Letter to the editor: College athlete endorsements are a bad idea

By: Gil Dietz – Muscatine

It’s all about the money. Yes, it is always about the money, but it is wrong to pay college athletes money to endorse certain products or companies.

A bill to legalize the payment of big money to college athletes for their self-images has been approved by the California state legislature. It does not take effect until 2023, and could be overturned, but apparently there are legislators in other states who want to hop on board with their own versions of play for pay. The college athletics governing body, the NCAA, hasn’t decided if they like the idea or not.

Most college athletics are team sports.  Football takes 11 players on offense and 11 on defense, plus subs. If a running back for a college team is to get paid because he is so great, maybe the best in the Big 10, what about the offensive linemen who make his running game possible? Are you going to pay huge sums of money to the running back to endorse your company or your product, and leave the blockers with nothing? It doesn’t make sense. Running backs get the publicity for carrying the ball, but they aren’t much if the linemen and others aren’t paving the way.

Should a coach give more opportunities to the big name guy instead of other players? Does your team win only when the applause guy gets his extra chances with the ball?

Pay for play would benefit big name schools at the expense of other schools. Who wants to play for New Mexico or South Dakota State if the male or female athlete could go to a bigger school and more lofty endorsements? Iowa City, for that matter, is not home to well-known companies or products. Maybe Iowa’s field goal kicker, Keith Duncan, should be paid to endorse Hamburg Inn.

Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley offered some good answers to some of these questions in a recent article in The Des Moines Register. Stanley said he is getting a free college education, that would cost $40,000 a year for an out-of-state student, and he thinks that is payment enough. He wouldn’t be getting personal endorsements for a middling team anyway, but he is opposed to the general idea.

I also think it is terribly wrong that the state of Iowa has legalized betting on all sports, including college teams. It is OK to wager money on professional teams, but betting on college sports is wrong, wrong. Just wait until the gamblers manage to rig a game.