COLUMBIA — One of the most prominent faces in Missouri athletics has decided enough is enough. On Monday, Gary Pinkel said Tigers football and men’s basketball players should be paid for their services.
“I’ve kind of changed my view on this over the last few years,” said Pinkel in a video post on his website. “Just because of the amount of money now that is in college football and the billions and billions of dollars that are out there.”
The head football coach also implied that the SEC is currently pursuing a player payment system, which would not align with the NCAA’s rules that prevent players from receiving any financial benefits past scholarships and minimal resources. And there are other potential barriers — Title IX and some schools' lack of significant athletics revenue, for instance — that could prevent an equal playing field when it comes to paying athletes.
Plus, there is the argument that players are already being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarship money.
“That’s fine,” Pinkel said. “They’re gonna get their education, which is important. But I also think we can give them additional money per semester or per quarter to help them and really pay them back for all their sacrifices.
“I think it’s the right thing to do. And I think it’s the fair thing to do.”
But how much money do the cash cow sports generate for the athletics department, and how much of that would be left over to pay players?
In July 2012, the Kansas City Star reported that the Missouri football team produced more than $24 million annually in revenue from 2009 to 2011. After expenses, that was enough to add $10 million annually to the bottom line.
The switch from the Big 12 to the SEC in 2012 also brought in roughly $8 million in extra revenue. Some of this should be reserved for the players, Pinkel said.
“I don’t think it’s extra money,” Pinkel said. “Let’s say this: You’re giving them money that they should have. They should’ve had it from a few years back.”
Pinkel said Missouri and the SEC are moving toward a proposal or resolution to pay players.
This movement has gained traction in the past couple months.
Last week’s cover of Time Magazine proclaimed, “It’s Time to Pay College Athletes,” and the NCAA responded to claims that it is taking advantage of young athletes by announcing that it would stop selling specifically numbered football jerseys (i.e. a No. 20 MU jersey resembling the one Henry Josey wears) on its official website.
Several prominent college coaches such as Steve Spurrier of South Carolina and Mack Brown of Texas have also recently called for a player-payment system. Now, the movement has official support on a local level in Columbia.
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it,” Pinkel said. “As long as it’s done with clarity and it’s done with an understanding that we’re trying to help the kids but also don’t want to make it ridiculous.”
Supervising editor is Zachary Matson.