Unfortunately, it’s a whole new sort of March Madness brought about by the recent FBI probe into college basketball involving agents, players and coaches coordinating to pay student athletes.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but many of the big-time college athletes getting some sort of payment in this country may be the worst kept secret in the world.
You won’t get a sense of fake outrage from me on the matter. I’ve known for a while, I’m sure many of you have known for a while.
The big-time college athlete has always found the loopholes around being compensated.
This is not a new phenomenon, it’s not a recent occurrence, but the FBI’s investigation of college basketball has brought this issue to the forefront.
Moving forward should be the theme of the NCAA.
It’s not about penalizing the infractions of the past to the point the sport ceases to exist.
College basketball had it’s sleaze: dirty money and agents and under-the-table dealing were all part of the tale.
The NCAA has a chance now to realize that their false narrative of “amateurism” needs to be cast aside.
Many of the athletes on campus at the biggest basketball and football programs have first and foremost the objective of advancing their athletic career,.
There is nothing wrong with that. The NCAA can try and say otherwise, but I don’t get the sense that they are complaining about the billions of dollars generated from the NCAA Tournament and the College Football Playoff.
College sports is a multibillion-dollar business, and their athletes are in many cases valuable commodities.
Yes, they receive their four-year scholarship and that is a tremendous reward.
However, what compensation are the players receiving for the ticket sales to watch them play? Or how about the jerseys that are sold in the school book store that have their number on it. All of those profits are not going to the player, they are going right into the university and the NCAA’s pocket.
How is that fair to the student athlete?
Why shouldn’t the student athlete be able to profit off of their name? That’s my biggest problem with some of the hypocritical rules of the NCAA.
I’m not asking the NCAA to pay every student athlete on campus. It’s not possible, but we can do better by our student athletes.
I’m not going to pretend that I have all of the answers to fix this complicated problem. That said, here are a few suggestions:
• Allow all athletes the right to hire an agent. You can do it as a baseball player or a hockey player, why not football and basketball?
• Allow student athletes the right to make money off autographs and appearances in their down time. On the big campuses where their demand is high, give them that right.
• Allow student athletes to sign any endorsement deal that comes their way.
• Eliminate the “one and done” policy. Let any 18-year-old athlete test the NBA draft waters, but if they commit to a university they must play for three seasons, the same policy that is in place in college football.
The best part about this FBI Investigation is that this topic that has needed to be addressed for many years is finally getting the attention it deserves.
Let’s hope the NCAA finally gets it right.
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