Tis the season of football coaches getting hired and/or extended with multi-year, multi-million guaranteed contracts that in many cases ensure that even when a coach is fired he is ensured of six figure monthly checks just for walking to the mailbox. In fact, according to an USA Today article published this week even assistant coaches pull in millions of dollars with Auburn Defensive Coordinator leading the way with a whopping $1.6 million!
Each year, this annual spectacle shows the world just how lucrative and big of a business major college sports (football and men’s basketball) has become. In fact, everyone associated with the College Sports Entertainment Complex is being justly compensated except for the actually individuals who generate the billions of dollars everyone else associated with the industry enjoys—the so-called student-athletes.
See, the NCAA unabashedly states that while the collegiate system is not amateur,the so-called student-athletes (i.e. workers) are amateurs and therefore not allowed to make money off their labor. Further, neither the NCAA nor its member institutions pay any taxes on the billions of dollars generated by the games, TV contracts, licensing, apparel and merchandising sales, concessions, luxury suites, and donation by boosters and fans. All of this allows universities to offer and pay coaches highly lucrative seven figure guaranteed contracts as highlighted in the New York Times article entitled Contracts for Top College Football Coaches Grow Complicated.
Now let be clear: I don’t have a problem with top coaches making top dollar. Why? Because the coaches EARN every penny they receive through hard work, long hours, and raising tons revenue and prestige for their university. My issue is since student-athletes work just has hard, work just as many hours, and bring in just as much if not more revenue and prestige to the university as their coaches. So, I see no reasonable justification for denying student-athletes a equitable share of the revenue they produce which is enjoyed by everyone else associated in the, and neither does most coaches when asked about the issue.
Damario Solomon-Simmons, Esq., M.Ed., a former University of Oklahoma football player and member of Oklahoma’s premier law firm RiggsAbney. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or @solospeakstruth.