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A pro agent's case for paying college football players

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What needs to change is the entire attitude toward college football. This is the perfect time to implement an honest approach to the combination of big-time football and higher education, an approach that eliminates the NCAA's notion of amateurism. College football generates huge revenues, and there is plenty of money to create a win-win business model for players, coaches and universities. A big business deserves market-driven reform, free of hypocrisy. Here are 10 steps to accomplish that.

1.All of the major football-playing universities should lease the rights to operate a commercial football program on behalf of the university to an independent, outside company.

For example, the University of Southern California would contract with USC Football Inc. Such leases would be open to bidding -- schools such as Notre Dame, USC and Texas could generate massive revenue. USC football could look exactly as it does now, except USC Football Inc. would have paid for the right to operate it. The university and the company would share net profits from all revenue streams at a negotiated level. Can you imagine how much more revenue schools could garner if, for instance, they were allowed to sell more ad space on uniforms?

This would not be a new business structure for major universities; many already use similar arrangements for other ventures. For example, many major athletic departments now sell their marketing rights to outside companies, and the majority of schools (and the NCAA) contract with the Collegiate Licensing Company to market and license their trademarks.

Some universities would find that the marketplace doesn't have any interest in their programs. This means that business people think football is a money-loser for those schools. So those schools should drop football and allocate the money to their core objective: educating students.

2. Each university's football corporation could create leagues, whether long- or short-term, with other corporations.

There wouldn't have to be any allegiance to geography, fan loyalties or tradition. For example, some of these leagues could be premised on budget size. To a large degree, this is already being done; it's called the BCS. A group of conferences formed the BCS, or Bowl Championship Series, and decided to exclude other conferences.

Or the football corporations could decide to avoid joining a league, simply scheduling games as a free agent. Again, this is hardly novel -- Notre Dame has done it for years, and Brigham Young University is contemplating it now -- so this arrangement would simply formalize and spread the practice.

3. All of the players would be paid a salary, whatever the market would bear.


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