Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith just received a fat bonus for doing very little work. Thanks to Logan Stieber winning an NCAA wrestling title, Smith is $18,000 richer. As The Republic points out, that figure is roughly equivalent to one week’s base pay for the AD.
This isn’t a condemnation of Smith. Hell, he just signs the contract and lets the bonuses roll in. A contract that pays for,”exceptional athletic achievements” by teams or individuals. Nevertheless, if this isn’t a sign that college athletics is modern-day indentured servitude, then what is?
A man making $940,484 per year, pre bonuses, rakes in extra income on the back of another’s successes. For his part, Stieber gets $0. Unless, that is, you’re partial to the well-aged argument that he gets paid in free tuition – in that case, I suppose Stieber earned his keep. Though, wouldn’t education be considered a base pay he earns regardless of winning a title? Isn’t he deserving of a “bonus” much like his boss’ boss.
The issue of pay-for-play in college athletics is a long, meandering debate. However, when one person achieves success by way of his work, only to receive no payout, while another earns a bonus due to a tangential relationship, there is something inherently wrong. To deny this inequity is nothing short of willed ignorance.