I saw recently where NCAA president Mark Emmert said he was confident that presidents would “keep student-athlete welfare front of mind” as the details are finalized in the new college football playoff.
Let’s all be real for a moment. The cash this thing is going to generate will be astronomical, and if student-athlete welfare genuinely is a priority, then it’s time some of that cash ends up back in the pockets of the players.
No, I’m not necessarily talking about paying players a regular stipend, and I fully understand all the concerns associated with going down that road.
What I am suggesting is that if a kid from the Atlanta area is playing in the semifinals in Arlington, Texas and then the championship game in Glendale, Ariz., then there ought to be a way to bankroll those trips for his family so that they can travel to see him play and not have to go into debt to do so.
At the very least, the NCAA and college football need to make sure players have enough money for their families to make these trips.
We’re talking about millions of dollars that will be divvied up, and there’s no reason that a small amount can’t go to the players.
Rules can be put into place that this money has to be used for family travel. Plus, you’re only dealing with four schools.
Consider it a reward for those schools and players making the playoff. Their families have the opportunity to come watch them play.
I just keep hearing these references to student-athlete welfare and how we can’t extend the season any longer, need to play the games in a certain window and can’t disrupt final exams.
All these are noble concepts.
But, again, if we really want to do what’s right by these student-athletes, we’ll give them a few crumbs of this enormous financial pie that’s baking and is due to be out of the oven by 2014.
We’re entering a brand new era with this playoff.
In doing so, let’s get out of the dark ages and quit pretending that tuition, books and room and board are enough when it’s the players who’ve made college football the cash cow that it is.