Gary Williams might be outspoken and controversial at times, but he's usually right, or at least somewhere in that vicinity. Such is the case with his public call on Wednesday for college athletes to be paid.
As the NCAA overlords continue to sit in diamond-encrusted bathtubs while scrubbing their calluses with gold bullion, collegiate athletes continue to get busted for receiving even minor sums from agents. I can't imagine many reasonable people who don't have a stake in the NCAA seeing this as fair and equitable, and Williams agrees.
"These guys don't receive anything except room, board, books, tuition and fees, which doesn't put any cash in their pockets,'' Williams told Jerry Coleman on Baltimore's 1370, via David Steele. "And some of these guys are pretty poor coming here, and a lot of college students have some money. You feel out of place, you don't feel competitive academically sometimes, and I think it could do a lot of good.
"Plus, hopefully, it would keep away some of the unscrupulous people that do hang around the great athletes, where an athlete wouldn't befriend a guy just because a guy gave him 100 bucks or something like that.''
Via Steele, Williams said this topic is frequently discussed by college coaches, and that when he was a college athlete, he received $15 a month spending money, well before the NCAA became a billion-dollar entity. Which is why he wasn't buying the argument that there just aren't enough dollars to give a seat to the dollar-producing athletes on the money train.
"That's what the NCAA will tell you,'' he said, "but if you did pay the revenue-producing sports athletes, you would still have that money coming in that they exist on now. There's plenty of money off the men's basketball tournament that you can pay men's basketball players, football players, whatever, the revenue-producing sports, and still have enough money to run your other sports. And I think that's why a lot of people (believe) they should be paid.''
Agree agree agree. Read the full comments here.
(And of course, CNBC's Darren Rovell has to be the voice of reason, arguing that Title IX would mandate you pay all athletes if you pay any.)