Category Archives: College Life

Let – But Do Not Force – Colleges to Pay Athletes

“Marginal revenue product”.   This three-word term essentially means “How much value does a worker’s work provide for society?”  This question provides half of the logic behind how much a worker should be paid.  The other half of the logic comes from the answer to “How many available workers can provide the same value as this worker?”  In short, a person’s salary comes down to supply and demand.

Doctors and lawyers earn a great deal of money because a) they provide very valuable services to society, and b) very few people in society are skilled and trained at these professions.  Similarly, in the United States, professional athletes are generally paid extremely well.  Oftentimes, I hear people say, “Why should players make so much money to get to play a game for a living?”  Well, the answer is “Because of us”.  We Americans as a whole pay a lot of money to watch professional sports, and this money is revenue for sports teams, leagues, and networks.  Additionally, very few people are skilled enough at a sport to play it at the major-league level.  In fact, there are many more people who have the skill to be a successful doctor and lawyer than there are those who can play professional sports.  Since professional athletes bring large sums of revenue and are in quite low supply, they are paid large sums of money.  Some people might not like this, but it makes perfect economic sense.

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What a perfect segue now into this week’s hot-button sports topic, “Should college athletes be paid?”  To me, the general answer is quite simple, even if the details are quite complex.  I believe that colleges should be allowed, but not forced, to pay their athletes.  College sports are a business, and, as with any business, workers should be paid based on their supply and marginal revenue product.  It is ridiculous to think that major college-football teams can fill 100,000-seat stadiums, sell huge scores of jerseys, allow players’ numbers to be used in video games….yet are not allowed to pay their players out of the resulting profit.  At the same time, it is ridiculous to think that athletes on a Missouri Valley Conference men’s swimming team, who earn next to nothing in terms of revenue (and thus have zero marginal revenue product), should be paid above whatever scholarships they might be receiving.

I will now explain my framework for change.  I feel that, in Division-I athletics, each sport should have a salary cap.  I do not know what that number is, but it should be directly proportional (which does not mean “directly equal”….The revenue will still outpace the salary cap) to the amount of revenue that the average Division-I team in that sport earns.  In other words, the more revenue a sport earns on average, the higher the salary cap.  People privy to more financial information than I can decide on a logical value for the cap.

Regardless, for argument’s sake, let us say that the men’s college-basketball salary cap is $5 million.  The big boys of college basketball – Kentucky, Duke, Michigan State, Kansas, UNC, etc. – would likely use the full $5 million.  Perhaps one of these programs would pay each of its top three recruits $1 million per year and use the remaining $2 million to disseminate among its other players.  That would seem logical to me, but the schools can decide this.  Maybe no teams would spend the full value of the cap.  It is up to the colleges to decide how much to spend.  The “$5 million” number seems reasonable to me, in that a) it would mean that colleges would continue to pay players much less than in the NBA, which is an important distinction (more on that later); b) it would give players “enough of the pie” they are producing; and c) it would greatly reduce the likelihood that coaches would violate recruiting rules.

In terms of “c”, my change would allow the NCAA to have a better handle on recruiting violations.  First off, by allowing coaches to provide legal compensation to players, these coaches would have less motivation to provide illegal compensation.   This idea is similar to speed limits.  People not named “Sheldon Richardson” are more likely to obey the speed limit on an 80-mph highway than a 55-mph highway.  Secondly, with this cap, the NCAA could stop worrying about “trivial” transgressions.  With a $5-million cap, the NCAA would not need to obsess over whether or not a coach took a player’s family to dinner and gave the family some college shirts.  That value of the dinner and shirts would be negligible in the grand scheme of a $5-million cap.  Instead, the NCAA could focus solely on major violations.  For example, if John Calipari were to dole out the $5 million but then provide Range Rovers for a few of the kids, the NCAA would blow the whistle on it.  However, if Coach Cal were to take the kids out to Outback Steakhouse during a few recruiting visits, who cares?

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Now, I realize that some of you might be thinking, “This policy change would hurt the mid-majors, who cannot dole out the full $5 million.”  Would it really though?  Honestly, I think that, on the court, things would play out remarkably similarly to how they do now.  Right now, great high-school players often have to decide, “Do I go to Duke, where I might be a fringe starter?  Or do I go to Wichita State, where I would be the star of the team?”  This same scenario would continue to unfold.  If Duke is already paying a large amount of its cap to 4 or 5 players, Wichita State might be able to offer this prospective player more money than Duke anyway.   Regardless, my plan would probably mean that Duke, UNC, Kansas, Kentucky, and Michigan State would be top-notch teams every year.  Oh wait, exactly like they have been for almost my entire life!  Therefore, mid-majors would be in the same competitive position in which they usually find themselves.

Let us now switch gears from men’s basketball.  Given that this sport and football are the biggest revenue generators in college, these sports would have the highest salary caps.  That said, the same salary-cap premise would also apply to other sports.  Women’s basketball does not generate as much revenue as men’s basketball and thus would have a smaller cap.  At the same time, UConn would likely spend more money on its players than most other programs would, as UConn typically generates relatively high revenue.  Meanwhile, in baseball and softball, perhaps some of the big-time programs like Arizona or Texas would pay their players, but most would not.  The revenue simply is not there.  The same thing goes for plenty of men’s and women’s college-basketball teams, who would choose not to pay players.  For example, I am a proud Colgate alum, but very few people attend Colgate’s basketball games.  I would expect that Colgate would choose not to pay any of its players.  The same thing would go for a good chunk of colleges that really only garner attention when they become #14-16 seeds in the NCAA Tournament.

For those of you who worry that my system of “Pay if you want” would be “unfair” to the bulk of college athletes who do not receive paychecks, this is simply untrue.  A college education costs a few hundred-thousand dollars.  If an athletic scholarship defrays even part of that cost, then the athlete is being paid implicitly.  Furthermore, if a non-scholarship athlete is accepted into a better college than would have accepted him/her without the athletic implication, that athlete is paid as well.  He/she is paid in the form of higher future earnings due to having gone to a more prestigious college than he/she otherwise could have attended.

Thus, all college athletes are paid one way or another, explicitly or implicitly.  My plan merely alters the payment structure so that the players who earn large sums of revenue for a college are paid for this.  It is basic business.  The more money you make for a company, the more you get paid.  College athletics should be no different.

Let me now tie up three loose ends with my proposal.

  • I propose that recruits be forced to commit to 3-year guaranteed contracts, with player options for the fourth year. The “one and done” thing is a joke.  Most of us sports fans hate it; we want to see some continuity from year to year with our sports teams.  Of course, in order to achieve this goal, we need to tie up the second loose end.

 

  • The NBA and NFL age minima should be 17. Long ago, I believe that Bill Simmons suggested that the NBA imposed the age minimum to keep teams from signing high-school busts (Sebastian Telfair, Dajuan Wagner, etc.) and thus embarrassing the GMs.  He is probably correct, and he is also correct that the GMs’ logic is silly.  Anyone who has read Moneyball knows that it is riskier drafting a high-school player than a guy out of college.  One does not know how a high-schooler will mature physically and mentally.  One does not know how a high-schooler will perform when making a two-level jump (high school to college to pros).  Therefore, may the buyer beware.  GMs should be allowed to draft 17/18-year-olds.  GMs know the risk/reward tradeoff, and they should plan accordingly.  If a GM things he has the next Lebron, Kobe, or Garnett; he should draft the high-schooler.  If he is uncertain, maybe he should take the safe route and grab a college guy with a lower ceiling but a higher floor.  That is for GMs to decide, but the minimum should be 17.  Meanwhile, high-schoolers would know that they could either enter the draft out of high school, or else they would be mandated to complete three years of college before entering the draft.  This is similar to baseball and would be good for the college game and pro game.

 

  • This is unrelated to the first two loose ends, but I need to say it. I do not believe that the current college system is the result of racism, as several prominent people have lately suggested.  One of my favorite quotes is Hanlon’s razor, “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”  Maybe this is because I am optimist who believes that people are generally good….but often not that smart.  Anyway, in the case of college athletics, I think that Hanlon’s razor applies.  Why is the college-sports system what it is now?  The best answer is probably, “Because that’s how they’ve always done it.”

 

In the 1950s and 1960s, when college athletics were much less racially diverse than they are now, players were not paid either.  In fact, over the past 50-70 years; as college sports have become more diverse, all of the following have happened: 1) College educations have become more valuable, in that there are fewer employers who will hire those without college educations; 2) The number of scholarships has increased; and 3) The amount and values of illegal contributions to players has presumably increased greatly.   Therefore, one could argue that players are better compensated now than they were during an era in which college athletics were much less diverse.

Yes, it is fair to speculate that the current college-athletic structure is more unfair to African American athletes more than to others, and that is definitely a matter worth fixing (as I feel my proposal would).  However, I would attribute this situation to the NCAA’s stupidity, not to racist motives.  Again, “never attribute to malice what can adequately be attributed to stupidity.”

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Anyway, now that I have tied up my loose ends, I will wrap things up.  Let us allow, but not force colleges to pay players, and let us make the NBA and NFL age minima 17.

Is the Stretch Between the Super Bowl and March Madness the Worst Time to Be Alive?

Bold title, I know. But think about it. The month-ish (yeah that’s the word I’m going with, freaking sue me if you have a problem with it pal) long period between the Super Bowl and March Madness is commonly referred to as the worst time of the year for sports. No football whatsoever. Baseball is in Spring Training, which is exciting if you’re a baseball junkie like me, but it’s still not even close to the real thing. And the NHL and NBA are both in full swing, but at the point of the season where it’s not quite close enough to the playoffs to get too intense. So sporting wise, obviously these few weeks suck. But as I was thinking about that, I tried to think of ANY benefit to this period of time. Let’s take a deeper look.

The Super Bowl this year was on February 4th. The NCAA Basketball Tournament technically starts on Tuesday, March 13th this year, but those are just play-in games. Everyone knows March Madness really starts on Thursday, which is March 15th this year. That leaves 39 days between the Super Bowl and March Madness. Weather wise, it’s still pretty cold, at least here in Jersey. Maybe you get the occasional day where it’s nice enough to chill outside (it’s supposed to be 65 this Thursday), but other than that the weather pretty much sucks.

The only national holiday between the Super Bowl and March Madness is Presidents’ Day, which if you go to a public school like Rutgers, you don’t even get off for. The most noteworthy holiday between them is Valentine’s Day which kinda just blows whether you’re in a relationship or not. Either you have to watch everyone else post mad annoying lovey-dovey Instagrams, or you spend a bunch of money on your significant other because that’s what you’re supposed to do. St. Patty’s Day comes right after March Madness starts, even falling on the first Thursday last year, so a solid holiday just misses the Super Bowl/NCAA Tourney time period cut-off.

Not only is there a lack of holidays/days off during this period, but school itself just sucks. In college, this is prime midterm time. You’re too far past syllabus week to be doing nothing in your classes, and you can be sure to be flooded with exams/projects/papers at any given time. Sure, spring break may potentially start near the end of this 39-day period (mine starts like 5 days before March Madness), but that still makes for a brutal 30+ day stretch. On top of all of that, Day 1 of this whole ordeal is one of the worst days of the year. The Monday after the Super Bowl is right up there with January 2nd for worst work/school day of the year.

So between the lack of sports, absence of relevant holidays, bad weather, and classes, I’ve come to the conclusion that the gap between Super Bowl Sunday and March Madness Thursday is 100% the worst time of the year. So what’s the plan of attack here? Be productive. Get in shape, work more hours at your job, get ahead on your schoolwork, crush your midterms. Are you a degenerate, so none of what I just said sounds appealing to you? Then find other ways to entertain yourself besides sports. Binge-watch a show, get drunk and watch the Olympics, play some baseball (the drinking game, not the sport.) Anything to help speed up time. As rough as these 30+ days are, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Spring Break, March Madness, St. Patty’s Day, and MLB Opening Day all happen within about two weeks of each other. But until then, we’re just gonna have to suck it up and figure something else out.

 

A List of Things Markelle Fultz’s Shot is Uglier Than

Remember Markelle Fultz? The first overall pick in the draft? Consensus best player in a stacked class? Sure thing, great speed, great vision, great player. Well…this is him now.

Feel old yet?

A few videos have been released of Fultz learning to shoot again, and it is UGLY. With free throws like that, he has potential to be the biggest bust of all-time. He’s still young, and he can still fix it, so I’m not going to be making any assumptions. But, for the time being, I don’t want to let an opportunity for humor slip away. Let’s discuss a few things that Markelle Fultz’s shot is uglier than:

Steve Buscemi

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50 Cent Throwing a Baseball

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Kyle Kuzma’s Outfit Choices

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Jabba the Hutt in his prime

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Kevin Durant Trying to Drink a Beer

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Dennis Rodman (two pictures were required)

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Matt Schaub Pick Six’s

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Ed, Edd, and Eddy in Real Life (Viewer Discretion Advised)

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Moles (both kinds)

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Anyone Who Consciously Hates on Nicolas Cage

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Science…it’s stupid and hard

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Kim Kardashian singing anything, let alone her own song “Jam (Turn It Up)”

Shaq Shooting Free Throws (didn’t know this was ever possible)

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And finally…this

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I’m sure I’m missing something, so comment below if you think there is anything Fultz’s shot is uglier than before he figures out how to be good again.

Was There Ever a Better Feeling than a Snow Day Growing Up?

Pretty self explanatory but getting a snow day when you were growing up was the absolute shit. Waking up dreading a long day of sitting in class only to be told by your parents that you can go back to sleep was a feeling like no other. If you were lucky enough, you would get the call the night before, and know that you could stay up late doing whatever with your friends without having to wake up early the next day. Unfortunately, Ramsey NEVER used to do that when I was younger (they did last night though, they’ve really gone soft.) Continue reading Was There Ever a Better Feeling than a Snow Day Growing Up?

Is Playing Pokemon Over Thanksgiving Break in College Weird?

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Ladies and gentlemen, Pokemon is forever cool and don’t you ever second guess that. Anyone who says otherwise is probably a Team Rocket empathizer, wears socks to bed, or punts in Madden (4th & 34 is the perfect time for a HB Blast to the left with DeAngelo Williams).

Me and my roommate discussed this the other night, and quickly arrived at the conclusion that the main purpose of Thanksgiving break in college is to indeed…catch them all.

Whether it be the classics in Pokemon Blue, Red, or Yellow, played on a random Nintendo SP that you found in a drawer while tearing your house apart looking for free booze, or the newer versions in Pokemon Pearl/Diamond that you saw crawling through the attic to find your old DS.

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I, personally, will be entering the world of Pokemon SoulSilver for the first time with the likes of Totodile by my side.

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My point is, when you have the days off from work, school, sports, clubs, frats, sororities, and so on, what can you possibly do with your time? You can’t be with your friends every second of the day, your family can only be tolerated to a certain extent, and sports aren’t on at all times of the day. Therefore, your only option, assuming you did not bring your preferred game console home for the break, is to reach back into the depths of your childhood and start a new journey on your way to defeating the Elite Four.

Trust me, this is a major time killer. I never believe it when I look at the top of the screen and see the “23:42”, indicating I’ve actually used a full day playing Pokemon (Notice I did not say “wasted”). Time flies in this game, and when you’re trying to avoid responsibility and loved ones, this is the perfect way to do it!

Bottom line, whipping out the old Nintendo is not the worst thing you can do this break, it’s actually the best. Don’t be ashamed, own up to your nostalgia, and be the best Pokemon trainer you can be. A new adventure awaits.

People I Don’t Trust: Thanksgiving Edition

Haven’t done one of these in awhile, or really blogged at all much recently. Shoutout to Rutgers midterms, you take years off of my life figuratively and literally. Regardless, I’m home chilling on break now and figured I’d blog about Thanksgiving. Since Mr. Walker and Googs have the football side of Turkey Day covered, I figured I’d break down the moves that you absolutely cannot make on Thanksgiving without me judging you. Here we go:

You Bring Up Politics at the Dinner Table

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The only moment of the day everyone dreads is when politics inevitably gets brought up at the dinner table. You’re kinda just sitting there waiting for your super liberal Aunt to passive aggressively bring up something Trump tweeted and then your hardcore conservative Uncle chimes in and there’s no going back. No one wants it to happen but it always does. But if YOU are the one to bring up politics in any way, shape or form then you are a snake of Kevin Durant proportion. Just keep the topics simple. Football, how “crazy” the holiday season is, lying about your grades, telling your Grandma for the 1000th time you don’t have a girlfriend/boyfriend; you know, the usual. If you bring up politics at Thanksgiving dinner, especially if you’re of college age/younger, I definitely don’t trust you.

Your Cranberry Sauce Doesn’t Look Like This

Let’s get one thing straight. When the Founding Fathers sent the Declaration of Independence, they intended cranberry sauce to look one way and one way only.

If your cranberry sauce doesn’t look like the one on the left, you might as well go to sleep and try Thanksgiving again next year. None of this boujee-ass bullshit on the right. My cranberry sauce will come straight out of a can and look just like that can when I eat it. If you don’t agree, I can’t trust you.

You Say You “Don’t Have Room For Dessert”

As if this was some sort of option? It’s an unspoken rule that whatever food if put in front of you on Thanksgiving, you eat. You crush as many appetizers as possible, at least one full plate of dinner, and then a healthy helping of dessert. You can’t just tap out after the turkey. No one said you could stop eating just because you’re “full” or “about to puke” or “not having fun anymore.” If you aren’t fighting off your severe stomach ache to pound some dessert, then you don’t deserve Thanksgiving. Go celebrate Groundhog Day or something you snowflake.

You Don’t Make a Leftover Sandwich at Night

This one kind of falls in the same category as the last one. Obviously you’re gonna eat way more than necessary on Thanksgiving. But if you don’t wake up from your food coma nap at like 10 and think to yourself “damn I kind of want more food,” I can’t relate to you. A little turkey sandwich with stuffing and cranberry sauce is just what the doctor ordered as you try to keep your eyes open for the late football game (can’t wait to watch the Giants lose it this year, #SuckForSaquon baby.)

You Go Black Friday Shopping On Thanksgiving

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This one is honestly wild. First off, it’s so sad that stores make their employees come in on Thanksgiving for sales like this, that’s not fair. But if you’re willingly leaving Thanksgiving dinner to go shopping, I trust nothing about you. Have these people never heard of the Internet? You can get everything you’re about to shop for online and have it at your door in two days, well before Christmas. Why risk getting trampled by crowds or punched in the face by someone’s Grandma when you could enjoy Thanksgiving and just shop later on from the comfort of your own home? As Forrest Gump once said, “stupid is as stupid does,” and if you Black Friday shop on Thanksgiving Day you are in fact stupid. And that’s all I have to say about that.

Thanks for reading, and Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Unless you’re one of the people I mentioned in the blog, then you just need to figure it out.

Don’t Tell Me I Can’t Hate On Aaron Judge Just Because He’s a Good Guy and a Young Star in the MLB

Note: Granted this blog was started by three Yankee fans, but we need some more Yankee hate on this blog. Everyone knows you can’t have a great sports blog without hating on/making fun of teams like the Yankees, Cowboys (unfortunately), Patriots, Warriors, etc.

All Rise, and let me paint a hypothetical for you to start this out. Say you are a standard Yankees fan who lives in the tri-state area. If you are my age, you grew up watching the Red Sox send out David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Pedro Martinez, and other players who were on their championship teams in 2004 and/or 2007. Naturally, you hated these guys and those teams, for the most part simply because they were all Boston Red Sox and you hated that team. Flash forward to the last couple of seasons, the Red Sox have brought in young talent such as Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Andrew Benintendi, just to name a few. All of these guys have been good guys on and off the field, and of course are loved by Red Sox fans. If you are a Yankee fan, you may not hate these guys as much as you hated the 2000s Red Sox (yet), but you naturally root against these guys and hate on them because as good as they may be, they play for the Boston Red Sox.

My point? As a Mets fan, don’t tell me I can’t root hard against Aaron Judge and the rest of the Baby Bombers just because they’re great players.

Continue reading Don’t Tell Me I Can’t Hate On Aaron Judge Just Because He’s a Good Guy and a Young Star in the MLB