By Brandon Niles

All around the NCAA, football teams are being
investigated for rule violations involving current
and former players receiving gifts from boosters.

Several prominent universities have been implicated,
including Oregon, USC, UNC, and Ohio State over the past couple of years. Most recently,
Miami has been investigated for this matter. A
booster named Nevin Shapiro, currently on trial
for allegedly running a Ponzi scheme, stated that
he provided gifts to various Miami athletes beginning
as far back as 2002. As a result, the NCAA
is investigating the university, and it seems very
likely that punishment will soon follow.

The increased amount of scandals surrounding
NCAA football has caused heated debates among
sports fans. Questions have been posed as to
whether athletes should be rewarded monetarily
for their services. Proponents of the current
system indicate that scholarships provide such
compensation, while critics argue that it isn’t
enough.

In comparison to the NBA and NFL labor situations
of the past several months; this is really
an argument about revenue. The players in both
professional leagues feel that they are the source
of revenue and are therefore entitled to a higher
percentage than the owners are willing to give.
While there are many other mitigating factors to
these negotiations, I believe this is the crux of
the debate.

By the numbers, a full-ride, fully loaded four year
scholarship at a large university adds
roughly $240,000. That’s about $60,000 per
year, which would be a fantastic salary for anyone
coming directly out of high school. However,
Division I football brings in roughly $40-to-50
million per year in revenue. A star player on a
college football team has the ability to bring in
more fans. Additionally, that player has the ability
to help the team reach a bowl game, generating
even more revenue. This doesn’t even factor
in merchandise sales and television revenue.

Is
it fair that this player is compensated at less than
1 percent from the ticket sales revenue of the
NCAA? Even taking into consideration an entire
team with maximum scholarships allocated, less
than 13 percent of revenue is going to the players
that provide it, again without factoring in merchandising
and television.

It seems to me that a compromise will ease the
temptation players must feel to accept monetary
benefits. These benefits and gifts are thrown at
them when they reach a high profile status at a
big school. I can’t imagine the difficulty players
face trying to turn down such extravagances.
Perhaps sharing the profits from jersey sales or
allowing specific types of endorsement deals
would be a good compromise.

Either way, it’s clear that the current system of
college sports is not effective in keeping kids
from accepting gifts. It may just be me, but when
the options for resolution involve harsher punishments
or some rightfully deserved compensation,
I support the latter.

Brandon Niles has done online freelance writing
about the NFL since 2007. His articles range from
NFL news to team-specific commentary. A Communication
Studies graduate student at the University
of North Carolina Greensboro, Niles is also
an avid Miami Dolphins fan, which has led to his
becoming an avid Scotch whisky fan over the past
decade. He hopes to visit Montana some day.