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September 8, 2015

Spencer Hall on paying college football players

It isn't a policy argument, it is a fairness in economics argument. Very strong stuff:
Pay them because the worst American tradition is taking things that aren't yours and calling it destiny or virtue or principle. Pay them because there is no nobility in keeping someone a dollar poorer than they have to be in exchange for honest work. Pay them because any system that deliberately makes people poorer is one of designed cruelty, even at this relatively small scale. 
This has long been the hardest part of the ideal of amateur collegiate athletics for me to digest. Yes, athletes get something out of the deal, but that doesn't begin to fairly compensate them for 1)the things they give up to do so, and 2)the value added they bring to the place they get that education from. All of this while having no options for taking those talents elsewhere once the original choice has been made. To boot, they get to make those who do control their lives for that time fabulously rich.

The NLI is the worst kind of adhesion contract, because the sheer numbers of people willing to enter into them makes them seem conscionable. The kicker is that those that would most likely benefit from some sort of pay at the college level are entering into the NLI because they already have no other options about paying for their college education. It's a grant logic circle.

For what it is worth, this is also reason #22 as to why I love Mark Richt as a coach. Yes, he's profited off the NLI, but his approach to transfers, willingness to help out former players, and focus on building the whole person for life after football might not make up for the economic hole football players are put in, but its a start.



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