All That and a Bag of Mail

You guys are killing it with stories about either being paid yourself when you were a college athlete or witnessing other college athletes being paid.

Keep these stories coming, anonymity assured. We’re not trying to get you or your school in trouble. I’d just rather the truth be out there. In fact, if you are a former college athlete who wants to write about getting paid or tell insane recruiting stories, I’m willing to let you write anonymously about your time in college for Outkick. I’ll know who you are and where you went to school, but I will never tell anyone else who you are. And we won’t get your school in trouble either. All we’ll do is identify your conference.

I love these stories and feel like fans do too.

So here is today’s batch.

 

Reminder, Outkick will be at Nashville’s Steeplechase on Saturday. So if you’re an Outkick reader or viewer, keep your eyes open for a gay Muslim in a vintage Titans Hawaiian shirt. And if you still need tickets, go here and put in the code “OKTC” to get $10 off.

Here we go with paying player stories.

“I played basketball at a D3 school in the northeast in the early 2000s. One of the guys on our team played in high school with a pretty big time player (younger than us) who went on to become a one-and-done college player who has now been in the NBA about 10 years.

Since he was still in high school while we were freshmen in college, this guy came to visit my teammate, directly following a recruiting trip to a big northeastern basketball school.

We picked him up at the airport and he got off the plane with a backpack with that school’s logo on it, that had about $80,000 in cash inside. We didn’t get any more of the details of his trip (at least I didn’t), but he did go on to play at that school, and we also knew that their high school coach got a “speaking arrangement,” that paid a high five figures, at that school’s camp for as long as the player played at that school.

I can only imagine what he got at his other recruiting trips, or while he was actually in school.

It completely validated “He Got Game.”

I would be stunned if every major college basketball recruit in the country isn’t getting at least $100k to sign with a school. If you leave Kentucky and end up in the D League there is zero doubt that you’re taking a huge pay cut. 

“I wasn’t an athlete in college. However I was in a fraternity at a Big 12 school and we threw lots of parties with lots of white women. So naturally the football or basketball team from time to time would swing by, and we got to know them. It wasn’t an every party or every night thing, but enough we all knew each other.

So the second or third time they come by I notice these guys drink well. Like really well. Patron, Ciroc, Walker blue. Stuff that normal college kids can’t afford. I ask a player I knew pretty well – who later became a first round NFL draft pick — alright where did you get it and how? The player I ask laughs and says let’s go get some. We go to the liquor store, he says just grab whatever you want. I grabbed a Lagavulin 16 (was immediately told I was the whitest person he knew, totally fair) and he grabbed a few things. We go to ring up, he gets his ID checked and says put it on the tab and we walk out. I ask does everyone do that? He said yep, whole team. I said who closes it? He said he had no idea, but it’s been going on for years.

The owner later told me that the yearly tab was $20-30k in liquor or alcohol a year, but wouldn’t tell me who paid.”

Is it shameful that I had to look up with Lagavulin 16 was?

I need to be richer to be drinking that. 

“I’m one of the 15% and a big fan. True story: About 10 years ago I met (redacted) in a bar in Birmingham. A friend of mine recognized him and we started talking to him. It didn’t take much to get him to hold court for the next hour telling football stories, entertaining about 10 people. He told us about being recruited by Alabama and his mother drinking whisky with Bear Bryant at the kitchen table during a recruiting visit. His mother was a huge fan of Bear and Alabama and he had grown up an Alabama fan. I asked him how, with his whole family being Bama fans, he could have ended up at (another SEC West school). He said, “They were the ones that parked a new Corvette in my driveway.”

 

It wasn’t Auburn.

But we really need a former top player who was recruited hard by both Alabama and Auburn to tell us what actually happens in one of those recruiting battles. 

Can you imagine?

“In the early 2000’s I played for a Division I golf program in the South. Our team was ok, however the top player at the time was foreign and just happened to be a top ranked player in the country that year. The amount of free gear (clubs, balls, shoes, clothes) he got from big time golf companies trying to sign him was ridiculous and well over the limit allowed by the NCAA.. Our shitty off campus apartment was set up better than the golf section at DICK’s Sporting Goods. In turn we would take all the free swag to trade and barter with the bartenders at our favorite spots. I don’t think our golf team ever paid for a drink the whole season.

Our top player didn’t get much money from boosters, but once a month he would get a check for 1500.00 from his home country. He said it was from their golf union? WTF! They also purchased a car for him to use while he was in school. It was crazy. I haven’t even gotten into what all the big sports agencies were doing trying to get him to sign with them. Private Jets to meetings, fancy dinners at Ruth Chris/ Del Frisco’s, and back to make his 8:15 class. IMG and CAA knew what they were doing also. He went on to play in a few Ryder Cups,and has won multiple PGA tour events.”

I love the idea of you guys trading golf shoes and golf clubs for free beer and liquor. 

Too perfect. 

That’s resourceful for sure. 

 

 

As a type of motivation to play better I had an assistant coach in college tell us this story.  He played basketball at a big SEC school in the 80’s and went on to the NBA.

“My freshman year I came down and I grew up poor so when I got to school I was the only guy on the team that didn’t have a car.  After my freshman year I knew how good I was compared to the other guys and told my coach that it was bullshit how everyone on the team had a ride except for me.  The next morning there was a new Camaro parked in front of my apartment with the keys left in it.”  

He obviously stayed at the school after that.

Good for him. 

 

 

“I played golf, yes golf, at an SEC school.  I was recruited by Kentucky, Memphis, Mississippi State, and a few other small schools.  

Plenty of good stories about recruiting trips. Went to all the good bars, strip club on 4 of the 5 official visits. Went to a sorority house on one visit and closed with an 8/10 within 20 minutes. Pretty sure that one was set up before I arrived.  

Coaches weren’t there when these things happened, but pretty certain they knew what was going on.

After I was at school, boosters would pay me when I won gift certificates for non-college tournaments.  Example, I’d win a $100 gift card to a grocery store and someone would buy it off me for $300.  Obviously not big money but helps a college student.”

The fact that golfers are getting paid is mind blowing to me.  

And we definitely need more shady recruiting stories. I want to know all the details of the official visits. Email me at clay.travis@gmail.com, full anonymity assured. 

 

“One of my best friends was a cheerleader at SMU during the Pony Express days.  One of his duties was to go to the athletic department, pick up envelopes of cash and take them to players.  He personally knew Eric Dickerson, Craig James, etc.

 

Now this is no surprise as they got the death penalty.  But the point is, it was real.”

I love that SMU had male cheerleaders delivering payments to players.  

Okay, these are just the tip of the payment iceberg. We need more of these and we may even need to start a weekly series on guys confessing to how much they got paid and what their recruiting trips were like. 

Let’s end the charade and actually put the truth out there so people stop pretending that only a few big schools are paying players. It happens everywhere. 

Have great weekends and I’ll see some of you guys and gals at Steeplechase. 

 

Written by Clay Travis

OutKick founder, host and author. He's presently banned from appearing on both CNN and ESPN because he’s too honest for both.