Sports guarantees aren't what they used to be. Nowadays, barely a month goes by without a player making an empty assurance that his or her team will win a game/series/championship, etc. The problem with such guarantees is that there's no accountability should they go sour. Oklahoma women's basketball star Courtney Paris apparently agrees. The All-American senior recently told Sooner fans that if OU doesn't win the national championship this year, she will pay back her scholarship ... all $64,000 of it.
"We're gonna win a national championship. If we don't, which is not even an option, just to put something on the line - and it might take me the rest of my life - I will pay back my scholarship because I didn't do what I said I was going to do."
(You can see the video on the Oklahoman's web site -- skip ahead to the 8:45 mark.)
That was last Wednesday. Even though she's had some time to rethink things, Paris won't back down off her pledge:
"I have a passion for our fans and university, and I want to do something special. That's why I put my scholarship on the table. I meant what I said."
The guarantee is admirable, if, perhaps, foolhardy. Oklahoma has had a great season and will be a favorite to make the Final Four. If they make it that far though, they'll be big underdogs as Geno Auriemma's undefeated Connecticut squad is said to be one of his best ever. Considering he's won five titles, that's saying something.
In addition, WNBA rookies make around $50,000 per season, with stars bringing in a little over $100,000. (And this presupposes that the WNBA will still be around next year.) If she actually intends to pay back the money, those payments might be hard to come by. (Maybe she'll hit-up her father for the dough. Bubba Paris played eight years in the NFL and won three Super Bowl rings with the San Francisco 49ers.)
Paris said that if they don't win she'll feel like she didn't earn her scholarship. That's where she's wrong. She's the greatest player in Oklahoma history and maybe even Big 12 history too. She was named first-team All-American as a freshman. One year later she won national player of the year honors. On Monday, she won her third straight Big 12 player of the year award. And starting next week, she'll lead the Sooners into the NCAA tournament as a No. 1 seed.
If anything, the $64,000 Oklahoma gave Courtney Paris in tuition was a bargain.