By Jason Shoot
Occasionally, if you listen very closely, you hear them.
Little rumblings and grumblings by college athletes who feel as if they have been used and abused by their institutions, which rake in hundreds of thousands of dollars and distribute very little of that money to the people who are responsible for bringing in that money in the first place the players themselves.
With the disclosure of CBS's $6 billion contract with the NCAA to continue televising the men's national basketball tournament, talk has once again resumed of paying college athletes for their services.
At first, the idea doesn't seem like too bad of a plan. After all, universities such as Florida State, Notre Dame and Michigan have abundant financial resources that would make paying athletes seem reasonable.
Of course, not all NCAA Division I schools have the same resources, so let's briefly play with some hypothetical scenarios.
Imagine a highly-touted running back out of southern California, and for the sake of argument we'll name this kid Jim Bob Beetlewacker. Jim Bob is heavily recruited by many NCAA Division I schools, and he has narrowed his decision to three Notre Dame, Oregon State and San Diego State.
If the NCAA said schools had to begin paying football players, what school is most likely to be able to pay for Jim Bob's services? Naturally, Notre Dame.
The biggest universities will not only dwarf smaller institutions in the sheer number of students, faculty, etc., but will also be able to offer more money to each player.
And it won't simply be poverty-stricken athletes who take the money and run, catch, tackle or shoot for their respective school. It will be any 18-year-old kid who wants a little extra change in his pocket when he wants to go do the things 18-year-old kids do.
And who gets paid by each university? Do all the student-athletes get paid even athletes in lacrosse, field hockey, volleyball, soccer or baseball?
That seems extraordinarily unlikely.
Do superstars on respective teams earn more money than teammates simply because they may grab more rebounds, throw more touchdowns or hit more home runs?
And what about universities that turn a profit in one, maybe two, sports?
At many colleges nationwide, football is the only sport that manages to finish in the black every year. Football often times funds every other sport, including both men's and women's basketball and other sports that receive less notoriety.
It doesn't take Donald Trump to understand that paying players by taking a large portion of money away from an athletic department essentially funded through football spells doom for several sports at that institution.
How can a school such as Washington State University, which quite possibly would not even have an athletic program if not for the money generated by football, continue to fund smaller, less-visible sports such as rugby or women's soccer if it is forced to pay every athlete wearing a Cougar uniform?
Athletes are also earning scholarships, which are a form of payment themselves. A basketball player who gets a full-ride scholarship at Stanford saves himself $32,015 every year.
Uh, that seems like a hefty payment right there for some of the best education any university could hope to offer.
Speaking for myself, I would have volunteered to have each of my pinky toes removed for a free education at an upper-level university. Of course, that's what a short, slow, dumb person such as myself thinks about.
And maybe that's just it. Perhaps college athletes are much more like their professional counterparts than we originally gave them credit for far too concerned with the money-making side of sports. Is this really what collegiate sports are turning into just an amateur form of professional athletics? Is nothing sacred anymore?
Athletes concerned only with how much cash can fit into their wallets should skip college and try to make their dreams of playing professional sports come true, leaving college for those of us more interested in expanding our minds and horizons than where our next royalty check is coming from.