Our CBS Sports college football writers spoke with one-fifth of the 129 active coaches leading FBS teams entering the 2018 season. They asked for their honest opinions on everything from NCAA rules to social issues to their peers in the profession. We will be sharing their candid thoughts over a two-week period leading into the season.
You know the story by now. The glory days of the college football video game have come and gone, player welfare has become a bigger issue and the multi-billion dollar media rights deals have transformed the sport of college football into big business. So where's the piece of the pie for the players?
The full cost of attendance stipend has bridged the gap a little bit and covers actual expenses that aren't covered in athletic scholarships, but is the combination of a scholarship, full cost of attendance stipend and other ancillary income enough to cover what players are worth? We asked coaches if players should be able to market themselves based on their football prowess.
Should college football players be able to license their name and likeness rights for profit?
- "[Yes, but] how do you do it and keep the whole amateurism [model]? If you can do it and keep what we're doing somehow where it's not out of control, I think they have every right to."
- "It would be equitable; it would be fair. It would bring some peace to our game following the Olympic model. I have kids on my team. [One player] wants to open a fashion line. If that can help him, then why not? In my job, where I make money in other ways [besides coaching], I have no issue with it."
- "I think we've got other things we need to figure out. I'm not really into giving them cash right now. I'd rather see them putting something into a fund. If they graduate, they walk away with the money."
- "I think they deserve it in a way. What's the deserving line? Who on the team, a bunch of really good players, is deserving? Is that fair? No. Is it ever going to be? No. Should we be doing that? Probably not for that reason. I don't how to do it. … I don't think the NCAA or even the coaches or universities can do it the right way. The perception is [all the money is] all made off of those players."
- "[No.] I think that's a slippery slope, too. I think they deserve a little bit more. There are creative ways to be able to take care of them. I don't think you can get into paying them."
- "I think you have an opportunity to get a great education, go somewhere and get your school paid for. Do something you've always dreamed of. Back in the day, I would have never dreamed of it. Do I think they need to use their names and likeness? … That's why there are professional sports."
- "In the true spirit of amateurism, no. But are we really amateurs?"
- "There's a handful of [players] that could make quite a bit of money off their likeness. Once you open the door to that, you open Pandora's Box."
- "I don't have a problem with it. We use the players to create who we are. We use the star players to market our game."
- "It's their name, their image, their likeness. Nobody is going broke off of college football. What is the NCAA worth, a billion dollars? Why shouldn't players be able to tap into that?"
- "No. I don't like the way that's going, to be honest, because I think we're turning them into professional athletes. I'm not sure coaches deserve that right, either. I'd like to see us stay more of an amateur sport. From my view where I see college football going, everything is driven by money and it's less like amateur sports. I think we're losing the college atmosphere."
- "I think they deserve the right to, but I don't think they can do it because it opens the floodgates of what a guy gets and what the school says they can give. As much as they deserve the right, I don't think you can do it and control it with boosters and other influences.
Breaking it down
It's clear from the answers and the relatively even split between yes and no votes that this is a very divisive issue not only publicly but within the coaching ranks. Legal battles between the NCAA and others (including former UCLA basketball player Ed O'Bannon) have been going on for several years, and the resolution to this question -- based on the prolonged nature of the cases in the court system -- is as clear as mud.
Candid Coaches series