Is There Too Much Money in Sports?
On the surface, the answer to that question seems pretty obvious, but maybe it’s time to take a much harder look at that question. What brought this to a head for me is the Lance Armstrong story, which unless you have been stranded on Gilligan’s Island, you know all about his situation. You might be asking what money has to do Armstrong’s mention in this article. Well, it has everything to do with this article from the standpoint of what is not being discussed in Armstrong’s situation or any other situation for that matter. Armstrong is in the news for cheating – bottom line. He is accused of one the most sophisticated doping regimens maybe in the history of sports. Why would he cheat?
It has cost him all of his victories including his seven Tour de France victories, for which there will be no official winner listed for the years from 1999-2005. In fact, the final report from the International Cycling Union says, “Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling, and he deserves to be forgotten in cycling.” Pretty harsh words and whether you agree or not, that is the reality of his situation, but again I ask, why would he cheat?
We saw the same thing in baseball with steroids and some broken records that have been called into question because of steroid use by players like Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez just to name a few. Rodriguez is a hot topic right now because he still is owed more than $100 million by the Yankees over the next five years when his ‘superstar’ days are clearly way behind him. Why would these guys cheat?
The answer is simple and obvious…MONEY! Because of the money these guys make, it becomes imperative to do whatever they have to in order to stay at the pinnacle of their success, which allows them to continue to command top dollar for what they do. Bottom line, the money these guys make is obscene and is incredibly out of balance with the real world economy – and for what? To play a game… a game that in the grand scheme of things means little to nothing.
Unfortunately, this has been extending to College sports as well for some time now. The top programs in all of the major sports make an incredible amount of money…more than you would even begin to fathom. If you think that a good portion of today’s college athletes are there for an education, you are sadly mistaken. Some are for sure, but overall for college athletes it’s about being in the right position, at the right time, to make the most money possible. Again, not in every case, but certainly more than we want to believe.
I’m not saying these guys shouldn’t make a good living, but when the money is what it is, you need to make sure that you keep yourself in a position to make that money for as long as you possibly can, by any means available. But none of the talk shows or pregame shows talk about that and if you wonder why, it’s probably because of an old saying “those who live in glass houses, should not throw stones.” Think about it because this pertains to all walks of life…not just sports.