The great debate on paying players has another voice of opposition: Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops.
In an interview with Matt Hayes of The Sporting News, Stoops dishes out a cold, hard scoop of, and I quote, “perspective” about paying athletes.
“I tell my guys all the time,” Stoops says, “you’re not the first one to spend a hungry Sunday without any money.”
It should be noted that Stoops gets paid in the arena of $4.5 million annually. To even say such a thing is, at the very least, off-putting. Then, to cement whatever point he was trying to make, Stoops goes on about the opportunity he received as a player at Iowa under Hayden Fry and how that helped him get to where he is today, as if that somehow relates to the discussion of whether or not players deserve a piece of the TV revenue pie.
More on-topic, but still off-base, is Stoops’ argument that players receive plenty as it is:
“You know what school would cost here for non-state guy? Over $200,000 for room, board and everything else,” Stoops said. “That’s a lot of money. Ask the kids who have to pay it back over 10-15 years with student loans. You get room and board, and we’ll give you the best nutritionist, the best strength coach to develop you, the best tutors to help you academically, and coaches to teach you and help you develop. How much do you think it would cost to hire a personal trainer and tutor for 4-5 years?
“I don’t get why people say these guys don’t get paid. It’s simple, they are paid quite often, quite a bit and quite handsomely.”
Now technically, Stoops is right about the benefits athletes receive. I’ve seen first-hand what players in a BCS school have at their disposal on a day-to-day basis, and it’s nice, if not lavish. But what Stoops doesn’t elaborate on (and what Bomani Jones does) is what all of those resources are really there to do. The tutor is there to keep the athlete eligible so he can play and win. The best nutritionist is there to make sure the athlete’s body gets the proper nourishment so that he can play and win. The best strength coach is there to develop the athlete so that he can play at his best and win. The coaches are there to develop the athlete so he can play at his best and win.
It’s all done for the sake of winning, a higher purpose. It’s not solely for the athlete. To sell it as anything else is selling it short because everything from TV deals to weight rooms are tools to help a program be as successful as it possibly can. That’s true no matter how Stoops tries to spin it:
“Those 70,000 fans in the stadium are cheering and buying tickets to see Oklahoma.”
Guess OU doesn’t need to make Stoops one of the top 10 richest coaches in college football then.