Alabama Coaching Staff's Bonuses for Title Win Reignite Debate About Paying College Athletes

The staff is getting over $1 million extra.

Alabama winning the national championship.

Image via Todd Kirkland/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Alabama winning the national championship.

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.

Alabama’s coaches will receive $1.27 million in bonuses for winning title.

— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) January 9, 2018

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.

Can’t pay those players, though.

— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) January 9, 2018

$100,000 bonus for Saban if Alabama wins.
$400,000 bonus for Smart if Georgia wins
$1.2 million for a 30 second ad spot during tonight’s game
$7.3 billion is what espn is paying to broadcast game.
$0 For the players playing in the game. #NationalChampionship

— Angel (@angelhobbss) January 9, 2018

Alabama players: “Aye Coach, can we get some of that bonus money?”

Nick Saban:

— 🥳 (@yzypreme) January 9, 2018

I love College Football, but every year it gets harder and harder to justify the current system that is in place. The giant spectacle that is the National Championship just goes to show. Please pay the players and allow them to make money off their likeness.

— Bryant Barnes (@BryantAsIn_Kobe) January 9, 2018

They get a free 4 years of college, and even if they aren’t going to go pro and make millions, they’re getting a good education and they get to play the sport they love... also if you pay college athletes why not high school? Texas HS football is no joke so where would it end?

— Ty (@tyvanduyn) January 9, 2018

If they do get paid, they need to pay their own way through school. And should be standard contracts and pay rates for ALL college athletes.

— Mark (@MarkFarley83) January 9, 2018
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.

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.

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. 

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