Because of the subject matter, this is a triple-post and is appearing simultaneously onNonsportsmanlike Conduct!, Thinking The Lions, and Publicus Proventus.
I'm only 78 items into my once-daily series "1001 Ways To Tune Up The World," but my impact is becoming clearer and clearer, even if it takes a while for people to realize how right I am.
Back in August, 2009, Way Number 15 was "Just Allow Colleges To Pay Athletes Already," which, I'll note, everytime I mentioned it most people were aghast -- but they're college students! - -they'd say, and I'd point out that many college students get paid for interning in a job.
Now, in November 2011, colleges have decided I was right all along; the NCAA recently proposed to let conferences decide to pay athletes up to $2,000 a year to cover "expenses," and, as a Grantland writer pointed out in commenting on the story, once you decide to pay someone $2,000, you can pay them $5,000 or $10,000 or $100,000; the "moral" objection to paying "student-athletes" being removed, the only question is how much can they get paid.
If he'd seen this coming, Cam Newton might have stayed in college. And also: I'm not a hypocrite for saying Newton shouldn't have the Heisman because not only did he plead guilty to a felony while in college, but also, he broke the rules at the time. Future Cam Newtons should have the right to demand a $175,000 signing bonus to go to a college. This Cam Newtondidn't.
(But, then, it doesn't matter because the Heisman Trophy is the most overrated sports award ever.)
That alone was enough for me to mention Grantland, which is actually one of the better sports sites around (not surprising, since Bill Simmons gets much of his material from me.)
But even better, that writer went on to note why it seemed fair to cut "student-athletes" in on the mountain of money generated by college sports.
And it is a mountain:
But the ancillary income — television revenues, the sale of jerseys and other gear, the use of a player's "likeness" in video games, and on and on — completely overwhelms the equation and makes the relationship inequitable. The Southeastern Conference made over a billion dollars last year. The Big 10 made $905 million. These people may have a moral right to their ticket sales based on the scholarships they provide, but they don't have a moral right to every last nickel they can squeeze out of their labor force. That's absurd. It's un-American. And it cannot last.
I'm just going to highlight the important part of that block quote:
The Southeastern Conference made over a billion dollars last year. The Big 10 made $905 million.
Last year was one of the years that took place in what news organizations blandly refer to as "the current economic crisis," wasn't it? I'm pretty sure 2010 was part of "the current economic crisis." I'm pretty sure that in 2010 we were bogged down in Racist Tea Party arguments that we didn't have enough money to pay for Medicare or pretty much anything else that wasn't Dennis Hastert's million-dollar-a-year-office. I'm 100% certain that Candy Man Paul Ryan began 2010 by saying that we couldn't pay for health care for seniors.
But we -- you-- could spent two billion dollars on college football games.
That's just on two conferences. And one of those conferences is pretty awful, when you think about it. (I'll let you figure out which one.)(Hint: It rhymes with Mig Men.)
I keep wondering when it's "Game Over" for people like the Racist Tea Party and every Republican currently running for office and Scott "Patsy" Walker, and I keep being amazed that people are so damn dumb. And before you get mad at me for thinking people are stupidfor voting for Republicans and letting them claim we've got no money when we can spend two billion dollars watching %(*%^%&$ Purdue play Iowa State, remember that the only otheralternative is to think people aren't dumb but are just mean.
So what is it, America? Dumb, or mean? We've decided that we can take two billion dollars of our money to pay college athletes to play games, because Lord knows we need more football on the air. Having voluntarily done that, do you think you can maybe quit supporting people that want to kill the poor and start making this a country that lives up to its promise?