The NCAA finally got its due in the Supreme Court, which finally delivered its ruling last week.
Athletes participating in Division I men’s and women’s sports will be eligible to receive benefits and rewards which will include cash. The decision also said that schools can also offer scholarships for undergraduate or graduate degrees and paid internships once athletes have exhausted their eligibility for college.
The NCAA cannot place any limits on benefits for athletes, such as laptops, tutoring, or study abroad programs. Simply put, Big Cats will no longer be able to treat college athletes like sports slaves because they are making all the income.
The role of the NCAA and colleges has been reduced to hosting sporting events – that is, March Madness and the college football playoffs.
The blame falls directly on the NCAA. They have used college athletes every step of the way to keep their rules outdated and unreasonable. Just three years ago, the NCAA began authorizing payment for meals for athletes after participating in a major college sporting event. The organization has been reluctant and inflexible over the past five years.
Athletes were suspended and schools were punished for athletes selling their own jerseys while schools made millions of dollars on game day selling those same jerseys and t-shirts.
Many believe the move could mark the end of college sports. I do not agree.
Athletes will continue to play for the same reasons and will be rewarded if they are successful. Schools in some states will have an advantage in recruiting. Washington, Tennessee, Florida, and Texas do not have state taxes, so student-athletes would not have to pay taxes on that income.
In the past, NCAA decisions were always in favor of maintaining power within the organization. Throughout its history, the organization has championed profitability. If an NCAA athlete broke certain rules, the penalty was assessed depending on the school involved. Consistency in the application of the rule has never been a strength of the NCAA.
The new decision can be controlled and athletes can benefit from it while maintaining a college atmosphere.
Opponents of the new ruling have claimed it will be like the wild Old West. Behind the scenes, varsity sport has been wild for a long time. The only difference is that now athletes can benefit from it.
Good college programs will likely get even better, and smaller college programs will be able to compete openly. Change is difficult. The good goes with the bad change, and it is high time that varsity athletes were compensated for their contributions to varsity sport.
Greed has finally caught up with the NCAA. College sports may have a new look, but the level of play will remain high.
• Quote of the week comes from Hall of Fame coach and college basketball legend Bobby Knight: “People think sport is very important. Well I think it’s nice and we have a lot of fun with it, but we have to understand that if we took out the School of Education or the School of Medicine it would have a bigger effect on Indiana University than to remove with the sports department.
Tim Crone, a graduate of William Chrisman High School, is a former Director of Activities and Coach at Blue Springs High School. He writes a weekly column for The Examiner. Contact him at [email protected]