Originally written on Crystal Ball Run  |  Last updated 4/10/13

(Photo Courtesy: USA Today Sports) It’s college football’s off-season, which can only mean one thing: Petty arguments about off-the-field stuff that ultimately has no impact on what happens on Saturdays! Good times! Well, unless you’re like most casual fans, who only care about what happens between the white lines, and little about what goes on outside of them.   It seems like regardless of the off-season, we always end up focusing our arguments on the same two or three debates and discussions. They usually center around conference realignment, a playoff or of course whether or not we should pay players. The latter is an especially strong sticking point in 2013, with the Ed O’Bannon lawsuit coming down the pipe, and a very real possibility that the wrong result could force the NCAA’s hand in compensating their athletes. Unfortunately, even as the O’Bannon lawsuit reaches its final stages, the idea of paying players means little to many prominent college football coaches, including apparently Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops. Stoops took a hard-line stance on the subject on Wednesday, telling AOL.com: “I tell my guys all the time,” Stoops says, “you’re not the first one to spend a hungry Sunday without any money.” “You know what school would cost here for non-state guy? Over $200,000 for room, board and everything else,” Stoops said. “That’s a lot of money. Ask the kids who have to pay it back over 10-15 years with student loans. You get room and board, and we’ll give you the best nutritionist, the best strength coach to develop you, the best tutors to help you academically, and coaches to teach you and help you develop. How much do you think it would cost to hire a personal trainer and tutor for 4-5 years?” Look, whether you agree or disagree, Stoops does bring up some very salient points. While it’s hard to argue that any college-aged kid would need, say, a personal trainer, the idea that they’re getting nothing out of the deal of being a college football player is also factually incorrect as well. AOL.com confirmed that Stoops’ number of $200,000 for out of state students isn’t far off; according to the website, it costs $29,924.50 per year for out of state tuition, room and board and books, putting the cost of a four-year education at the school at just under $150,000. That also doesn’t factor in food, transportation or a number of other essential variables in the conversation of total dollars spent. At the same time (and without trying to start a holy war here) we also know the other side of the argument here, which is essentially that these kids do bring in a crap-ton of money for the university as well. Stoops later argued against that point in the AOL.com column, by saying that the fans in the stands are there more to see “Oklahoma football” than any other player, which again, is fair. At the same time, they are still there to see the guys on the field, much more so than the man calling the plays. Let’s also remember that those fans in the stands make up a tiny percentage of the money which comes into a college football program over the course of a fiscal year. That doesn’t factor in the tens of millions of dollars brought in by TV revenue, sponsorship deals, jersey sales and the like. Ultimately, this is a debate that is going to go on every off-season from now, until the end of time... or at least until players get paid. And even then, the debate on whether it’s right or wrong and how much the players should be compensated, will still rage on. Welcome to the off-season. And welcome to the mindless chatter that is set to fill our time until the action kicks off on the last weekend of August. How many days until the season starts again? For all his insight, analysis and opinion, please follow Aaron on Twitter @Aaron_Torres. Follow Crystal Ball Run on Twitter @CrystalBallRun.

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