By Ken Reed
Washington Post columnist Barry Svriuga started a recent column about the college football national championship game this way:
”[LSU and Clemson] boast coaching staffs that will be paid more than $27 million for this season alone. Even if you’re used to the largesse of college sports, chew on that number a bit. Then add up the amount earned by the opposing quarterbacks — marquee attractions Joe Burrow of LSU and Trevor Lawrence of Clemson — which would be $0 plus $0.”
Of course, LSU and Oregon players get a full scholarship, including tuition and room and board. That’s certainly nothing to sneeze at, although nowhere near their true market value. These days, players in the Power Five conferences also receive a “cost-of-attendance” stipend, which provides a little spending money. It’s been popularly dubbed “the pizza stipend,” because it can cover a couple pizzas a week for the athletes for who give their blood, sweat and tears for ol’ State U.
The College Football Playoff, made up of just four teams, annually generates approximately $450 million. A lot of that money ends up in the pockets of coaches. Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney is taking in $9.3 million this year. LSU head coach Ed Orgeron is getting by on $4 million this year, although I’m sure a big raise is coming his way after his team won the national title. Many coaches also earn bonuses for certain accomplishments. For example, every LSU assistant coach received at least a $60,000 bonus for winning the national championship. Three LSU assistants earned $100,000 each in bonus money.
Yes, the coaches are part of the product on the field, but they aren’t nearly as important as the players that put on the show. Anyone with a basic sense of justice and fairness knows the players that are primarily responsible for producing the product in this humongous enterprise (yes, big-time college football is big-time business, not education) knows the players deserve more than a seat in a classroom, a bed in a dorm and some food in the campus cafeteria.
The NCAA, via its amateurism myth, is perpetrating a classic case of economic and social injustice bred of a plantation mentality disguised by the term “student-athlete.”
Under the current model, as the NCAA takes in more and more money from its growing TV deals, the inequities in big-time college sports continue to worsen, not improve.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #17 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports With Legendary New York Times Sports Columnist Robert Lipsyte – We chat about Lipsyte’s amazing career and some of the athletes he covered and got to know well, like Muhammad Ali, as well as his relationships with fellow sports journalists like Bob Costas and Howard Cosell.
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Episode #16 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Andrew Maraniss: Outstanding Author of Books That Focus On the Intersection of Sports, History and Social Justice.
Episode #15 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Psychology with Dr. Tim Rice. We discuss the growth of sports psychology at all levels, the positive impact that a number of high profile athletes have had by opening up, and the importance of everyone involved in sports caring for the whole athlete, mind and body.
Episode #14 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Making Sense of the Injury Pandemic in Major League Baseball – Gary McCoy is a strength, conditioning and high performance coach who has worked with several Major League Baseball organizations.
Episode #13 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Conversation With Long-Time MLB Exec Dan Evans About What’s Right With Baseball and What Could Be Better – Evans is a former general manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers and is currently a consultant for Go the Distance Baseball, which owns the Field of Dreams movie site.
Episode #12 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Fun Chat With Dan Gutman, Author of the Baseball Card Adventure Series for Kids
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
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