Armour: Coaches’ talk about giving athletes more help now sounds cheap
The schools in the power five conferences haven’t even started cutting the checks yet, and already some coaches are moaning about how paying the full cost of attendance is going to give somebody else an advantage.
For years, coaches at the major football and basketball programs have been saying more needs to be done for their athletes. Sure, athletes get their education paid for. But that’s chump change when compared with the billions they’re generating for their schools and conferences through television deals, ticket sales, advertising, merchandise and donations.
When you consider that these “student-athletes” devote upwards of 40 hours a week to their sports during the season, it begins to look more like slave labor than a fair trade. Especially when those scholarships don’t even cover the full cost of attendance.
But it was one thing to champion the idea of giving athletes more when it was just that, an idea. Now that schools can cover the cost of attendance, beginning with the 2015-16 school year, some coaches are showing that, contrary to their claims, it’s really notabout the kids.
It’s about winning, plain and simple.
“I think extra money or more money to our student-athletes is a proper way to go. But the way we’ve done it, where there could be tremendous difference in what we give as opposed to another school gives, are able to give, we’ve never done anything like that in college football before,” Virginia Tech’s Frank Beamer said Wednesday during a teleconference with ACC football coaches.
“I’m disappointed,” Beamer continued. “I think it’s not the way to go.”
Neither does Louisville coach Bobby Petrino.
“I think they have a lot of work to do on the cost of attendance because obviously you don’t want it to be an advantage for one school over the other,” Petrino said. “It would certainly be good for the University of Louisville, but I’m not sure that’s fair throughout the country to have it be different at one school than the other.”
News flash: Unless you put all schools on the moon, or in some corner of South Dakota, the playing field in college athletics is always going to be unequal. No offense to the good folks of Starkville, Miss., but the Mississippi State campus is never going to compare to Stanford’s. The weather at Syracuse is never going to be as good as it is inSan Diego State.
That Clemson’s clearance to buy its new toy, err, jet, came on the very same day Tigers coach Dabo Swinney was bemoaning the “nightmare” that paying full cost of attendance is going to create is just too rich.
“Will that change the balance between the haves and have-nots? I think it won’t,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said Thursday when he was asked about cost of attendance during the Associated Press Sports Editors’ annual meetings with league commissioners. “I think the answer is, it won’t change it any more than it already has been changed.”
Kids select schools for a variety of reasons — playing time, academics, coaching, visibility, friends, proximity to home. The idea that a recruit is now going to pick School X because he or she will get $5,000 to cover the full cost of attendance as opposed to $2,000 is as laughable as multi-millionaire coaches whining about financial inequity.
Of course there are details about paying the full cost of attendance that need to be worked out, including monitoring and verification. That’s always the case with something new. But this is a step in the right direction, and the coaches need to give it a chance to work before trying to torpedo it.
Otherwise, all that talk about wanting to help their athletes is just that. Talk.
And cheap talk at that.
This article was selected for educational purposes only.