Williams: Colleges Should “Take Care Of Their Kids” This Season

Former NFL player Ian Williams has some ideas on how to keep student-athletes safe this fall 

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
July 14, 2020 - 10:23 am
Dabo Swinney Clemson

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The NFL makes a lot of money. College football makes a lot of money. We know this.

But when it comes to competing and having a season in the world of COVID-19, the NFL has at least one advantage over the college game: player “salaries.”

“Both games, respectively, make a lot of money,” former NFL player and current NBC Sports Bay Area analyst Ian Williams said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “[In] the college game, these kids aren’t going to be able to protect themselves like a professional player would with money [in terms of] being able to afford certain things and certain luxuries.”

Like, for example, having their housing professionally cleaned. Or consuming immune-boosting drinks. Or having high-quality food delivered to them on a regular basis.

“College kids can’t really afford that,” said Williams, a former Notre Dame standout. “But these college programs can afford that.”

Indeed, college football is a major moneymaker, not only for athletics departments, but also for colleges and universities overall. If schools want their athletes to perform and generate revenue this season, well, it will likely require a significant financial investment.

“Maybe this is the year that colleges can really push to take care of their kids,” said Williams, who played for the San Francisco 49ers from 2011-16. “Money-wise, it looks like they [could] put them in a . . . sports dorm . . . and keep the extra variables out, which is the student body, and allow these kids to be able to go out there and still be able to play. 

“At the end of the day, sports is a big moneymaker, so you definitely want to have these . . . teams still out here playing because people are still going to be on their phones, at home, still watching on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok – whatever it be. It’s all going to be consumed at home. These colleges can still get these kids out there, protect them and provide for them as a professional player would be able to provide for himself.”