Over the past few months there has been quite a bit of discussion about the possibility that schools might pay their athletes (legally) in the near future based on reports that the Big Ten was looking into the option. The topic has been discussed ad nauseum by administrators, pundits, and fans weighing in on both sides of the debate with the majority apparently favoring a system where players get paid. Interestingly, one group that has been noticeably silent is the coaches. Outside of a small group of football coaches in the SEC who supported paying players very few coaches have gone on the record about the topic. To our knowledge the few college basketball who have spoken out on the issue like Mike Krzyzewski and John Calipari have been supportive of the idea (ok, Calipari’s ideas go a bit beyond supportive). Today, one prominent college basketball coach, Frank Martin, came out against the idea in a pair of tweets (#1 and #2) earlier this afternoon.
Martin, who has long been known for his antics on the court, isn’t as well known for his views on policy issues, but it appears that he feels pretty strongly on the topic of paying players. While his stance may go against popular opinion, he does make a good point that paying athletes creates its own problems notably a more uneven playing field even if the more cynical (or possibly realistic) fans think that the big-money schools are already paying players while the smaller schools are left to work with the players who are happy just to get some money off their college tuition. It also could make the act of paying athletes beyond whatever the set amount is a less significant offense in the eyes of booster and program administrators creating a slippery slope where increasing payments could be seen as insignificant offenses.