The NCAA needs to figure this out if it hopes to have a future. Its athletes (in major sports) are not amateurs, they are semi-employed fund-raisers for the school, the conference and the national associations to which the school belongs. Let’s be clear here, we are talking specifically about revenue-generating sports. For schools like Texas, Ohio State and Alabama, that major sport is Football. For Duke, North Carolina and UCLA, that sport is Basketball. At Tennessee it is football and Women’s basketball.
The reality is that the athletes (especially in football) have no choice but to serve their three years before entering the NFL draft. That’s not an NCAA rule, that’s an NFL one. The NBA has a similar rule, but it is only for one year. The athletes don’t necessarily have to play, but they can’t go to the professional league for a specific number of years. One could say to the prospective football player “go to Canada” but even then you are actually going to a different game and possibly lesser competition than say the SEC or BigXII.
Yes, the athletes get a “free” education…but even then it isn’t truly free. They get their tuition, books and boarding paid. No stipend, no off-campus housing allowances, no technology budget. The NCAA’s rule book for what can be given to an athlete make War and Peace look like a little light reading. Additionally, the NCAA regulates how and when an athlete can work…and how much they can be paid for that work. It isn’t much. You wonder why players get paid by boosters when they clearly aren’t supposed to? It’s because they are BROKE.
This, however, is the worst part of what the NCAA is doing to student-athletes…selling their name for profit. Yep, the NCAA, which is a dot-org (meaning not-for-profit) is profiting off of the very players they classify as amateurs…who are not permitted to profit off their own names. Go back and read that again…
In the off-season prior to the 2013 football season, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel was investigated on allegations he signed autographs for memorabilia dealers, which is a violation of NCAA rules. The NCAA couldn’t fully prove that Manziel profited off the signings, but common-sense would indicate that he did. The player signed thousands of items. Meanwhile, at the NCAA store, you could have purchased a Texas A&M jersey with a big number 2 on the back (Manziel’s number). Texas A&M and the NCAA are both making money off the player…who can’t make money off himself.
I know, my head hurts too…
Here’s GRB’s solution: Sell jerseys with three options for numbers…
- You can sell #1 on your jersey. Everybody likes to be #1, everybody wants to be #1, so that’s logical.
- You can sell a number that is significant to your school’s history. Alabama claims to have 15 national championships, great…go sell a bunch of #15’s. Miami has 5, FSU has 3…you get the idea. If there is another one, great…Justify it with the NCAA a year in advance.
- You can sell a number that is of a player who previously played for the school, but you must also share proceeds of the sales with said player. No more cheesing off the backs of the student-athletes. The NCAA can standardize this. You can have up to three of these retro-jerseys.
No selling of any memorabilia with numbers, nicknames, images or anything else linking to players currently on scholarship with the school/program.
Even if the NCAA never agrees to pay players or give them a stipend, the least it can do is agree to stop using their likenesses for profit.