The March Madness tournament this year was not the only story of St. Petersburg University disaster. The other is that the Memphis Tigers men’s basketball team is in trouble for allegedly paying its players for violating NCAA rules. The time has come for the NCAA to do the right thing and allow players to pay, for three main reasons.
The first is righteousness. College players are unpaid workers who earn millions of dollars for others.
The second is that big-time college sports are actually a business. There is nothing amateurish about NCAA’s $ 1.15 billion in revenue, its marketing deals, the salaries of college coaches and athletic directors, or the amount of time that many athletes give to compete at a higher level.
The third reason is practical: the black market exists. Some star college players will always be paid, no matter what the NCAA says. It should be on the table so that the school and the NCAA can keep a close eye on it.
Although the NCAA arrived late, the party has already started. As of last year, some college athletes can now make money from their names, images and the like (NIL), which was previously the property of the NCAA. The new Intermediate NIL policy means that some players can now earn money from approvals, sell T-shirts and other branded goods, and make public appearances.
The NIL rule also applies to teams. Georgia Tech, for example, has a deal to promote TiVo on its sports team’s social media accounts. Some players have received a prepaid debit card for $ 404 matching the Atlanta 404 area code and some merchandise.
The specification of NIL policy varies from state to state and may be federal law. And schools still, for the most part, do not allow student-athletes to pay directly for their work. And the new NIL policy mainly benefits more recognized athletes.
There is room for improvement in this new system and the next few years will expose its flaws. But it is a step in the right direction. It should be refined, not scraped. College sports are big business, amateur or not. College athletes get almost nothing they earn outside of scholarships. In contrast, major professional leagues pay players 50 to 60 percent of the revenue.
This is not a problem for some college athletes who are pursuing NBA or NFL careers, but it is unfair for most athletes, whose sporting careers end in college. Those who become professionals, like athletes, deserve their playing days to boost their future earning power.
Other athletes will also benefit. Most college sports, from baseball to field hockey, lose money. These games are funded by profitable men’s basketball and football programs. If schools and the NCAA see more dollar signs from big-revenue sports, they will chase after them, just like any other business. This means more money for academic programs as well as other sports. It could even mean some compensation for players who deserve to be paid for their labor. This can encourage money-losing sports to find ways to become self-supporting, which will bring stability to many threatening programs.
Paid athletes will eventually accept an open confidentiality: some college athletes will always pay, regardless of the rules. Boosters pay long dues to star athletes under the table. Off-the-book compensation is a regular part of the hiring process, although it is not fully paid. Once recruited on campus, athletic directors sometimes arrange no-show jobs. College athletes are not allowed to have agents, but that happens anyway. Colleges can also acknowledge the inevitability and bring these activities to the surface to help prevent abuse.
It can be thrilling to watch college sports, this year Cinderella is blowing everyone’s braces, watching the new stars shine for the first time or cheering for your alma mater. But off the field, things are much less exciting for the players.
The NCAA is a cartel, and it works like one. The new NIL rules are the beginning of something more fair and more honest But that is not enough. Players should pay for the value they create, just like everyone else.
Reprinted from internal source