While all the chat at the SEC's Spring Meetings in Destin, Fl. may have been about scheduling, play-offs, and the amazing haircuts of Mssrs. Miles and Saban, the biggest news was one that was rather buried.
We heard that every SEC coach had voted in a $300-per-game stipend for players. "We think they need more and deserve more", said South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier told the Athens Banner-Herald.
Say that again? Every SEC coach voted in a $300-per-game stipend. They want the players to be paid to play.
Now, paying the players didn't make it past the ADs or university presidents, but it was unlikely to. Why? Because paying the players is a NCAA deal, not a conference deal.
But if there's any chink in the pay-to-play armour, it was going to be done at coach level, and despite many screaming about the free education, it's important these kids get paid.
For the record, we at the VFA are happy with Spurrier's suggestion of $300-per-player, per game. And if comes out of the coach's pocket (like Spurrier suggests), then so be it.
1) Many college football players come from poor backgrounds. Football will mean everything to them, because otherwise, they go back to nothingness.
2) Giving players a small stipend helps to teach them a little about what will happen to them financially in the future when they arrive in the NFL (Or more's the case, if they make it to the NFL). Money becomes less of a shock to them.
3) Universities and clothing companies make a gazillions from merchandising, kit deals, and season ticket sales from the players, who are suddenly scolded by every member of the media if they say: "Is this right?"
LaMichael James tweeted about the University of Oregon auctioning off one of his jerseys: "I love the university but the amount of money they made off me I could buy several eductions lol am I a donor now?"
And school policy at the university of Oregon - this article noted - made players buy their own jerseys back. Oh, so that's OK then.
4) The NCAA, the BCS, and the associated conferences as organisations make a mind-boggling amount of capital from college football and college basketball. The NCAA's deal with CBS/TNT for March Madness is worth $10.8bn. I'll say that again. $10.8bn. The deals for the Big Ten, Pac 12, and SEC Networks are almost as equally extraordinary.) But in the land of zeroes, the players also know about that, because they get paid zero, too.
Some members of the media don't like the idea of players getting paid to pay. They think of the junior doctor who's going to save lives for a living has to pay their own way through school. The junior doctor, when he's qualified, will earn more money for a longer time than the football player - and will probably have a longer life.
There are some who think that a pay-for-play would be disastrous, as it would cause college players of the world to unite and could possibly lead to a strike. Possibly. But why not give it a try? Players deserve to be paid. They are bringing so much cash into the game, and deserve something out of it.
The final question is: Will the NCAA vote it through?
The final answer is: If the NCAA know what's right, they will.