Bob Stoops turned plenty of heads this week when a Sporting News story quoted him showing his less-than-compassionate side in regards to the pay-for-play debate surrounding college athletes.
The two choice quotes:
“I tell my guys all the time,” Stoops says, “you’re not the first one to spend a hungry Sunday without any money.”
"I don't get why people say these guys (players) don't get paid. It's simple, they are paid quite often, quite a bit and quite handsomely."
I'm not here to debate the merits of Stoops' argument. You can make a decent case either way. For one, players do receive a lot for their efforts on the football field, including high-quality training and health care, as well as housing and food.
They also produce a whole lot of money and exposure for the university that goes unappreciated when you consider players' respective bank accounts.
However, that argument is for another day. You know who else isn't real interested in debating whether or not players should be paid?
Their parents. Not every family is the same, but there are a whole lot of families of players who would love a few thousand dollars a month, and that kind of money would mean a whole lot, whether a player had a future in the NFL or not.
You might think Stoops has a point. You might think he's a blowhard. Regardless, it's easy to see plenty of parents not loving the idea of Stoops feeling his players are compensated well enough. Coaches speaking out against paying players is, above all else, bad for business.
Whether coaches believe it or not, it behooves them to support giving their players -- the same guys who help cement coaches' reputations and salaries -- any and everything possible.
"I'm for anything we can do within the rules to help our kids," Texas coach Mack Brown told me last year. "I do realize coming up with a plan to subsidize a scholarship with some form of payment for student-athletes is a very challenging task for athletics directors and presidents around the country, but if there is a plan they can come up with, I'd certainly support it."
Added Tommy Tuberville, then coach at Texas Tech: "You can talk to coaches all you want, and 99 percent of them are going to be 'Hey, I’d love to do more for the players.'"
Well, it appears that if you referred to Stoops as "the 1 percent" you'd be correct in more than one way.
Like I said, I'm not here to debate Stoops. Agree or not, his argument isn't terrible.
He did, however, give his competitors an opportunity to get a leg up in recruiting.
Say you're a parent struggling to pay the bills, or even a parent who can't afford to give their child any extra cash. One coach wants to fight to give your player every advantage possible, or help influence legislation to change the rules. Another says, "You’re not the first one to spend a hungry Sunday without any money."
Parents have plenty of influence in the recruiting process. Who are a whole bunch going to favor?
Some things are better left unsaid.