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Question of the Day: What do you think of Steve Spurrier's suggestion that college players be paid?

June 3, 2011 |  3:22 pm

Writers from around the Tribune Co. discuss the topic. Check back throughout the day for more responses and feel free to leave a comment of your own.

Chris Dufresne, Los Angeles Times

Steve Spurrier wants Southeastern Conference coaches to use some of the millions they have earned off the back of free labor and pay players $300 per game. What a guy. That's like tipping the valet at the Grand Hyatt $100 for retrieving his Porsche from the parking garage.

First, Spurrier and others SHOULD feel guilty for making so much money while players get suspended for trading memorabilia for tattoos. Second, this is never going to fly. The problem no one seems to understand in the pay-for-play argument is that, if you're even going to pretend to uphold the amateurish NCAA ideal, you can't just pay the players in the sports, football and basketball, that produce all the revenue.

You have to pay men's swimming and women's softball. There are laws on the books, Title IX is one, that demand equal treatment for women's sports. The combined salaries for SEC football coaches couldn't fit that bill. But give Spurrier credit for spurring more discussion.

The better idea is the one proposed by Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany, who suggests using billions generated by television contracts to supplement ALL scholarship athletes with "the full cost of attendance." That idea actually has some traction. The problem with Spurrier's notion of passing the hat is that he wears a visor. 

Rachel George, Orlando Sentinel

Even Steve Spurrier knows his own idea has no chance of passing. But suggesting players receive $300 per game, to be paid by the coaches, is brilliant for a couple reasons. First, it acknowledges what many view to be problematic in college football -– at the highest levels, coaches and universities are making millions off athletes who make little. As Spurrier pointed out, 50 years ago when there was no money in college football, players got full scholarships. Today college football turns a profit at the biggest schools and players still receive only full scholarships.

Spurrier no doubt endeared himself to players (and recruits) who see their likeness on EA Sports and wonder where their piece of the pie is. It’s a long time before there’d be any system to get more money to players, but Spurrier’s proposal was outrageous enough to at least get the discussion going on how athletes can share in the business they are essential to maintaining.

Photo: Steve Spurrier. Credit: Rich Glickstein / Associated Press