Lee Davis: College Football Playoffs May Mean Push for Athlete Pay

Sunday, July 1, 2012 - by Attorney Lee Davis
Lee Davis
Lee Davis
The recently announced college football playoff system will mean big money for major college teams with some experts guessing that it could amount to as much as half a billion dollars per year in television rights alone.

News of such an eye-popping figure has prompted Texas coach Mack Brown to wonder whether the money should make its way to players. “In my opinion, with the amount of money the playoff will generate, I hope we can revisit the student-athlete stipend.” The Tweet from Brown came

soon after the announcement of the change. “It will be a very lucrative event and those young people are the ones that make it all possible,” he added.

The existing Bowl Championship Series television deal with ESPN pays the major college football schools about $155 million per year.

That money is not distributed evenly, but instead congregates among the big conferences. Many working on the deal wouldn’t speculate about how much the new system could generate in revenue but most agree that it will be at least double the current figure. The title game will also go to the highest-bidding city, a process which will ensure that millions more pours into the school’s wallets.

The issue of paying athletes has been in the news recently for the past few years, pror to word being released about the college football playoff system. Last year, a new program was approved that would have allowed schools to offer a $2,000 stipend, in addition to their scholarship, to college athletes. The measure was sidelined after more than 100 schools asked to override the measure. Critics were afraid that not everyone could afford tit and that would lead to inequality among the various institutions.

The National College Players Association, an advocacy group of some 17,000 current and former Division I student-athletes, says they are not asking for players to be paid but would instead rather have more money go towards keeping them safe. They point out that camp begins in August and the season will not finish until January. The increased length and number of games takes a toll on athletes and more money should be dedicated to their protection. Specifically, the NCPA pointed out that extra money should go towards minimizing the risk of head traumas associated with the rough play of football.

Read: “Playoff dollars could spark calls to pay players,” by Ralph Russo, published at KTTC.com.

(Lee Davis is a Chattanooga attorney who can be reached at lee@davis-hoss.com or at 266-0605.)


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