Food, Family and FOOTBALL

With the holiday season in full effect, that means college football is slowly coming to  close.

Towards the end of regular college football season and programs finishing up their conference play it means that teams that are bowl eligible are awaiting their fate to see in which bowl they play, if they make the college playoffs or if they are not yet bowl eligible to scramble the necessary seven wins.

Televising college football is a huge market, especially with bowl games which attract huge deals and is a very profitable opportunity for major television networks.

Some of the bowl games from the 2015-2016 football season. 

ESPN has garnered the rights to four major bowl games which are the rose bowl, the orange bowl, the sugar bowl and the cotton bowl and the college football playoffs.

There is quite a process when it comes to revenue distribution for teams that make it to the college playoffs or are part of the rose, orange or sugar bowls.

So basically, each school that qualifies for a bowl game will receive 300,000. Additionally, football teams that make it to the semifinals of the playoffs will receive six million, while teams that make it to the major bowl games such as orange, sugar and rose bowls will receive four million. That is just the base amount, without bonuses which can reach up to four million.


ESPN has paid 600 million to the College Football Playoff committee in order for the TV rights for the major bowl games.

With all this money going around, do we really think it is fair that the players themselves receive no money at all for the revenue they are producing?

Outside of College

The biggest sports in college athletics are obviously football and basketball, with baseball also being up there in some instances. But for the most part, those sports run athletic departments with their fan bases, sales of tickets and gear and notoriety. So how much do these athletes make when they get out of college, and what does it have to do with student-athletes having the opportunity to get paid?

In the 2016 NFL draft, the number one draft pick, Jared Goff, who inked with the Los Angeles Rams and scored himself a $27,946,656 contract plus a $18,515,839 signing bonus. Not too bad for coming straight out of college. Now as expected, as the list of draft pick goes on, the money also lowers too. Let’s take for example 25th draft pick, Artie Burns, who was chosen to play with the Pittsburgh Steelers. His total contract summed up too $9,602,409, with a signing bonus of  $5,174,568. So that’s not too bad either.

LA Rams quarterback, Jared Goff.

Now if we switch sports to the 2016 NBA Draft, the story isn’t too different. Number one draft pick, Ben Simmons, is estimated to make $26,620,450 with his signing bonus. Also, not too bad for a guy that left college after his freshman year.

But what about sports where an enormous salary like that is not guaranteed.

If we look at Major League Soccer, which is the professional soccer association in the United States, the numbers change immensely. The number one draft pick in the 2016 MLS Superdraft, Jack Harrison from Wake Forest University, ended up with the New York City FC and a base salary of $125,000. Quite a difference from our football and basketball guys right?

MLS soccer player, Jack Harrison.

Now if we look at women’s sports, such as women’s soccer, the salaries get even lower.

The number one women’s soccer draft pick, Emily Sonnett, who ended up with the Portland Thorns FC, does not even have a specified salary. Each team in the National Women’s Soccer League has salary cap of $278,000, which is shared between the players and the maximum a player can earn is $7,200.

What do these salaries have to do with collegiate athletes getting paid?

Well if the NCAA is serious about implementing salaries for student-athletes then is it fair for all athletes to be payed equally?

There have been many college football and basketball players say that they should get payed more than athletes that play other schools because they make more money than other teams, but on the other hand other athletes say that they should all be payed equally because they put in the same amount of work and in the future might not have the opportunity to earn as much.




Simmons Speaks Out

Last Friday, Showtime Sports aired a documentary on former Louisiana State University basketball star, Ben Simmons.


The documentary named, One and Done, highlighted Simmons’ one year journey at LSU, how he ended up being the top draft pick to play for the Philadelphia Sixers and his many complaints that he had with the NCAA. Simmons mentions how many temptations there were while he was at college such as being offered luxury items, if he were to accept it would make him illegible to play. He also talks about how pathetic it is that the NCAA won’t pay their athletes.

“Everybody’s making money except the players. We’re the ones waking up early as hell to be the best teams and do everything they want us to do and then the players get nothing. They say education, but if I’m there for a year, I can’t get much education,” said Simmons’ in the documentary.

Simmons also promised to student-athletes that he would be their voice as he is professional now and claims he can say whatever he wants about the NCAA.

“The NCAA is messed up, I don’t have a voice. I don’t get paid to do it. Don’t say I’m an amateur and make me take pictures and sign stuff and go make hundreds of thousands of millions of dollars off one person. I’m going off on the NCAA. Just wait, just wait. I can be a voice for everybody in college,” expressed Simmons.

But this has caused backlash from the NCAA, who have said that no one has forced him to come to college.

“I know he has caused some controversy, but I believe in what he stands for and completely agree,” said Habiba Shaker who plays tennis for West Virginia University.

“One and Done” has given student-athletes have their voice heard through Ben Simmons who is an advocate for change within the NCAA and how they exploit athletes.

Keeping up with the Jonses

One of the reasons the NCAA are hesitant to pay collegiate athletes is that the majority are still irresponsible with money, as it is highly showcased with professional athletes.

78% of NFL players go broke after two years of retirement and around 60% of NBA players go bankrupt after five years of retirement. This highly due to poor financial planning, spending money too quickly and investing in questionable businesses.

Former NFL quarterback, Michael Vick, was the highest paid player in 2004 and became bankrupt four years later.

With this post I would primarily like to focus on why professional athletes do go bankrupt and it is a trend that could most probably follow collegiate athletes if they were to get paid.

One of the biggest reasons is because pro athletes want to show off the money  they have made by trying to live a lavish lifestyle, with cars, jewels and multiple houses.

Collegiate athletes already dream of having goals like this, so being able to access a bit of this type of lifestyle is potentially dangerous if no guidance or help is provided.

As a student-athlete myself, I do know of other student-athletes that try to out do one another even though the money is limited.


How to teach student-athletes

As I said before, 60% of former NBA players are broke within five years of retirement, and 78% of NFL players face being broke, bankrupt or face financial stress.

Ole Miss has a course teaching student-athletes how to be smart with their money in college and also if they decide to go pro. Arizona State University has also decided to take part in adding the same type of course in their curriculum.

Glenn Wong, is the instructor for the new financial course at ASU. (Source: Isenberg School of Management)

The course is unique as it is coming from the perspective of the student-athlete and incorporates the new legal issues that is going on within the NCAA.

One of the biggest mistakes that student-athletes make when they are faced with a large amount of money, which is new for them, is spending a lot of it in a short amount of time. Another problem is that athletes do not properly check their contracts if they do go pro.

Let’s talk about some “amateurs”

Fair enough, NCAA doesn’t want student-athletes to get paid.

But that means the NCAA needs to stop promoting college athletes and their events as if they were professional.

Former LSU basketball player, Ben Simmons.

Let’s take the example of former LSU basketball standout, Ben Simmons. Ben Simmons was curated for the NBA since entering high school. Simmons attended Monteverde Academy in Florida, a school very well known for its championship winning basketball program, and after that committed to Louisiana State University, recruited by his godfather.

Simmons only stayed in college for one year, where is marketed all over ESPN, therefore having plenty of publicity. This year Simmons plays for the Philadelphia 76’s, as he was a top draft pick, but he is also already one of the top 10 player’s with the most merchandise sales. Now imagine, sales of his jersey’s in college where he received NO PAYMENT.

But the example of Ben Simmons is one of many.

So how much money do college sports make?

In 2015 the NCAA made 912.3 million dollars in revenue, shy off 1 billion dollars. How much do athletes get from that 912.3 million dollars? Nothing.

The breakdown of NCAA revenue. (Source:NCAA)

No college sport makes more money than college football. Some of the biggest schools in the country, especially from the Power 5 conferences, all together made over 1 billion dollars in revenue from football. Basketball comes in at second generating roughly around 295 million a year.

The University of Texas generates the most revenue in college football, making 95 million last season. (Source:university

Third on the list of top generating college sports is baseball. College baseball teams make significantly less than football and basketball but the NCAA college playoffs and College World Series can generate money for teams that do achieve that.

The fact that collegiate athletes, especially in revenue making sports do not receive a cut in what they do is absurd. Every year the NCAA grows in profits and the possibility of athletes getting paid could become a reality.

How To Make The Most of Your Money

So this post is aimed at how student-athletes can be more efficient with their money, especially the scholarship checks that are sent to them every month. Student-athletes do not have to spend money on books or supplies so most of it goes to rent and food or other miscellaneous necessities but it needs to be spent in a smart way so there are not 0 dollars in their account by the time the next check comes.

This is what regular students spend most of their money on. (Source:

First off, student-athletes should create a budget and figure out what are the most important things the money should be going towards. Rent, groceries, insurance, gas and power should be put into consideration when spending money. One of the biggest issues for not only student-athletes but regular students is spending money on unnecessary items.

I know it might be terrifying at times but checking your balance on your account is very important and can help you decide whether buying something is worth it or not.

It is also important for student-athletes to spread out when they spend their money because since the scholarship stipends come every month, spending it all at once can cause problems.

Always Learning

Let’s say NCAA finally agrees to pay student-athletes but many athletes would not know how to deal with the financial responsibility. In fact, even athletes now struggle to correctly save and spend their monthly scholarship check. 

Mike Tyson is an example of an athlete that has gone bankrupt. (Source:

So far, only a handful of schools are involved in helping their student-athletes be wiser financially. If more schools were to get student-athletes involved in learning more about how to be smarter with money, it would benefit these athletes greatly, especially if they re looking to go pro.

Some statistics of professional athletes being broke. (Source:

The statistics of professionals becoming broke is extremely high and that is because they have never achieved proper eduction on how to stay financially sounds. Student-athletes need to learn about taxes, how to budget properly and knowing when to spend, among others.