The NCAA needs reform, no question about it. However, so many of the ideas I
hear sound as though they would create more problems than they would solve.#1 - Some argue the two most popular and profitable college sports,
football and men's basketball, should have their own athletic department
and that players within those departments should get paid based on their fair
market value. Not only would such an idea cause a massive rift among student
athletes, it would also fail to take into account that at some colleges, hockey,
wrestling, women's gymnastics and women's basketball are just as
popular as football and men's basketball. #2 - Tile IX.
People might hate Title IX, but thus far, every court in the U.S. has upheld the
law as it is written, therefore whatever additional compensation male athletes
receive must also be given to the female athletes. If those pushing to pay
players in the popular sports think they can get around this, trust me, they
can't.#3 - Suppose college athletes did get paid. How much
should they get? Whose going to manage their money. Watch the ESPN documentary
"Broke" if you think college athletes can handle the money okay.
One decision which would ease some of the pain felt by scholar-athletes...Let them move from one school to the next... without penalty...Just like coaches.
Nothing just or fair will be accomplished as long as the haves vs the have-nots
are the basis for decisions, and they pretty much defines not only the net worth
of athletes economically, but also academically, too. The good-old-boys are
going to get their pound of flesh one way or the other, as observed from the
angst against the mid-majors from 1984 when BYU was the only one in the country
undefeated and the way they treated Utah when they and Auburn were undefeated,
yet so was another team. The new 4-team play-off is "just about right"
according to them, but wait and see what happens to the #5 team every year. The
funny part is that they make themselves look bad but they don't care, they
have all the marbles or trump cards. I'd say they're way past time to
reform in some meaningful way, not just changing colors of lipstick on the pig.
A truly outstanding column. I agree on so many levels. The NCAA is like the
IOC, UCI, FIFA and most of the other governing bodies that exploit athletes for
the benefit of others, including the leadership. Colleges are no better as a
whole. I despise the whole system. Unionization is the only tool available to
the athletes. It has worked in many sports, all pro, and where there is no
union, like cycling, the athletes are treated poorly overall. If a union at
Northwestern serves as a wakeup call, the good for them. Thanks for the awesome
I love college football and basketball. But lets be honest the NCAA has taken
advantage of these kids while making a fortune by masking themselves by hiring
university presidents to hide behind (miles brand former oregon and indiana
president,,, the only guy that could get bobby knight fired.) Yes they get a
degree, or some of them do get a useful one, but most are really not
"student-athletes." They are looking for a way to get to the
professional level and it has to go through this channel. When the term
"student-athlete" is used, I laugh, especially when everyone on the team
but just a few are lets say "liberal arts" majors. Ive had family
members play D1 basketball and the stories they tell, but in the same token they
were smart and did get a degree in something worthwhile.
Solution (at least part of one): Allow athletes to accept sponsorships, gifts,
and accept money for signing their own name.
Unless a governing body still exists to make things equal and equitable, the
disparity between the haves and have-nots will actually grow and widen. The big
school programs, who have bigger fan bases, will be able to pay their athletes
more... much more, thus insuring they always get the elite players, while the
mid-majors and smaller fan-based schools get to choose from the leftovers. The differences will then continue to widen while upper echelon schools
will all but promise their chosen, elite athletes will become relatively rich
while lower tiered programs, who don't generate as much revenue, won't
be able to make or even insinuate such promises. The disparity among programs
around the country will only widen if college sport programs are allowed a free
hand in operating as a free market enterprise in a capitalistic environment. Upper tier programs will flourish while lower tiered program will try to
operate with the leftovers. Thus, the quality gap continues widening and the
ensuing problems continue growing. Therefore, some way of ensuring equitable
payout to athletes across the board must be maintained in order for the talked
about changes to work in the longterm.
There is only one correct way to do this. Get professional sports out of the
NCAA, and if a school such as the Univ. of Utah wants to support or purchase a
minor league team (I don't think that they could afford the NBA or NFL)
then let them do so. It would be much like whoever owns the Salt Lake Bees
baseball club. Then the University could pay their player for PLAYING and
nothing else. No free schooling, they would be professional players earning a
salary. All schools should be able to do the same. Then, the NCAA would operate
as it did in 1940. Schools with non-professional players could walk on and play
(you might even allow scholarships). But there would be no, absolutely no
recruiting. The non-professional players could choose the school that they
wanted to attend and then simply try out for playing. Much like high schools.
The answer is very simple. If a school wants to support a professional team let
them do so.
Doug, you have hit the nail on the head. Money and money-grubbing runs sports
from little league, nowadays, to the "professional" level.That's why I have chosen not to spend a single cent of my income on
organized sports any any levelWhen Miguel Cabrera "earns"
$46,000+ every time he comes up to bat, regardless of what happens at the plate,
just for playing a game, something is drastically wrong.The gullible
fan with more dollars than sense will continue to support this ridiculous
endeavor forever, I'm afraid.Personally, I choose not to and
hopefully there will be millions more of us in the near future.
I'm anxious to see where this goes. This is not going away. Some school
may elect to get rid of sports altogether, especially ones where there barely
breaking even. In university system it's about education/preparation for
the job world. This requires that young men and women learn interact and
negotiate with their peers for a common objective. I'm interested to see
how coach-layer relationships improve as well as this compensation for Athletes.
If we need other proof of the big business aspect of NCAA sports, just look at
the salaries of the head coaches for football and basketball at virtually all
division 1 schools. I suspect that they are, by far, the most highly compensated
employees; and this includes our large private institution here in Utah county.