NCAA Needs Major Changes
The NCAA has never shown an ability to get it right, so why would this time be any different? In my opionion, it won’t be. As the organization meets yet again, there is talk of a major over-haul of the way they do business; Actually doing something for the student-athletes who make the whole thing work. After years of abusing the privilage of overseeing college athletics, the powers-that-be say they need to alter the business plan. The commissioners from the five power conferences met this week to discuss possible changes. These are the guys who run the top conferences and therefore the top programs, the coaches, players and ultimately the NCAA.
My pessimism comes from the fact that these “good old boys” have said similar things often in the past. But after they leave the meetings and the cameras and microphones, they don’t change a thing. Look how long it’s taken for them to develop a college football playoff, and even when they did…they opened it wide up to 4 teams—FOUR. More people win the lottery than get to compete for a national title under this “playoff.”
These are the same geniuses who allow coaches to move from school to school, take the better gig, even if they’re under contract, even if they just put their former school on probation. And at the same time, refuse to give the athletes anything above a scholarship. If you break down what the players receive…the scholarship, it hasn’t really changed in 60 years. A free education is apparently worth the world and that’s all an athlete should expect. Coaches, athletic directors, conference commissioners…well sure, they can get whatever the market will bear. Talk of Texas paying Nick Saban $100 million over the next 10 years to move to Austin; no problem, the American way. Mention a football player getting $500 from an alumnus and the NCAA wants to suspend the kid. By the way, do fans pay serious money to watch the players or the coaches and AD’s? The people who put on the show get the worst end of the deal because the NCAA treats the athletes like kids at Thanksgiving dinner–go sit at the “kiddie” table in the other room and let the adults talk.
How many Kevin Sumlin jerseys were sold at A&M? How many Manziel jerseys? Sumlin signed a new contract yesterday that pays him $5 million annually and Johnny Football gets suspended for “allegedly” selling his autograph. If a college student is an awesome artist, he’s perfectly able to sell his painting while on scholarship. He can do both–how novel. Athletes..not so fast. You’ve got a scholarship and that’s enough.
The injustice is appalling. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t advocate for the student/athlete getting a salary or making millions playing college sports, but paying his tuition, room and board and books still leaves a kid with empty pockets. And in most sports, practices and games don’t allow for earning any cash, which the NCAA doesn’t allow anyway because a booster may over-pay for an easy job just to help the player. And let’s be honest about the cost of a scholarship—schools don’t hire new teachers and build new buildings for the athletes. They just put another chair in an already existing classroom and a bed into an already existing dorm. The value of a scholarship is whatever the school says it is.
At Stanford it might be $60,000 per year–at Texas Tech maybe $25,000. The commissioners want to try and find a way to give the athletes “a little money” to cover things outside of the scholarship. If that ever happens–big IF–it will take them five more years of discussion to agree.
The whole thing makes me see red, it’s so out of whack… but until the NCAA and the “adults” stop seeing green, for themselves, nothing will change.