NCAA recently announced that effective immediately there will be several rule changes for college basketball, and mainly those players looking to enter the NBA draft early. These rule changes made by the NCAA is an attempt to try and improve the broken system of collegiate basketball. Last season a huge scandal dealing with players getting paid or accepting other gifts was uncovered. The scandal implemented a major shoe company, an agent, and several college coaches. The FBI had launched an investigation into this scandal, and it led to the firing of several individuals with there also being the talk of them possibly serving jail time.
For many of us who follow the sport or have been directly involved with the sport already knew that this kind of stuff was already going on. I'm here in Chicago and there have always been rumors of players receiving cash or benefits to attend a certain school.
So what are the rule changes that NCAA plans to implement to address this problem? First, an “elite” prospect in college will be allowed to hire an agent prior to the draft. They must file a request with the undergraduate advisory committee for an evaluation to be able to go through the process. If the player goes undrafted they can return to school, and the relationship with the agent must be terminated. Prior to the rule change once a player hired an agent hey could not return to school. Secondly, they decided that an “elite prospect coming out of high school can hire an agent as well. The NCAA has commissioned USA basketball to handle the task of evaluating these prospects and determining who will be considered an ”elite” prospect.
The whole issue of who will be considered an ”elite” prospect is at the center of many discussions since the NCAA unveiled their strategy. USA Basketball immediate response to the NCAA’s plans was one of unhappiness. They stated that they did not agree to this and that they felt blindsided by the NCAA. USA basketball stated they do not have the infrastructure to evaluate all of these prospects. They also asked how does this affect international players? Another question who is going to manage the relationship between the player and the agent? Who will be held responsible if it is found out that the relationship was not terminated?
Many also wanted to know what is the point of allowing high school seniors the ability to hire agents if they have to go to college anyway, because of the age restriction the NBA has, which has led to the one and done era of college basketball. Many believe that when the NBA next collective bargaining agreement takes place in 2022, that the age restriction will be removed. This would allow for players to enter the draft again straight out of high school. At the end of the day, many people including myself want to know how do these rule changes help prevent players from accepting money or illegal benefits?
The answer to all of this is simple it does not. These rule changes were all smoke and mirrors by the NCAA to try to appease the FBI investigation that revealed widespread corruption in college basketball. The main issue has been from day one that the amateur model of the NCAA is a farce and a sham. These players bring in billions to the NCAA every year and the players do not see a dime of that money. You have institutions, coaches, school, boosters, etc. making money off the backs of these athletes, while many of the athletes and their families struggle financially.
The NCAA has proven again they will come up with all kinds of changes so they will not have to ultimately pay the athlete. Of course, you still have people who are stuck in the past and will say they are getting paid through education. While I do believe a proper education is very important this is a capitalistic society that we live in. In every other market, the worker is compensated for their work and athlete should be treated the same. Some people would say you can not pay the athletes because you would have to pay for all the athletes which would be too expensive. Again this is ridiculous argument using the idea of fairness when it comes to paying athletes. Every member of every sports team does not deserve to be paid. If you happen to play a sport that does not generate revenue for the university you should not be paid.
A simple solution would be to allow these athletes to make money off their likeness using the many avenues on social media, or allow them to make money through advertising and marketing opportunities. For example, allow them to receive a percentage of the money made from jersey sells. That way the university would not be held responsible for solely footing the bill to pay the athletes.
At the end of the day, the NCAA system is flawed, exploitive, and outdated. They will never have a system that will allow the athletes to earn a percentage of the money they are making for the universities and ultimately for the NCAA. The only way it will ever change is if the athletes decide not to play, boycott the whole season, and force the NCAA to address these issues. Unfortunately, this will never happen and we will be right back in the same place we are today talking about how the NCAA has failed to address the problems plaguing college sports again.