[This is an excerpt from the Yahoo Sports’ Read and React Newsletter. Subscribe here]
I sincerely hope all of you enjoyed your long Labor Day weekend as much as those who wear crimson and cream while considering Barry Switzer one of the greatest men to ever live.
Because, man, what a start for Oklahoma football. Bama ex-pat QB Jalen Hurts put on an unbelievable show for the Sooners in a 49-31 win over Houston. Hurts ran for three touchdowns, passed for three more and racked up 508 total yards of offense. Our own Pete Thamel was down in Norman to document it all.
The sky is the limit for Oklahoma this season
Hurts was the talk of social media for much of the weekend and for good reason. After going 26-2 as a starter at Alabama before being supplanted by Tua Tagovailoa, Hurts is putting Oklahoma in prime position to make its third straight college football playoff — and maybe win its third straight Heisman after Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray just went back to back.
I gotta tell you somthing though. While I was watching Hurts put the hurt on the Cougars, there was only one thing I could think of and it had nothing to do with Heismans or national championships.
It was this: Why isn't this dude getting paid?
Let the free market reign
I've long thought that college athletes in the revenue sports deserve a slice of the pie, but maybe this Hurts transfer can crystalize the issue for those who believe collegiate athletes are the only Americans who don't get to participate in capitalism.
With the addition of Hurts, Oklahoma football has seamlessly transitioned from one star quarterback to another without any necessary development or growing pains. A plug-and-play signal caller is every coach's wildest dream.
And now Lincoln Riley and Oklahoma have that for the low, low price of some graduate classes for Hurts this fall before he starts his draft prep in the spring. (He already earned a degree in Alabama). You can't tell me he's not worth a lot more to the Sooners or that they wouldn't have put up money if the market was open and, say, Notre Dame and USC was making its offers.
Now, there will be some who respond to this by arguing that Hurts is getting his NFL stock boosted by playing for an offensive genius like Riley and that does hold water. I'm open to that argument.
But again, just let the free market speak. In a universe where college athletes get paid, maybe the star quarterback transfer takes less to play for a great coach, just like a recent graduate might take less to work for a firm with a greater chance at advancement.
It should still be the choice for the athlete to make.
(One final thing: Back in the summer, Nick Saban said that transfers getting one year of ineligibility waived was bad for college football and bad for fans. Hurts sure proved both of those things wrong on Saturday, didn't he?)
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