It was originally reported by student-journalist Matt Slovin on Michigan Daily.com: apparently the ninth overall pick in this year’s NHL draft has been offered $200,000 to scrap his commitment to the University of Michigan and play for the OHL team that has his rights, the Kitchener Rangers. His sources say Trouba’s now 50/50 on honoring his commitment, and giving major junior a go.
It wouldn’t be the first time a guy up and dropped his college plans to give the CHL a go, and it’s not the first time the suggestion has been made that true stars get paid handsomely to do so.
I don’t know if the Trouba offer is legit or not (though from what I’ve heard in the past, if I had to guess, I’d say “true but not for that much”), but I do know that CHL teams occasionally do offer players money to forego their college years and education. Here, take the dollars while you can, now set to work on becoming a pro right away.
So you’re the kid… what’s the right answer? Do you take a $100k four-year education at a University of your choosing (for the best players), or do you take a lump sum – let’s say it is $200k – while you can, sign your entry level deal (again, the best players), and take the signing bonus right off the top? In Trouba’s case, he could be looking at a half-million dollars before he’s 19 years old.
The arguments are simple – one, you only have so many hockey-playing years in your body — get dat money. You can always use it to go back to school if that’s something you really want. You never know what’s going to happen, when you might have a career-ending injury, so again…get dat money.
Two, you only have one opportunity to be a 19-year old college student (don’t kid yourself that going back to school after is going to be the same experience), your education is paid for (and worth quite a lot of dollars after hockey, especially if you add to it), you get to, y’know, be an educated person, you can still make it to the NHL easily, you have time to develop…there’s pros and cons all over. (For more on my CHL vs. NCAA take, read this.)
It’s not an easy decision, but for me….I say get dat money (assuming it’s $200k and I can grab a signing bonus – otherwise, it’d take some real thinking.)
If there are a lot of people thinking like me, the college product would inevitably suffer, as the best players would leave and it wouldn’t develop players as well. Those things bring us back to the classic ”amateur college athlete” question: shouldn’t the NCAA pay its players? Why romanticize the concept of “amateur” when it means “earn someone else money with your effort?”
After all, the NCAA rakes in heaping piles of money like leaves every year, and its on the backs of the blood and sweat of the student-athletes who aren’t compensated beyond their education. Obviously there’s huge value in going to school for free, but when a guy like Trouba can make money for a CHL employer with his play and have a huge chunk of it returned to him, or do the same for the NCAA who keeps it all…something seems off.
My contention is this: the NCAA should pay its players, but pay the ones who deserve to be paid. As in, not me. If we’re going to be capitalist, don’t dole money out evenly.
You cannot compare what a superstar in college football – say Tim Tebow, Colt McCoy or whoever – brings the NCAA financially, to what I brought to it. I played in front of anywhere between 3,000-to-4,000 people a night, 18 times a year at home in Alaska (three-to-four times more on the road, but still). I don’t feel like I deserved any additional compensation than my education, a stipend, some meals, and an opportunity.
Someone like Jacob Trouba, however, is where the NCAA is off-base. He’s the kind of player that keeps college hockey relevant, and makes other players want to go to college because they get to play the best. He’ll bring fans in and sell tickets. And when he goes on to be a stud in the NHL, college hockey gets even more credibility.
It sucks that money rules the way it does, because I’m pro-education, and pro-college hockey. But first and foremost, I’m anti-naiveté when it comes to this stuff. If major junior is suddenly a way to make bank, the NCAA is going to lose some of its best talent every year.
If the NCAA doesn’t want to pay it’s best players, the quality of college hockey could diminish. They can rake in the bucks now, but if going to college becomes a non-viable route to the show, the money-leaves on the ground will start to dry up. (And none of this is to mention the moral angle of paying the people who are making you money.)
Paying college players won’t happen for a long, long time, but that doesn’t mean that the point isn’t correct today.
If Jacob Trouba leaves for the money, who could fault him? College hockey is a wonderful thing, but when it comes down to it, cash is king.