SB Nation as great piece about how college football players get paid in the South– in cash. An excerpt:

There might not be a FDIC-insured savings account at a local bank branch, but there is always a pool from which money can be accessed quickly. A majority of fundraising occurs in the offseason, when coaches visit alumni and booster clubs throughout their schools’ regions.

“The coach or coaches come in, say their piece, bullshit with the folks and take pictures and then they’re in the car and headed back home. When they leave, we start talking. What we figure out then is what we need to put together in that area [of the state] for anyone we’re trying to land from that area. That’s when the hat gets passed.”

The actual money is never collected in a single area, but a collective of shadow boosters keeps an unwritten counter on how much each of them can contribute in cash at any given moment for three major purposes:

1) Large single sums to be paid out in order to convince a recruit to sign with the school.

2) Maintenance payments to current players, delivered in an ongoing basis.

3) Cash owed by an out-of-area shadow booster to a bag man living in the college town. Sometimes a player whose sponsor lives back at home needs money immediately, so a local bag man not assigned to that player will pay the player, with a marker going to his booster back home.

The small business fuels America. Cash that doesn’t have to be accounted for exists in any variety of ways. Sell a pair of lower bowl tickets to a guy you know from church? Cash. Sell a bass boat on Craigslist? Cash. Run or own a restaurant? Cash. Work in agriculture? Lots of cash.

“We all do different things. Finding liquid capital is not a problem for any of us. If it was, we wouldn’t be doing this.”

Interestingly, a bag man says that it’s not the super rich who give money to the athletes – they’ve already been contacted by the school for above-board donations – rather it’s the people with $10k-$15k to burn who bankroll players. Which begs the question: How much of a loser do you have to be to use your disposable income to self-fund your favorite college football team? Sell the boat… and then buy a bigger boat, idiot.

You can read the full thing here.

via Daring Fireball