From The Inbox

A better way to put college royalties to use

Paying college golfers? What would Bobby Jones think?

A better way to put college royalties to use
Let me state up front that I have a bias against paying college athletes – either through a fixed stipend or based on royalties from use of a likeness (“California pokes NCAA’s golden goose,” Sept. 24).

A college scholarship to attend and earn a degree from a prestigious university, such as Stanford or Texas where tuition and room and board is out of reach for most middle-class families, should be compensation enough. If college athletes are really not there for an education, let’s quit pretending they are students and call them what they are: underpaid professionals in training who are adjunct employees that represent the image of the university.

So how to deal with the fact that universities and the NCAA get millions of dollars in revenue generated from athletes? I have a simple solution: let the universities and the NCAA be required to use 100 percent of the profit from licensed products to fund academically based scholarship programs. Everyone benefits: athletes, because they cannot accuse others of getting wealthy on their image; the NCAA, which shows they really care about academics; the universities, because they can attract a better mix of students; and all of those students who were not born without the genetics to be natural, gifted athletes.

Paying college golfers? What would Bobby Jones think?

Dan Trate
Loveland, Ohio

‘The heart of amateur sport’
I know that I risk being thought of as old-fashioned and out of touch with today's world, but I cannot remain mute when values and ethics are challenged. While I agree that college athletes should be supported in all of their expenses, I vehemently disagree with them earning money from their athletic endeavors (“California pokes NCAA’s golden goose,” Sept. 24).

College scholarships are designed to reward real ability in whatever sport the athletes are competing. The idea of being unpaid before turning professional is at the heart of amateur sport. This allows for a reasonably level financial playing field and encourages character and competitive spirit.

The NCAA has an opportunity here to do the right thing. By ensuring that amateur athletes can compete without financial hardship, no matter what college they attend, they would be able to maintain the status quo in amateur sport.

Political influence has been brought to bear in this matter by people who have a financial agenda (sports companies, e.g.). Golf and other sports will lose a great deal when and if this goes through.

What are we trying to teach our young athletes? That money is more important than sport? That money is more important than competition? I sincerely hope not.

Paul Sunderland
Los Angeles

Reward those who generate wealth in college athletics
I agree with Morning Read’s Ron Kroichick (“California pokes NCAA’s golden goose,” Sept. 24). Why should the rich get richer at the expense of the people who actually are responsible for the outcomes of the events on which the money is made? In other words, the collegiate athletic environment, as it has been forever. It might be the only business in America in which the people who are responsible for the product make zero money. The hot dog vendor gets paid.

It is way past due for the players to have a chance to make money while participating and using their likeness, etc., to further their own economic interests.

The NCAA should not fight this proposal. Instead, the NCAA should embrace it and place reasonable guidelines so the playing fields are level. Otherwise, the states that do approve it will have a huge advantage over those that do not.

Change is here, so run with it, NCAA.

Bob Geismar
Boca Raton, Fla.

‘Slippery tax slope’ of push to pay college athletes
Who will benefit if the NCAA and colleges/universities begin allowing students to receive outside financial rewards? (“California pokes NCAA’s golden goose,” Sept. 24).

Many student-athletes receive laughable educations; many will receive made-up degree programs – "general studies" for example; and many will not graduate with any education. So, the education value for students in athletic programs is often a joke. The system is taking advantage of the students while the NCAA lives in the past, hamstringing athletes with harsh rules. The institutions receive sponsor money from logoed products and TV contracts in many of the sports. The highest revenue comes from men's basketball and football, not golf and other sports.

What are the states backing these bills throwing in? Are they going to tax the revenue that the students receive? You bet. How could they exempt this income stream? The IRS and Social Security will get their cuts of the action.

In theory, the various government agencies could receive up to 50 percent of this gain in certain states. Would this stipend then trigger the “scholarships” received by the students as imputed value? They're receiving this revenue only because of their “education,” which is exempted from income tax. If the student’s scholarship is rewarded with income, then the “scholarship” is now an income generator. Should it be 1099’ed?

The educational cost value at a junior college is relatively low, but scholarships to major universities such as Notre Dame, Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Southern Cal and others are imputed income of $100,000 a year or more. Why should this income value not be taxed?

Each year, hundreds of millions in dollar value is given away at major universities, all tax free. Why should it remain tax free it the athletes are employees of these institutions?

Though the intentions are good, to help student-athletes, it's a slippery tax slope.

Patrick Scott
Lakewood Ranch, Fla.

There’s no ‘i’ in ‘team,’ but there is in ‘income’
I agree that the NCAA uses its participants ruthlessly and generates big money (“California pokes NCAA’s golden goose,” Sept. 24). Coaches at many schools are paid much more than some physicians. The idea of allowing some players to get paid highly and others nothing gives me pause.

If Player A gets an endorsement deal and Player B does not, will that spell the end of team play? I'm for all participants having health care and an insurance policy for some sort of debilitating injury, but personal endorsements, not so much.

Allow the teams to receive compensation for their prowess and use that money to feed, clothe and sustain the team. How would this affect the Title IX situation? Would the women be receiving the same endorsements?

Lots of unanswered questions.

Garen Eggleston
The Villages, Fla.

A cautionary tale for Bhatia
I have to disagree with reader Matt Sughrue about Akshay Bhatia (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Sept. 24).

While it’s true that better competition will make you better, Bhatia is light years behind even the fringe PGA Tour players. He has won only one amateur tournament of any consequence; all of his other victories were in junior events. He didn’t even win the U.S. Junior Amateur. In two tries, he hasn’t gotten past the round of 32 in the U.S. Amateur. That’s hardly a Matthew Wolff can’t-miss resume.

Bhatia has no status on any tour. So where does he go to get better by playing against better players? Maybe he was smart to take Callaway’s money while it was available. We’ll see.

As for the “ghost of Ty Tryon,” maybe Tryon did flame out. But he got on Tour through Q-School. Until Bhatia does something on a tour besides missing cuts, it’s not fair to the others to whom he’s compared.

Charlie Jurgonis
Fairfax, Va.

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