Differing compensation under a corrupt — but entertaining — system

college_football A frequent topic on this blog has been the NCAA and its member institutions’ corrupt regulation of intercollegiate sports.

It’s an entertaining system of corruption, but corrupt nonetheless.

Particularly appalling is the NCAA’s restriction of compensation to football and basketball players, who are the people who actually generate most of the wealth for the university athletic programs.

In that regard, a couple of news items from yesterday highlight the absurdities that often arise from this perverse regulatory scheme.

First, the University of Texas announced that it has increased the annual salary of its head football coach, Mack Brown, to a cool $5 million.

Now, Brown is a good coach who has done a fine job over the past 12 seasons at Texas. And he is a wonderful man who is a great representative for the University of Texas.

But the only way that UT can rationalize or afford to pay him $5 million per year is that it is not paying a portion of its football income as compensation to the players who create the income in the first place.

By way of comparison, in the National Football League — which is simply a higher level of professional football than big-time college football — very few coaches earn $5 million per year despite the fact that NFL franchises generate far more income than UT’s football program does.

One of the primary reasons that NFL teams do not generally pay such amounts to their coaches is that a substantial portion of the each NFL team’s income is paid to players as compensation.

So, to put it bluntly, Brown makes $5 million annually because UT and the NCAA prevent Longhorn players from receiving fair compensation for the considerable risks that they take.

Meanwhile, excess regulation almost always generates creative efforts to get around those regulations.

Thus, many big-time college football programs provide indirect compensation to their athletes through exclusive use of luxurious "resort" facilities, such as private housing, elaborate workout centers and special academic services.

But those elaborate resort facilities all look alike after awhile.

So, what additional form of indirect compensation can a football program offer to attract the best athletes?

The University of Tennessee has apparently came up with one by utilizing upon one of the oldest forms of compensation known to man.

The NCAA Rules and Regulation Manual already rivals the Internal Revenue Code in terms of length and mind-numbing detail.

Perhaps the Tennessee investigation may at least result in a new section of the NCAA Manual that the football coaches and college administrators might actually enjoy reading?

2 thoughts on “Differing compensation under a corrupt — but entertaining — system

  1. “So, to put it bluntly, Brown makes $5 million annually because UT and the NCAA prevent Longhorn players from receiving fair compensation for the considerable risks that they take.”
    What is your definition of “fair?” No one is requiring the athletes to attend any school or to play any sport. Rather, they are given a free education in exchange for their services.
    Now, while the income to the athletic program is admittedly far greater than the income to the athlete, the athlete is unquestionably willing to serve the apprenticeship (if you will) in order to either a) have an opportunity for professional advancement as an athlets or b) obtain an education so they can obtain greter professional opportunities in the private sector at a later date or c) play college sports for pure enjoyment of the experience. In all circumstances, the athlete seems to believe the exchange is “fair” because the athlete enters into the agreement willingly will full rights to withdraw from the agreement at any time.
    Life isn’t “fair.” Trrying to legislate “fairness” in all aspects of life is a fool’s folly, most often pursued by liberals, socialists and misguided individuals.
    If people want to introduce some element of financial equity into college sports, the push should be to eliminate restrictions concerning what age any individual can enter into professional sports (if Michell Wie could turn pro in women’s golf at age 14, why do we have age restrictions on other professional sports?). Competition for the best athletes would ensue and the more talented athletes would be free to obtain higher compensation.
    At the end of the day, the answer to problem you pose is not greater legislative involvement, but rather less legislative involvement. Remove artificial barriers and allow all individuals to seek the highest compensation the marketplace can offer.

  2. Charles, I am not suggesting more legislative involvement. I am simply advocating that the universities be honest that their football programs are businesses and then do away with the perverse regulations that prevent the workers from receiving the compensation that the market will bear.
    You are correct that no one forces college football players to play college football. However, the current regulatory system — which is supported by the NFL and the Canadian Football League — prevents young players from earning compensation for their talent before reaching a certain age.
    As a result, unless the player will take the risk of having his skills diminish (and his ultimate compensation reduced) while he awaits to reach the age in which he can play professionally, the player really has no choice but to submit to the current anti-market regulatory scheme.

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