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Bob Stoops thinks players get ‘paid’ enough already

Bob Stoops AP

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.

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28 Responses to “Bob Stoops thinks players get ‘paid’ enough already”
  1. gorilladunk says: Apr 10, 2013 1:33 PM

    I really think the point Stoops was trying to make was that the opportunity exists for ALL the players to get an education which might lead them to a great career opportunity. With no college degree, Stoops would not be the head coach at OU. Ergo, he would probably not have a job paying him the millions he makes. The athletes (in all sports) are given assistance that the vast majority of students never have access to. In return, they provide a service that helps the bottom line at the University. The years before Stoops arrived at OU, the Sooners averaged about 65,000 in attendance. In the past 14 years, that number has jumped to close to 90,000. Donations to the University have almost doubled. Do the math. He has MORE than earned his paycheck. (as have Saban, Les Miles, Spurrier, Urban Meyer, etc)

  2. alligatorsnapper says: Apr 10, 2013 1:35 PM

    Bob Stoops can definitely pay his players by just a minority percentage of his pay and benefits. It may be taken out of the hands and mouths of quite well paid coaches as Stoops and all other major college football coaches I know, and it may be taken out of the hands and mouths of university presidents and the NCAA. The court may well force it upon them while they are huffing and puffing.

    I do understand the benefits of free tuition, room and board, tutoring, and great nutritious meals, but there is no opportunity with the practice schedules for an athlete on scholarship to work, to even earn a small amount to pay for two burgers, fries, and drinks a week. There must be something that could be done without bankrupting schools or continuing things as they are. No one seems to want to really do anything and that leave a court or judge to impose something that no one really wants.

  3. lionscornbread90 says: Apr 10, 2013 1:44 PM

    It’s all done for the sake of winning, a higher purpose. It’s not solely for the athlete.

    I guess I am missing your point….Just because it is done for the sake of winning dose that make it any less valuable to the athlete? I dont think he is selling anything. He is pointing out a fact…

  4. pjduffey says: Apr 10, 2013 2:04 PM

    I don’t think that Stoops was suggesting the tutor, nutritionist, room & board, tuition, trainer, etc are charitable in nature. He is expressly acknowledging the quid pro quo and is taking the position that players are actually not doing so badly. In that part he is correct–it’s a quid pro quo and for athletes who aren’t stars it’s really not a bad deal. Just like any pro athlete might get paid $10M/year to play, a college athlete is getting benefits worth $X that could help him succeed athletically or otherwise. And as Big Game Bob points out, it’s not cheap (although I agree it’s a bit rich coming from someone with a seven-figure salary).

    The bigger issue, for me, is fairness. At my school, Florida, we are in contention for the Sears Cup every year. That means that our Athletic Director (Jeremy Foley) spends an enormous amount of money on ALL sports. So while the football player gets a tutor and a trainer, so too does the womens lacrosse player or the swimmer. So the paradigm is a small group of revenue generating athletes funding a completely independent entity (at Florida, the UAA) that funds ALL sports, including scholarships and other costs. Is it fair that the football player who might be contributing $500k worth of value over 4 years gets $250k in benefits just like the swimmer or lacrosse player?

    Of course, what about the difference between a no-name football player and a Time Tebow? One is an important, albeit replaceable, part of the team while the other is a once-in-a-lifetime player who also happens to sell jerseys and tickets.

    My point is not novel, but it is something that is largely un-addressed in the paying players debate. Paying for talent is a much more complex answer than is sometimes suggested.

  5. mikefoxtrottango says: Apr 10, 2013 2:08 PM

    “To even say such a thing is, at the very least, off-putting.”

    Yeah…especially if you’re a totally vadge.

  6. hermie13 says: Apr 10, 2013 2:23 PM

    Agree 100% with Stoops here.

  7. burm61 says: Apr 10, 2013 2:25 PM

    Of course the big time programs don’t want to pay players. If they had to, they would lose a big advantage.

  8. thedon84 says: Apr 10, 2013 2:33 PM

    Does it matter what the purpose of the benefits is? Do they get any less because they are intended to better the program and not the player? NO! The players still receive them regardless. What a ridiculous argument.

  9. gorilladunk says: Apr 10, 2013 2:47 PM

    @burm61… you think the NCAA is going to pass legislation that makes only the “big time” programs pay their players? If one school has to pay, they’re ALL going to have to cough up the dough. Exactly what advantage, then, will any school have over another? Let’s use our head for something besides a hat rack.

  10. mhalt99 says: Apr 10, 2013 3:08 PM

    bob stoops is a delusional tart. a college degree is worth toilet paper in today’s market….far cry of what a uchicago degree was worth for the first heisman winner.

    he know’s that his salary will be headed downward as will all of “management” once they have to pay their “workers.” and yes, this will lead to cut sports for women and men. does it really make sense to send a men’s soccer team from wv to texas 10-20 times…what about softball teams from nebraska to to new jersey or from syracuse/boston to florida?????? make something between club teams and university teams…….spend the excess money on something novel… maybe a few professors

  11. jollyjoker2 says: Apr 10, 2013 3:38 PM

    I have no problem cutting his pay down to the athletes pay..Seeing as how he lives off THEIR work.

  12. jollyjoker2 says: Apr 10, 2013 3:41 PM

    He maims kids through a blood sport and claims some righteousness about payment. Its just another rich guy blaming poor people for their monopoly of the market. The NCAA would not exist unless the feds gave them monopoly power. Its power by not allowing these schools without penalty to start their own gigs and pay kids directly.

  13. ncm42 says: Apr 10, 2013 3:46 PM

    Mhalt, whatever the degree is ‘worth’, it still costs a lot to obtain.

  14. whitdog23 says: Apr 10, 2013 4:34 PM

    I’ve been saying this for YEARS…about time somebody else recognizes the GREAT value in a college education and points it out to the kids.
    Not every former college athlete can work for Enterprise Rental Cars after their playing days.

  15. bigdinla says: Apr 10, 2013 5:11 PM


    I am going to assume that was a bad troll attempt because it was to inane to be anything else.

    As for the OP, give me a break. No one makes these kids play football. They are leveraging their ability to gain( in theory) an education and a chance at the NFL. These scholarships exist because schools want to win games and make money. The scholarships are worth a lot of money irregardless of the schools intentions. Do you really think kids are going to stop taking the scholarships? Also if schools are forced to pay these kids all it will do is kill lower level football and non-revenue sports. Title 9 will never allow foot all players to be paid and women’s sports left unpaid. It would be an unmitigated disaster!

  16. latrobe21 says: Apr 10, 2013 5:18 PM

    Stoops is absolutely 100% correct in his assessment.

  17. eugenesaxe says: Apr 10, 2013 5:49 PM

    Finally, someone came out and said the common-sense thing. A lot of people would kill for $40-50k/year, esp. if it put them in a position to make a lot more long-term.

  18. guinsrule says: Apr 10, 2013 6:42 PM

    It’s not a matter of the players being paid, it’s a matter of the players being paid fairly. Without the players, the money goes away. No one pays to watch the coaches “coach.”

  19. mulecreekkennels says: Apr 10, 2013 9:12 PM

    Stoops has got it right, more coaches should stress this to the players. What an opportunity for most of these guys…grab it and go

  20. normtide says: Apr 10, 2013 9:17 PM

    The to tier schools will have little problem paying players. At these programs, the coaches will still be highly paid. The rest will feel the pinch, and the separation between the major and mid major programs will widen. Now, I expect there to be some rules, to keep all schools paying the same amount. To keep recruiting equal. So, do you keep the amount low enough so mac level schools remain FBS? Or do the large schools form their own division?

    As for the amenities, the players benefit from them, regardless of why they are there. It seems a moot point to me.

  21. dalucks says: Apr 10, 2013 9:18 PM

    It is always interesting for the person who can give himself pay raises that someone else gets paid enough.
    Bob Stoops pay will cease with a few more disappointing seasons.

  22. sparty0n says: Apr 10, 2013 9:40 PM

    I’m sick of these STUPID pay the damn player arguments! Fine! Pay the players $1,500/mo. Every athlete gets $1,500/mo. The starting QB $1,500/mo. Women on the swim team $1,500 /mo. Track and Field, everyone $1,500/mo. Now there is no more issue with them not being able to get a job like everyone else. They get paid cash for their contributions to the program’s success. Now they have pizza money. There is everyone happy???

    Now make them PAY for college like everyone else and leave with $80K in debt, LIKE EVERYONE ELSE!

  23. timlally says: Apr 11, 2013 12:17 AM

    maybe the players should take advantage of the opportunity. your argument is around playing football how about talking about the kids are too dumb to see what they are getting. I wished I had the same opportunity instead of having to pay for my education.

  24. louhudson23 says: Apr 11, 2013 3:46 AM

    There is little doubt that the point Stoops makes is lost on the majority of athletes who receive the opportunity that he speaks of. There is also little doubt that the value of what he speaks of varies widely from player to player. Nevertheless,while some pizza money seems reasonable,the fact is that student athletes on scholarship receive something of great value. More emphasis should be placed on what that value is and how they can best take advantage of it. I believe any scholarship athlete should have that scholarship for 8 years. Players mature and see the benefit of what they have after their playing days are over and more complete their degrees without the burden and stress of competing. Others hit it from the start and receive advanced degrees. Why and how they receive their degree is less important than the fact that they do. Full time player and full time student is a huge burden for the best of students. Attend and pass your classes. Remediation of what they missed in High School,groundwork for a degree,social adjustment and working to produce mature college graduates .And what possible difference does it make why the schools make all of this available? The idea that their motivation is important is plain silly.

  25. brewcrewfan54 says: Apr 11, 2013 11:16 AM

    While he’s not wrong he’s not really right either.

  26. redbirdsrising says: Apr 11, 2013 4:20 PM

    You cannot play football players in college any more than you pay basketball players, baseball players, gymnasts, badminton, wrestling, or any other college sport that is in the red. Football is always the sport cash cow. Always will be. Not only do players get scholarships and access to the best of everything, they also are competing in what amounts to be the minor league of the NFL, they get an opportunity to make millions in the long run.

    The value of a college education and all the other perks of being a scholarship athlete, is payment enough. If a college football player doesn’t want to compete for that scholarship, they can drop.

  27. noonelistensanyway says: Apr 12, 2013 9:08 PM

    Kiss my ass Big Game Bob….by the way good luck this year!!!

  28. rebelnutt says: Apr 16, 2013 10:06 AM

    Why don’t they just seperate fooball from the school? They can still be the Oklahoma Sooners, but they just play football. If they want to get an education they must pay for it from what they get paid for playing football. If not, you have 4 years of eligability and off you go to the pro’s or 7-11. Max pay is the cost of school (room-board) plus $500 per month… Each player has a choice of taking the money and just playing football or be a “true” student athlete. Just a suggestion…

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