the other sports.”
As CBSSports.com’s Matt Norlander pointed out, Boeheim failed to address one important aspect of the debate — outside sources of income. Why can’t students receive money for autographs or endorsement deals? Olympic athletes are not paid by the IOC, but that doesn’t stop Michael Phelps from being able to appear in Subway commercials. Couldn’t the same system be put into place for collegiate athletics without having to burden the schools themselves?
“To answer your question, I don’t believe players should be paid,” Boeheim continued. “I think they’re getting a tremendous opportunity. If they’re really good, they get to develop. They get the opportunity to play in the NBA. They make a lot of money or they play in Europe and make a good amount of money. And if they’re not quite that good then they get free college education.”
You could make the argument that the 30,000 people buying a ticket to watch the Orange play at the Carrier Dome are paying to watch the team, not an individual player. However, that doesn’t excuse the NCAA making money off of an individual player’s name, which Jay Bilas so brilliantly proved is happening constantly. If the organization can make money off the name “Johnny Manziel,” why is it illegal for Johnny Manziel to make money off the name Johnny Manziel?