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Mick Cronin sounds off on Big East realignment and defection of Catholic 7, says players should get paid

Dec 16, 2012, 10:28 AM EDT

Mick Cronin AP

With his Cincinnati program stuck in limbo after the defection of the Catholic Seven from the Big East Conference Saturday, coach Mick Cronin sounded on and subjects and frankly expressed his feelings toward realignment. He took time after his team’s win over Marshall to do so.

“I don’t blame them,” Cronin said of the departures, as reported by the Cincinnati Enquirer. “It’s a shame that football, one sport, has dictated all this and the money that one sport apparently is swinging around and swaying universities to make the decisions. We’re sitting here in a state where the state school is 800 miles from its closest road game. It’s ridiculous. Don’t tell me that people care about student-athletes.”

In defending his players, he continued.

“Lost in the shuffle in all this is our volleyball team, our soccer team, Marshall’s tennis team,” Cronin said. “It’s all ridiculous. Let’s call it what it is. I’ve thought about this long and hard and I’ve waited to say this. If it’s all about this much money and money grabbing, the players need to get paid.”

Cronin is the latest in a line of NCAA critics who have called for players to get paid, an idea that has seemed to gain popularity in recent years. But, with the win Saturday over Marshall, his team is undefeated and one of the top teams in the Big East.

For that reason, Cronin said, it is important to keep the focus away from realignment and more so on the basketball court.

“The only thing I can do for our university is do what we’re doing now: keep my guys focused and continue to show that we have an elite basketball program,” he told the paper. “It’s a shame that that’s the news instead of our team.”

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

  1. jaxhotspur11 - Dec 16, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    The players are getting paid. They are getting a free education.

    • arlingtonsynn - Dec 16, 2012 at 12:45 PM

      May I suggest you turn on a post game interview after an NBA game…. or Stephen Jackson’s twitter page.

      I had a better chance of understanding Yao Ming after his first year than some of these guys.

    • antoniomoltisanti - Dec 16, 2012 at 8:31 PM

      That’s peanuts compared to what the schools earn on them. They are getting straight-up exploited. If it were just for playing, that’s cool, but the NCAA owns basically all their rights outside of it. The NCAA is A MONOPOLY, same as the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB. The difference is that the NCAA abuses its position as a monopoly and grossly underpays its players.

  2. lowtalker - Dec 16, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    jaxshotpur77 is correct .. .how can anyone give a thumbs down to that comment? . . . . . . certainly not anyone that has paid for college for themselves or their children . . .are you telling me that athletes that go to Villanova, Xavier, Georegtown, St. Johns, Creighton, Duke, Stanford, Notre Dame, etc are not getting something of very significant value? . . . . . if you gave a thumbs down why don’t you go check the costs of tuition at those schoools or talk to someone that has paid tuition at one of those schools . . . .

    • LPad - Dec 16, 2012 at 4:21 PM

      I paid my way through college at a prestigous university and I voted hands down. They don’t get a free education. They get an education in exchange for a service to the university (in a way it isn’t much different than a work-study program where the university pays cash for service). If by increasing the amount of time they have to spend in delivering that service increases (for ex. longer road trips which equal less time on campus getting the education) while the amount of compensation (an education) does not increase or decrease in value than they should be compensated for the difference. If someone works more hours in the library or finacial aid office as part of the work study they get more money.

  3. LPad - Dec 16, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    I haven’t thought about this from a mileage/time perspective before. If players are spending more time on the road, then they are spending less time in the classroom or studying than they were ten years ago or thirty years ago. In theory, that free education they are getting is actually worth less.

    Getting a four year degree on average means you make a million dollars than you would without one, but let’s say you are a member of the Cincinatti tennis team and you’re not good enough to go pro. Did the education you receive worth less than that because of the travel commitments? For ex. you weren’t able to get an internship (that you would of had time if you were student athlete ten years ago) so you started at a lower salary than possible. If so, should you be compensate the reduction of value in your education given that the coach did not tell you the value of the degree we are offering is less than it was thirty years ago even though the coach did sell the historic value of joining the Cincinatti tennis team?

  4. woodyc - Dec 16, 2012 at 4:33 PM

    Should the women’s team get paid too, even if they have very poor attendance at their games, what about the volleyball team or the track and cross country team? They work just as hard as the basketball or football team but don’t get the same attention. Colleges with big time programs would be fine, but so many colleges probably couldn’t afford to pay players. Also, players are already getting an education worth thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. Paying college players is a bad idea.

    • LPad - Dec 16, 2012 at 5:58 PM

      That’s the point Cronin was making. Having the volleyball players travel at least 800 miles for a road gane is unfair and they need to be compensated for it.

  5. lowtalker - Dec 16, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    Lpad . . . . they get their education paid for that cost $40,000 or more per year . . .that isn’t enough?

    • LPad - Dec 16, 2012 at 6:15 PM

      Definitely not, for the money making sports. Basketball and football players get an education in exchange for making the university money. Yet, everyone else that get a scholarship is not making the university money. Essentially, one could argue that if Coach K gets paid more than the volleyball coach because the basketball program generates money. Then shouldn’t the basketball players get more in return than the volleyball players. And shouldn’t the volleyball players get more in return than the students that get a free ride on an academic scholarship since they do more for the university.

    • antoniomoltisanti - Dec 16, 2012 at 8:35 PM

      Not if the universities are making ten times that from each of them.

  6. louhudson23 - Dec 17, 2012 at 10:35 AM

    It seems that the coaches argument is being missed. When it was at least some effort put forth to call it college athletics ,replete with rivalrys,history,tradition and giving your all for the old alma mater,then the swap of school for play could be justified. But the sheer lunacy of the last 5 years has eradicated that argument. The addition of “outside teams to the ACC,and the abolition of the home and home was the first shot across the bow. The SEC adding T A&M and Missouri(gasp) was downright silly and the disbanding of the rich tradition of the Big East drove a stake through the heart of real college basketball. The only possible reason for any of these actions was purely to make money.Money on top of money. The players have every right to share in the plundering. I have never felt this was true,but it is clearly so ,now. I agree 100% with the coach.

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