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Billy Reed: Money (thus gambling) now infects college sports, so how much do players make?


As I was watching the University of Louisville football team hammer Syracuse, I was amazed at how much the Cardinals have improved since the beginning of the season. Quarterback Malik Cunningham now does an excellent impersonation of Cards’ Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson, whose uniform No. 8 was retired in a halftime ceremony.

I can’t say the same for the Kentucky Wildcats. After winning its first six games and rising as high as No. 12 in the polls, Coach Mark Stoops’ team has been pounded by Georgia on the road, upset by Tennessee at home and dominated by Mississippi State on the road. The Wildcats will take an 8-3 into the U of L game on Nov. 26, and the Cards figure to be 6-5.

I now think the Cards are going to win, maybe by a couple of touchdowns. The game will be in The ‘Ville. I just don’t think Stoops is a good enough motivator to have his team ready to win.

Thanks to Cunningham, the Cards have an offense that’s difficult to defend. He can run, he can pass, he can improvise. Syracuse didn’t have a clue about how to contain him.

Billy Reed is a member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Hall of Fame, the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame, the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame and the Transylvania University Hall of Fame. He has been named Kentucky Sports Writer of the Year eight times and has won the Eclipse Award three times. Reed has written about a multitude of sports events for over four decades and is perhaps one of the most knowledgeable writers on the Kentucky Derby. His book “Last of a BReed” is available on Amazon.

The other thought I had was to wonder how much the players were getting paid.

As we all know, the U.S. Supreme Court effectively ended amateur sorts as we always have known them by ruling that college athletes may get paid for their name, likeness and image. But nowhere can you find a list of who’s making what.

I can understand why college athletic departments want to keep this secret. They don’t want the public to know who is making what because it will put more pressure on coaches and expose boosters, who would prefer their payments be kept secret.

But this is information the public has a right to know because it will help it evaluate performance relative to payroll.

So I’d like to know how much Malik Cunningham is making. Is it commensurate with his value to the team? And what would happen if he wert say he would quit if he didn’t get the money he wanted?

It’s axiomatic that anytime a large influx of money is injected into sports, the gamblers are right behind. So the next thing we know, the gamblers will get their clutches into players disgruntled by how much, or little they are making.

So for the sake of the integrity of the game, or what’s left of it, we need to know how much each and every player is making. Otherwise, players upset with their paychecks will be tempted to take money from the games to “fix” the outcome of games, which means determining whether their team goes above or below the points read.

Since the D-I teams now are professionals, they will need a new organization to monitor all activity and punish cheaters. This formerly was the role of the feckless NCAA, which has been rendered irrelevant by the new rules.

I wish the Supreme Court had not sent us down this road, but it has. Heaven only knows how it will all shake out.

If you watched the Duke-Kentucky basketball game, you had to be impressed with Coach Mike Krzyewski’s freshman superstars, Paolo Bandero and Trevor Keels. I wonder how much they were being paid before the game and how much they were making when it was over.

Anybody old-fashioned enough to believe winning isn’t important unless it’s done honestly — I’m one of these fossils — needs to know what the players are making so we can monitor teams and coaches. We are the Integrity Police, if you will.

If the colleges won’t give us this information, I can find better ways to spend my time.

Anybody know how much Malik Cunningham is making?


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One Comment

  1. Sherry Ederheimer says:

    I so appreciate your thoughts, Billy. Your words are wise and should evoke a response but won’t. Thank you for your work.

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