Let me say this:
I am not a believer in the idea that college athletes should be paid. I feel like the scholarships which they receive are adequate payment for the services which they provide to their school. A full scholarship is worth at least $100,000, and i know plenty of students who left school with more money than that in student loans. That being said, there is absolutely no reason that scholarships cannot include an additional dollar amount for what i like to call "weekend expenses". This would include extra cash, loaded onto a debit card, that could be spent on specific items that are not covered by the regular scholarship such as food, gas, and entertainment. We are not talking about a lot of money, probably something as small as a couple hundred dollars a month.
The second thing that I feel student athletes should be able to do is to make money through autographs and appearances. The reason student athletes should be allowed to make money in this fashion is because it is totally driven off their individual work and effort. Unlike these shady situations like the one Gurley got involved in, these appearances and autograph signings would have to be cleared through the administration and could only take place outside of the season during which the sport the athlete participated in took place.
But, as we all know, the NCAA is not going to be giving up even these small concessions anytime soon. So my question to you, fans and athletes alike, is how to we fix this bad situation in the mean time. Here are my thoughts:
- To the fans
- The only reason that scum bags like this autograph broker from Rome exist is because their is demand for the product they wish to sell. If you really wish to support these athletes that you love so much, then why are you willing to pay some body on eBay $500 for an autograph that they either got from the player for nothing or that they cut some deal (there by risking the students career) and paid the kid pennies on what they are charging you. Instead, my plea to the fans would be this: DO NOT BUY AN ITEM AUTOGRAPHED BY A STUDENT ATHLETE UNTIL THEY GRADUATE OR TURN PRO. I understand you want something cool for your personal collection, but is it really too much to wait until their career is done? By not buying autographed material from current athletes you actually help them in two ways. First, you dry up the market that these jerks with their shady deals are making money on. And second, if you wait until a player is done with school, you can actually show the player your appreciate by putting that money in their pocket. Be an adult.
- To the student athlete
- Until the NCAA changes its rules, you are never going to have the upper hand. But that doesn't mean that you can't protect the most valuable thing you have and that is your self value. My biggest piece of advice would be this: DO NOT SIGN AN AUTOGRAPH FOR ANYONE OVER THE AGE OF 12. Signing an autograph for a kid is one thing, but any adult should be willing to wait for your career to be over. By doing this, you not only decrease your chances of getting in trouble, but you are also creating a market for your autograph. When there is little supply and high demand for something, prices go up. If you hold back that signature until you can do it legally, there will be a lot of people willing to pay a lot of money for it. Think about it this way: Are you sick of the fact that schools sell replica jerseys with your number on the back but not your name and don't give you a penny? If you don't sign any jerseys while in school, no one will have your autograph on a jersey the day you leave. So, if those people want an autograph, they have to get it legally through you where you can now be fully compensated. Say the school charges $100 for a jersey. You sign a deal with someone, they buy 100 of those jerseys and you turn around and sell them at a premium.
- To the autograph brokers
- GET A LIFE. Stop taking advantage of kids from poor families and stop messing with the lives of the thousands of people that are involved in the making a collegiate athletic program. It is not just about one kid, it is about the graduate assistants, the trainers, the ticket takers, and the fans. Not everyone is out there making a ton of money on these kids, some people actually give a damn.