It was an especially sweet week for Alabama’s coaching staff.
Just one day after the Crimson Tide defeated Georgia in the CFP National Championship game, ESPN's Darren Rovell unveiled the bonus each coach will receive as a result of the victory. And, unsurprisingly, the figure has sparked some controversy.
So, how much more will the coaching staff take home? In total, nearly $1.3 million.
Though these types of bonuses are expected for securing a national title, it's still $1.27 million more than the bonus Alabama's players are getting. Of course, this has reignited debate about the idea of paying college athletes. Many people argue that it doesn’t make sense to use the students’ skills and likeness to generate revenue for the school without providing some kind of financial compensation. Others say the athletes get enough compensation through academic scholarships, and they’re essentially getting “paid” with a free or more affordable education in exchange for representing their school’s sports department.
There are a lot of other arguments within the debate that address everything from tax burdens to student-athletes' jam-packed schedules to the potential pay gaps between certain sports and individual players. But in a recent op-ed for The Guardian, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar pointed to one of the most overlooked factors in the ongoing debate: race.
A 2017 HuffPost/YouGov survey showed only 27% of whites strongly or somewhat are for paying college athletes. However, 52% of African-Americans strongly or somewhat support paying. Why the divide along racial lines. A study in Political Research Quarterly concluded that “harboring negative racial views about blacks was the single strongest predictor of white opposition to paying athletes.” There are other divides: men support paying college athletes more than women do, Democrats more than Republicans, adults under 30 more than adults 65 and older. But race is the largest percentage difference.
Regardless of what side of the debate they're on, it's safe to assume most people value fairness. Until the universities and athletic conferences present a reasonable compromise or solution to this problem, student-athletes will just have to make do. It's too bad you can't pay utility bills with glory.