NCAA and its Athletes

Written by on May 28, 2018

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS May 28, 2018, #694…NCAA and its Athletes
After further review…With former Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice heading an investigative committee looking into the troubles of college basketball, many have been disappointed in the committee’s recommendations. Before you jump head-first into blaming that cadre of folks, let’s look at what change is. There’s an old joke about athletes (you can fill in your own group), to wit: “How many athletes does it take to change a light bulb?” Answer: “One, but the light bulb must want to change!” That’s what Dr. Rice and the committee faced.
The concern in any change is what manner of enforcement, if any, is necessary and available to ensure it does happen. The NCAA has been successfully motoring along for decades, but now there are new players and enormous amounts of money available. As just one example, the sports shoe companies employ “representatives” who supply athletes with shoes and other equipment – for free – to steer them towards a given college. It’s no secret when you see a teenager the size of a Shaq or LeBron in their early years that their potential was going to be a major influence wherever they played. (Editor’s note: Shaq and LeBron are used here only to emphasize their size and potential was a factor.) The U.S. Attorney’s office last fall indicted 10 college assistant coaches as well as a shoe company executive for payouts and kickbacks in the recruitment of athletes. These violations indicate that, perhaps, the Rice committee has only scratched the surface.
Further, the issue of paying athletes during their college playing careers was addressed in the Rice report. The monies gained by the college and their coaches is beyond reasonable thinking. It’s not out of the question for a D-1 college basketball head coach to have an income reaching double figures, i.e., $8-9 million! The TunneySide maybe “old-school” in its thinking that college is still for the scholar-athlete in that the players get their tuition, room and board and, perhaps, a Pell Grant (for books, supplies, etc.) along with an education to find their place in the world. That’s nonsense in today’s world for the star athlete. Some will be successful in the professional ranks, but the clear majority will not, and will need an education in which to make a living.
One final thought about paying athletes: how and/or who decides how much is allocated to the athlete? Does the substitute goalie on the Women’s Water Polo team get an equal amount as the starting quarterback on the college’s football team? Ponder that decision.
Will you be in accord with paying college athletes?
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