Thompson: Still Waiting For Some Genius To Tell Me How

A lot of people believe college athletes should be paid, but the devil is in the details

The DA Show
April 05, 2019 - 1:40 pm

Many people believe that college athletes should be paid. The devil, however, is in the details.

“Discussion is totally different than a person giving you the formula for how it can be done,” coaching legend John Thompson said on The DA Show. “It’s discussed all over the place. It was discussed when I was (a coach). But very few people have been capable of telling you how to implement it. You’ll hear people come on television – and probably myself – and say that you advocate for education. You’ll hear me another day saying the kids deserve to be paid, but how do you implement paying a kid? Sure, we understand that I got money, the school’s got money, the company’s got money, we got money for broadcasting, and the kids play. But are you going to give the last man on the team more money than the guy that’s scoring all the points? So I want to hear some genius come and tell me how to implement it.”

If college athletes get paid, though, know this: it wouldn’t just be football and basketball players, and it wouldn’t just be men.

“Ladies are entitled to be paid also if that happens,” Thompson said, citing Title IX. “I hear these great thinkers jump up and tell us what we should do, but they don’t tell us how to do it, and it’s a difficult thing at this point.”

While paying college athletes has been a popular discussion in recent years, it reached a fever pitch with Zion Williamson, especially after he sustained a knee injury in February.

“Well, first of all, with Zion, I am an advocate of kids staying in school and getting and education – but I would recommend that he left,” Thompson said. “That’s a hard decision. I coached Alonzo Mourning, I coached Patrick Ewing, I coached Allen Iverson. If those guys were in the same climate, they probably wouldn’t even have gone to college. I would have had to make some adjustments. Mike (Krzyzewski) gets a lot of one-and-dones now, but who can tell a kid that is capable of earning the kind of money that they earn that you shouldn’t go get it? I’ve never heard people say that money was a detriment to education. To me, they have more of an opportunity to get an education if they want it. But it’s not an easy decision. It’s not an easy decision.”