California law points out imbalance in college sports

California now has a law that allows college student-athletes to make money — legally -through endorsement deals, selling autographs and so on. It allows them to do a lot of things that would normally bring down NCAA punishment on themselves and their colleges.

The law points to the glaring ridiculousness of money in college sports. Big time college athletics is big business. Football and basketball programs at the top schools bring in millions of dollars a year. The coaches are paid millions, too. Duke Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski gets paid nearly $9 million a year. Alabama’s Football Coach Nick Saban makes a little more than $8 million. Clemson Football Coach Dabo Swinney just surpassed that, signing a 10-year contract for $93 million. In most big colleges, the coaches outearn most of the rest of the faculty.

Meanwhile, the players who win the games for these guys get nothing, outside of a scholarship, which is not insubstantial, some great amenities, good food, but no cash.

People love college sports in America. They’ll shell out big money to go to games, advertisers will pay big money to sponsors the games on TV and donors will pour money into building and capital funds for bigger and better athletic facilities.

California is recognizing that some credit, and some of the money, should go to the athletes who make it all possible. Big-time college athletics long ago stopped being about amateur student-athletes. It’s time the NCAA, pushed by California’s new law, recognized that.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)