Culver City Observer -

College Athletes Are Seeking Money

There’s No Keeping Them Down In The Dorm

 

February 19, 2015



By Geore Laase

Special to the Observer

Recently a federal judge in Oakland found that the NCAA was in violation of United States anti-trust laws for not paying their major college football and basketball players due compensation for representing their schools.

College revenues from television contracts have sky-rocketed over the last 30 years. Major universities, like UCLA, are now paying their head coaches millions of dollars in compensation. They are looking at this type of hiring as being more of a business investment than just employing an educator who can also coach.

But, along with the big-buck salary comes the expectation of continuing to have a winning program and keeping those million-dollar television revenues flowing in.

In the past, amateurs were not paid directly for their performances. The Olympics used to be about pure amateurism. Now, even these athletes see their hours of training as being a necessary investment, a long-term business strategy, and, if successful, culminating in lucrative product endorsements deals.

Over, Under, Around and Through

In the past having the schools pick up a talented student/athlete’s tuition, room and board, books and fees used to be seen as more than adequate compensation in exchange for their athletic prowess. But, unlike today, collegiate sports did not generate millions and millions of dollars in television contracts.

For years, some college athletes have skirted with trouble by receiving money on the sly from overzealous boosters and agents; just look at USC’s Reggie Bush saga ending in NCAA sanctions. This judge’s ruling is not going to stop the $100 handshakes of aggressive sports agents looking for the early edge in recruiting future sports stars. But it might lessen the need for players to look for ways to supplement their still meager stipends.

More Coming

The five large, wealthiest conferences--the Pac 12, Big Ten, Big 12, the ACC, the South-Eastern Conference--and Notre Dame are planning on increasing athletic stipends--beyond the “free ride” now received and add a full cost-of-attendance stipend that could be $2,500 to $5,000 per player. They may even set up trusts for players up to $5,000 a year for the rights to use their names, images and likenesses which would be held until the player leaves school.

Corporate Partners

The football and basketball players in these big-money conferences do not see themselves as fitting the past image of the true amateur of bygone eras. They now want a share in the revenue from the schools they serve and help generate revenues by being recognized as junior partners in what is now the vast billion-dollar enterprise, called college sports.

Updated Definition

The public needs to abandon its quaint, Spartan image of the collegiate athlete only playing for school pride and call them what they really are: Athlete/Students. Would that not better reflect our society’s fixation on monetary gain?

Minor Leagues

Most students still go to college to further their education and to ready themselves for a future career.

The athletes in these major sports programs should not be seen as being any different. These programs have long been seen by the NFL and NBA as proving grounds--a minor league--for professional sports.

So what’s so wrong with athletes sharing in some of the school’s multi-million dollar revenue they help generate while serving their school and as they showcase their talents to realize their dreams of one day playing professionally?

 

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