There was a report released this week basically saying that top-tier college football and men’s basketball players have a market value of $100,000 each. Now we are talking, I know this issue may bore some but it’s important to me, and I created this blog to express my opinions. I love collegiate athletics because its pure, its kids who are highly skilled who play hard for four years and then for the most part go on to regular jobs just like you and me. It represents tradition, competition and rivalries that span generations.
The NCAA is an inherently flawed organization. They have to figure out a way to reconcile the millions of dollars that are generated with the fact that student athletes at 85% of universities are living below the poverty line. The key is to allow athletes extra benefits without sacrificing the purity of the game. Now there is no way to determine who gets paid and how much they can receive. That’s why I love the idea of pooling the funds the school receives. This allows the schools to allow extra payments to athletes to purchase clothes or take trips home that they might not have been able to afford previously.
The school could require scholarship students to submit applications similar to FASFA which helps determine what any student is eligible in student aid. This would help determine who is eligible for what. You have scholarship athletes who are inner city kids who have nothing to begin with, the rules around earning income hurts them more than it hurts the athletes who come from families who are better off and can afford to provide financial assistance to their kids. Now I’m not saying that those particular kids wouldn’t also receive extra benefits just not as much.
Another solution is to allow student athletes to earn money thru endorsements. I can never understand why this is not allowed. Companies reserve the right to pick their spokespeople, why would being a student athlete prohibit this. If Freddie Adou or an 18 year old Tiger Woods can endorse products why can’t students. This allows athletes to generate their own income independently and you could then exclude them from the money pool that was previously proposed because they would exceed the financial guidelines put in place for the pool.
The bottom line is that the NCAA needs to recognize the value that their student athletes provide and actually fix the situation. Kids get scholarships and can’t work due to the fact they have to work out, practice and complete all of their required course work. The school provides room and board, 3 meals per day and some school apparel for clothing. The school’s then turn around and sign gazillion dollar TV deals. The scandals occurring at Ohio State, Oregon, North Carolina, USC and Miami in the last couple years may have all been prevented if there was a system in place that was more to the athletes benefit.
Maybe I’m Naïve, Maybe this isn’t something that I should be concerned with. Maybe the NCAA is right and they are doing the right thing. The thing is, College sports is big money now. It’s always been important to a ton of people but times have changed and so have the economics of the collegiate sports, so the rules that have been in place for the last 100 years should change as well.