After LSU took home the championship Monday night against Clemson, an enthused Odell Beckam, former player at LSU, came to the field in what appeared to be a giving mood.
He handed what looked like cash to receiver Justin Jefferson and defensive back Jontre Kirklin.
Officials and the like have confirmed that the bills were fake and that Odell was “just having fun”, but the gesture speaks to an ugly reality that has always surrounded the NCAA.
Had that money been real, it more than likely would have been the most money Jefferson and Kirklin have ever received for their time on the field.
Here are the numbers.
The NCAA had $1.1 billion dollars in annual revenue for fiscal year 2017.
The highest paid 25 NCAA coaches made a combined total of an estimated $144,525,000 in 2019, including Clemson coach Dabo Swiney who landed a 10 year $93 million dollar contract in 2019.
These amounts don’t even include stipends and bonuses.
All of these millions of billions of dollars, and as we know and sadly say often, the players, the ones who do the majority of work in earning the money and providing the entertainment, make $0.
ZERO DOLLARS<A BILLION DOLLARS.
Players like Jefferson and Kirklin will probably get to the NFL (Jefferson most imminently as he is slated as an early draft pick while Kirklin will most likely return to school), but there are scores of players that endure the hardship of playing football (it’s a physically taxing sport that the human body was not designed for) absolutely free.
And before you say it, a full football scholarship in no way offsets the cost of working that kind of physical full time job while earning a degree.
You probably wanted to mention that because as much as you know about violations, what you probably didn’t know is that only about 1 percent of NCAA football players have a full scholarship anyway.
This means most college players have to play football, study, AND have some means of income if they don’t have any other scholarships or if their parents aren’t magically wealthy and can’t flip the bill for four years at a college institution.
Who is wealthy? NCAA football coaches.
All of this wouldn’t seem so illogical if the coaches didn’t make so much money they could pay every player a nominal salary and still have money left for their salary, AND if the NCAA didn’t make so much money THEY could finance salaries for players.
So what were the thoughts of Odell Beckham handing out what looked like money to the players after the game?
“That’s an NCAA VIOLATION!” “If that money was real, they need to return it!”
There was some technicality talk about whether or not Odell giving the players real money would have been an actual violation. The voices of those screaming foul are dimming out those that are questioning if the act was against any rule since the game was over and the final buzzer had sounded. Odell is also only affiliated with the school as being a former player for the team and has no vested interest in any college player.
But you know what? We’ll just go with the act being an official violation had the money been real.
And to that, and to the violation screamers, I say SHUT THAT SHIT UP.
Let’s consider the fact that NCAA football coaches are accruing generational wealth on the backs of their players while only 2 percent of NCAA football players will go on to get a job in the NFL and make any real money.
What’s more… or well not really more, even less than that 2 percent go on to be star athletes and land high paying contracts like Odell Beckham.
The greed of the NCAA is so obscene even HBO’s hit show Ballers took on the subject. Spencer Strasmore, played by actor Dwayne Johnson, ended the last season of the show trying to turn the NCAA on it’s head as he was fighting for player compensation AND medical benefits, BOTH of which are well earned by NCAA football players.
With all this in mind, it brings me to my wits end that the first thing people want to talk about in this act is “violation” when in reality every NCAA player in every sport across the leagues are being violated by the NCAA when you consider that fact that everyone around the players are getting payed except the players.
Football is called “America’s Sport”, yet the extent to which people want to be entertained at the sacrifice of unemployed players in such a physically demanding sport is egregiously deplorable.
What’s more American than this sport is this clear example of what the rich in this country continue to do: take advantage of those who don’t have the access that financial means provides. The NCAA makes billions, but it’s a violation if players get money.
Recently the NCAA has started to have the conversation around player compensation, but that’s it. They’re just starting the conversation. Who knows how long it will take the big wigs and all their money to make a decision on something that should be been a part of the process at the onset.
Odell was just showing enthusiasm, but I think he also knew what the act of giving those players fake money represented.
The money for NCAA players should be real.
College football players incur a decreased quality of life while they play in school. Their bones are cracked and bruised, and players suffer concussions as their brains rattle around in their heads for four years, yet people want to yell violation for two players potentially getting a couple of hundred or maybe a thousand bucks?
They earned it.