Friday, October 3, 2008

On The Tunney Side of the Street #197, Oct. 6, 2008 (

After Further Review ...What incentive is there for an NFL T.E.A.M. to WIN when rookie players are paid with signing bonuses in the multi-millions even before they put on the pads! Contracts of similar (or more) value follow. Some players who are drafted, yet didn’t succeed, walk away with more money than many people earn in a lifetime!

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell ( is concerned about the hefty, and still escalating, bonuses paid to 22-23 year-olds just out of college – some not even graduating. Now, I don’t want to get off on a rant, here, that’s not my purpose. However, having been on the NFL field with players in the 60s-70s-80s-90s, I witnessed first-hand what meager salaries those players – now the ‘legends’ of the game – were paid. Are today’s pro athletes thinking of money first and the love of playing second? Your call.

Let’s segue to our kids in school today. As a life-long educator, I ask - should we pay kids in elementary and/or secondary school an incentive – call it motivation – to get good or better grades? When we were kids we all had ‘chores’ for no pay, just because Mom/Dad said it was “part of being a family.” Do kids today practice that same philosophy or do they want (demand?) pay for household chores?

Incentives for ‘getting good grades’ is an ever-growing issue. In a recent USA Today survey (, more than half of the 74 CEOs interviewed said it was a “good idea.” And 50% of those said they do pay their own kids for good grades. While this idea is not new, it’s gaining more support. As a parent, what is your response when your youngster says “Well, Billy’s mom pays him $5.00 when he gets an ‘A’”?

Sports, as well as the business world, provides us with a lesson. Many coaches at the professional and college levels receive bonuses for winning performances, or getting their team in the playoffs, or winning the conference championship, etc. One coach in the college ranks this year will receive (in addition to his million dollar+ salary) $125,000, if his player-graduation rate equals that of the overall student population! I thought helping a student-athlete graduate was part of – not in addition to – the coach’s job! Foolish me!

Then, too, our business world is rampant with bonus and/or incentive programs for doing what you were hired and paid to do. How then can we fault our kids about what their adult role models are doing, when they want the same?

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