Maybe seeing it in real terms is what got my attention. We have become immune to these exorbitant figures thrown around when coaches are fired. But when you break it down into a monthly number it blows your mind.
That’s what Gene Chizik has been receiving every payday since losing his job back in 2012. He’ll continue to receive it until the end of 2016. That’s $7.5 million for those at home keeping score.
While Gene draws a fat check for sitting on his ass, the NCAA punishes players who accept a free meal. Programs get far worse.
Auburn paid a huge price back in the early 1990’s because coaches helped Eric Ramsey with meal money for he and his wife and new baby. When Ramsey turned out to be a scumbag, who was more interested in bringing down Auburn than helping himself, it ended Pat Dye’s career and likely cost Auburn a national title in 1993.
The hypocrisy of it all is disgusting. We bring kids on campus from poor backgrounds, work them like dogs in the winter and summer and expect them to win big in the fall. And it’s all done in the name of amateurism.
News was made last week when it was reported that every SEC school will make more money on television next season than Notre Dame, who has its own network deal with NBC.
No doubt it’s a beautiful thing. But it’s past time to start sharing the wealth with these so-called student athletes. If you’ve been following the Ed O’Bannon case you know that changes are ahead.
The case is already paying dividends before the verdict. Last week, Auburn opened its new $6.6 million Wellness Kitchen, a facility aimed at giving student-athletes access to food whenever they need it. Back in April, the NCAA changed its rules, allowing athletes to receive unlimited food and snacks.
It’s 2014 and the NCAA is finally allowing players to eat when they are hungry. This only came about because Connecticut basketball player Shabazz Napier said there were times when he went to bed hungry as a player. Had the Huskies not won a championship, the NCAA would still be calling nutrition an unnecessary perk.
It’s past time that college presidents and the NCAA start giving money to those that produce it. It’s damn un-American to pay coaches insane salaries without sharing the wealth with players. Can we at least provide insurance for them after they leave school? Something tells me they have a few more pre-existing conditions than the average 22 year-old.
Kudos to athletic director Jay Jacobs for getting ahead of the issue and getting the new kitchen built in time for the season opener. It’s a small step toward giving players what they earn.
It’s time for the NCAA to move fast on these reforms – not because they are being sued, but because it’s the right thing to do.