College athletics, particularly men’s’ basketball and football, are a multi-million dollar a year moneymaker for universities. Coaches and schools get rich off the work of the athletes, who are not permitted to be paid.
Worst, perhaps, is the polite fiction that big program college athletes are students as well. Most big time athletes play as few years as possible before making the jump to professional leagues, never earning a degree. Those athletes that are unable to make the leap to professional sports are given consolation degrees, either altogether unearned, or in fields that make them effectively unemployable.
The current NCAA system is set up to enrich schools and coaches at the expense of “student” athletes.
How about this for a new NCAA system?
1. All scholarship athletes in programs for which a viable professional league exists (e.g., football, men’s hockey, baseball, men’s and women’s basketball) will be paid a meaningful salary, say, $50,000.
2. Athletes need not be enrolled as full time students for the duration of their eligibility, which will be the same as current standards (four years, with a red shirt year, if applicable).
3. Schools will be required to admit and educate the athletes for six years at any time after the athlete’s college career and/or eligibility is completed.
4. Schools must provide any and all remedial schooling necessary for the returning athletes to succeed, and a program’s eligibility to continue in the NCAA will be determined in part on its success in doing so.
This program would incentivize athletes to enter an NCAA program, and stay longer. It would also recognize fact: student athletes are not students primarily. It would decouple athletics from academics, and allow athletes the luxury to pursue their education meaningfully when it becomes apparent they will not be playing pro, as most of them will not. It pays athletes a meaningful stipend for their efforts, hopefully drying up the illegal payment schemes.
What say you, Gormogons?