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Billy Donovan: for athletes, lack of compensation ‘difficult to swallow’

Sep 12, 2013, 3:23 PM EDT

Billy Donovan head AP

While the focus of the latest scandals in college sports have all been football — Johnny Manziel’s autographs, Sports Illustrated’s Oklahoma State exposé, Yahoo’s story on a former Alabama player turned runner for an agent — the crux of the discussion that’s been generated is very much pertinent to college basketball as well.

Should collegiate athletes be paid?

If you read this site, than you know where I stand on the issue. Amateurism is a fraudulent concept rooted in preventing working class people from playing sports in England in the 1800’s. (I might as well just link Dan Wetzel’s column from yesterday, because he lays it all out for you.)

It’s a major talking point in college athletics, and last month, Billy Donovan addressed it while speaking at Capital City Area Gator Club in Tallahassee.

From Kevin Brockway of the Gainesville Sun:

“There is a feel by a lot of families that here you have these huge athletic departments, you have arenas, stadiums filled up and these kids are told, you can’t go out and you can’t take a free meal, you can’t take anything,” Donovan said. “A lot of times for those kids, I think it’s very difficult to swallow that.”

Donovan later touches on the idea of limited earning potential and careers that rarely last into an athlete’s mid-30s and can be cut short any time they suit up. All it takes is one bad step to blow out a knee.

For the overwhelming majority of college athletes, a scholarship is a great deal. Free schooling (read: no student loans) and the chance to play a sport at the highest level? That’s awesome.

But a small number of stars having significant value while in college. For basketball players, it’s not a huge issue. Andrew Wiggins is going to spend seven months feigning being an amateur before he gets his millions. But Jadeveon Clowney has to watch three years worth of money end up in the pockets of the higher-ups at South Carolina and the suits at the NCAA.

If you think exchanging that money for a degree in a field that he will certainly not be going pro in is a fair deal for Clowney, than I don’t know what to say to you.

  1. unclemosesgreen - Sep 12, 2013 at 3:45 PM

    David Bowie:

    “And these children that you spit on
    As they try to change their worlds
    Are immune to your consultations
    They’re quite aware of what they’re going through.”

    Meanwhile, Jay Bilas forced the utterly shameless NCAA into ceasing their sales of Johnny Manziel memorabilia.

  2. packhawk04 - Sep 12, 2013 at 5:07 PM

    The minority of players who will be playing professional football dont make money in college. No college has boosters that pay players. Clowney hasnt seen a dime. If you truly believe that, i dont know what to tell you.

  3. lawson1974 - Sep 12, 2013 at 6:34 PM

    Rob, you and your history lesson are complete jokes. I hope you don’t seriously believe that players aren’t compensated.

    A 20,000 dollar a semester tuition, free books, free housing, three meals a day, paid for travel, free medical care, access to top notch training equipment. All of these items have a value. A value that extends far beyond what the average earned income is most every community in the country. They would also be considered taxable if it was given by anyone other than a nonprofit educational institution.

  4. dgbk - Sep 12, 2013 at 7:21 PM

    when u say paid travel u must mean paid travel to games, they are playin in for their school. to my knowledge a few players have got in trouble for takin plane tickets from agents. if their school paid for travel wouldn’t it make more sense to get it from their school?

  5. ramblingalb - Sep 17, 2013 at 10:06 PM

    $120-200K is hardly low compensation. What almost everyone pays for, they do not. I’m not sure how dense Rob and others are that don’t get it.

    Besides, they don’t have to go to college, none of us do. If they want to get a job, join the military, or pay for school at No Basketball Tech, they are certainly welcome to.

    I’m not denying colleges make money on a couple sports, but they also field teams in a dozen or two dozen others that lose money. Those athletes get free tuition too, paid for by the public supporting the money making sports.

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