To all the college football players who are doing everything possible to change around a system that’s doing everything possible not to change
I say this as someone who’s 100% on your side, and as someone who desperately wants to see this college athletic business model blown up.
I can’t stress this enough – I’m with you, I’m with you, I’m with you, and it starts with this …
You suck at business and negotiation.
I don’t say that to be mean, because you’re not supposed to be good at this quite yet. You’ve spent your life working on school, football, and doing all the things necessary to get to where you are.
Meanwhile, the people in charge of universities and major college athletics are high-end professional businessmen and women who are twice or three times your age, and they’ve been spending your life span – if not a whole lot longer – doing the things they’ve needed to do to get to where they are.
It’s not a fair fight, and it shows because you’re not even playing the right game. You don’t even know where the stadium is.
For example, of course those in charge will be happy to allow you to have a seat at the table in meetings about future discussions about how to create a panel with suggestions regarding the best way to talk about how to put together a timetable – you get the idea – in the name of social justice.
You’ll probably get to put a sticker on your helmet, too.
Yeah … and how about a cut of the revenue? You sort of demanded it, players, but you’re asking them to figure it out for you. That’s not going to work.
Yeah … and how about true and meaningful longer-term health care for injuries occurring during your time playing college football? Again, you asked them to figure it out for you. That’s not going to work.
18-to-23-year-old football players, I have two words that should scare you to death if you truly understand what they mean: preexisting condition.
So forgive me for being brutally harsh here, but the faster you understand your situation, the better your chances to get something you want and deserve.
Get this into your collective heads, college football players.
1. College football is a multi-billion dollar business.
2. You’re entertainers. You’re in show business.
3. Colleges aren’t doing you a favor. You are where you are because you worked your ass off to get there, and you have a marketable skill that they need. However …
4. You’re TOTALLY expendable. College football will go on without you.
5. Everything you’re fighting for will be for the guys coming after you. So unless you’re prepared to sacrifice your own dreams and your own college football careers, you’re not getting any meaningful thing.
You want to argue with me? You think you know what you’re doing? Okay …
What the hell was that?
That might as well have been #WeAreSOOOOODesperateSoPleaseTakeAllOurLeverage.
Oh wait, but there’s more. You want to know how far out of your depth you are, college football players? Try this one out.
Colleges not only have you believing they’re doing you a favor, they have you suckered into a worse deal than you can possibly imagine.
When you hear the term non-revenue sport, who do you think is paying for the coaches and these other athletes to do their after-school activities? Okay, not totally, but a when it comes to a chunk of it …
YOU – and the other revenue producing athletes – ARE.
You know all those athletic department cuts being made at school after school? Yeah, those people were partially getting paid off the revenue that you generated.
Don’t you see what’s happening here? No football, no other sports other than the ones that can pay for themselves.
THAT’S it, college football players. THAT’S your leverage going forward.
It stinks, it’s ugly, it’s brutal, and it’s business.
But it all starts with having real professionals help you out.
The only thing that matters to you is the ability to have an agent and proper representation to negotiate on your behalf. Without that, the college system is going to dictate its own terms, and you’re not going to have any sort of say.
How do you do that? College team player reps, you need LeBron on your side. He has power. Trevor Lawrence doesn’t.
You need high-profile professional athletes and other figures to take on the heavy lifting that you’re not financially and legally able to. So instead of sending a list of demands to the conferences, send an SOS to the real power brokers to help.
Be interested in what Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is going to do with the XFL. This might be a case of art imitating life with a Spencer Strasmore-like advocate in Johnson – a former Miami Hurricane – coming up with an alternative pro football solution that might finally have some teeth.
It’s going to be hard, but you’ve got this … eventually.
Even if those demands you sent out didn’t really have any teeth, you’re on your way.