Posted: 2:33 pm Tuesday, May 31st, 2011
By Matt Porter
With the news of Ohio State head football coach Jim Tressel’s resignation, the issue of college football players being paid or receiving other benefits has come into focus.
Tressel stepped down after it was discovered some of his players broke NCAA rules by trading jerseys and other memorabilia for cash and tattoos. High school football players in Palm Beach County were asked to put themselves in their shoes.
Boynton Beach offensive lineman Jessamen Dunker, a Florida Gators commit, told the Wall Street Journal this morning he’d like to see schools offer “a little pocket change.” How much? $5,000 a semester, Dunker said.
Dunker told The Post he’d use the extra cash to “buy clothes, hang out, go to theme parks. Things like that.”
Dunker wasn’t the only recruit who thinks athletes should get paid. The Wall Street Journal quoted Morton (Miss.) defensive tackle Quay Evans as saying $200,000 a year would be an appropriate sum. “We work hard,” Evans told the WSJ.
We polled several Division I recruits (and a few coaches) from the area, asking the same questions: Do you think college football players should be paid? If so, how much, and why?
Their responses were varied.
Fort Pierce Central defensive end Giorgio Newberry said players “most definitely” should be paid because it would eliminate some of the shady middlemen surrounding college athletics.
“Look at it like this. The schools are making millions of dollars a year and the athletes are the ones who are making it not receiving a dime for it,” Newberry said. “That’s kinda messed up and whether you realize it or not a lot of these athletes were not born with silver spoons. A lot come from poverty. That’s why they’re getting in trouble with all these agents. I could go on for days about this situation.”
Former Santaluces defensive back Terrance Floyd, a Wisconsin signee, is satisfied with the education he’s about to receive. “Well in my case, no, because I have a full ride so that’s like getting paid,” Floyd said.
Former Park Vista running back Tre Mason, an Auburn signee, said players should not be paid because it would take the focus off football. “It would likely turn into more things such as cars and players would only play to receive free stuff and not actually win or try to get into the NFL,” Mason said.
Former Park Vista OL Cody Preble, a Wake Forest signee, joked that “they already are at Ohio State” but said it would be unfair to pay just one group of student-athletes.
“If they pay football players, schools would have to pay all collegiate athletes and it would be unfair because some schools would be able to pay more than others,” Preble said. “If kids wait to be paid so bad then they need to go to the military academies.”
Former Dwyer defensive end Shubert Bastien, a Middle Tennessee State signee, says college football players don’t have enough time to work a job, so they should be paid a low wage to make ends meet.
“It’s necessary, due to the fact that college football cripples the needed hours in college life for a job,” Bastien said. “It’s a year-round sport involving the training and conditioning which compact your daily schedule.”
Jupiter Christian coach Bill Powers said players should not be paid. “The free education is more than enough,” he said.
Boca Raton coach Keith Byars, an Ohio State alum and close friend of Tressel, had plenty to say about the resignation of his former college position coach. (Click here to read his comments.) He said college football players should be paid “at least $200″ a month.
“[Colleges] say they’re giving a kid an education, but what is he giving you? What are you taking from him? The BCS and colleges, they’re making a killing off these players,” Byars said. “Nobody’s putting money in those guys’ pockets.”