Tossing aside the handbook

Gary Pinkel is like most football coaches.

The more they talk, the less they say.

If Pinkel didn't write the Coach-Speak Handbook, he's memorized it. It really doesn't matter if his Missouri Tigers are playing Alabama, the New England Patriots, or an eighth grade girls JV team.

"We are preparing for this game," Pinkel said Monday. "It is obviously a big game for us. We're playing a Big 10 team (Indiana) and they will be a challenge for us.

"We are excited about it, and we will work really hard and hopefully play our best."

To paraphrase: "Blah, blah, blah."

After a bye week, the Tigers (2-0) are three-point favorites to beat the Hoosiers (2-1) as they travel to Bloomington, Ind., for Saturday's 7 p.m. game.

This is the fourth of five straight home games to start the season for Indiana. The Hoosiers opened with a silly 73-35 win over Indiana State, they lost to Navy 41-35, before beating Bowling Green 42-10 last Saturday.

Sophomore running back Tevin Coleman has rushed for 332 yards and five touchdowns, while quarterback Nate Sudfeld --- a true freshman from Modesto, Cal. --- has thrown 917 yards and 10 scores, while throwing just two interceptions.

Indiana leads the series 6-2-2, but the teams haven't played since 1992.

Enough about that, because Pinkel recently stepped outside the box, tossed aside the handbook and spoke words worth listening to.

It's time to pay these players.

"I've changed my view on this over the past few years," Pinkel said last week on

, "just because of the amount of money now that's in college football. You know, the billions and billions that are out there."

Billions. Remember that.

"I think that football and basketball at our level, the BCS level, most of them pay for the entire athletic budgets," Pinkel continued. "Our players are getting room and board, books, tuition, which is fine. They are certainly getting their education, which is important.

"But I think also we can give them additional money per semester or per quarter to help them and pay them back for all their sacrifices."

True, they work hard. Or at least most of them do. They make sacrifices, i.e., giving up their bodies for the good of the cause. And they do bring in money. A lot of it.

Guys on the MU golf team can't really make those arguments.

Football and men's basketball are the money-makers for college programs. They support all other men's sports and all of the women's sports. There are a handful of women's basketball programs that may break even, but those are the exception.

In a recent study, the No. 1 money-maker for the 2011-12 school year was Texas. Overall revenue from all sports was $163 million, $105 million of that coming from football.

Missouri's football revenue lags far behind that total, but is still in the top 30 in the nation at around $35 million.

So, do you only pay the athletes in those money-generating sports? That would seem fair and logical. But you can't introduce logic into it, the Title IX folks wouldn't have it. The athletes and coaches in other sports wouldn't have it.

"Back in the day," Pinkel said, "players would get summer jobs, they wouldn't work out year-round. Our guys work out year-round and they're going to school to get their degree. But I certainly think we should give them more money."

If you do pay the players, how much? Would the pay be equal for Johnny Manziel and the second-string punter for Texas A&M? Guys like Johnny Football bring in the cash, not second-string punters.

"The SEC is trying to get this passed and I think it's the right thing to do and the fair thing to do," Pinkel said. "It's not going to be a ridiculous amount of money, but it'll certainly put a little extra money in their pockets so it can make their college lives a little bit easier.

"You're giving them money they should have. They should have had it from a few years back. Look at the millions and millions of dollars that college football is making now."

See above. In just a few paragraphs, football's revenue stream went from billions to millions.

"We can do this, as long as it's done with clarity and an understanding that we're trying to help the kids," Pinkel said.

Good points, good arguments. But it will never happen, even though it probably should.

Either way, good for Gary.

It was nice of him to toss aside the handbook, if only for a few minutes.