The Collegian
Wednesday, May 18, 2022

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NCAA reform: Create a legal market for player goods

Last spring, CBS and Turner Sports reached an agreement with the NCAA to pay it around $11 billion over 14 years for sole broadcasting rights of the NCAA basketball tournament.

That's almost a billion dollars every year.

There are similar big-money agreements in football, baseball and other sports that involve exclusive broadcasting rights in exchange for payment to the NCAA.

So while the NCAA has been whoring itself out to the likes of CBS, ESPN and Fox for millions and sometimes billions of dollars, it must be fine with its players attempting to make a buck off of their abilities while still in school, right?

I bet you can tell where this is going. the "N-C-two-A" as it's affectionately known by filmmaker Spike Lee, is notoriously terrified of the idea of its "student-athletes" being corrupted by the influence of payment.

It has handed out fines, loss of post-season eligibility, and scholarships, and even the vacating of wins for schools deemed to have known about the bestowing of improper benefits to players of as little as $200.

What makes the association seem like the "biggest pimps around" as Lee has called them, is that it has refused to consider the idea of switching to what's known as "the Olympic Model," in which athletes are not allowed to be directly compensated by their institutions, but are free to pursue marketing deals with other parties.

Although this is by no means a perfect model to allow for the payment of players, it does provide a way to bring some money back to the players. You know, those 18 to 22-year-olds who sell out football stadiums in the fall and basketball arenas in March.

It doesn't take any money away from the schools that may be struggling to fund smaller, non-revenue-generating sports in addition to the building of training facilities and stadiums.

Voltaire once said, "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." By advocating pure amateurism, the NCAA has created an avenue for boosters with deep pockets and loose morals to give their schools an advantage simply by providing the means for college athletes to live the high life in return for commitment over other schools.

By creating a legal market where a player could capitalize on his or her own marketability, the black market would be curbed while still maintaining an air of amateurism around college athletics.

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