The Daily Gamecock

NCAA should pay student-athletes

Potential court case highlights unfair policies

Ed O’Bannon, a former NCAA Division I athlete, has filed a lawsuit against the collegiate sports association for using his and other players’ likenesses without properly compensating them. The lawsuit will likely see a courtroom in the next year. Several high-profile current and former athletes like Oscar Robertson and Bill Russell have joined the suit.

The implication of this suit is enormous. If O’Bannon and his co-plaintiffs win, the landscape of college sports will be changed forever. With the enormous profits the NCAA receives from its “student-athletes,” the ridiculous insinuation of amateurism becomes harder to defend, and a loss for the NCAA is beginning to seem more possible. The NCAA should get ahead of the game and revamp itself before a court disbands it.

The NCAA should finally share a portion of its revenue with its players, proportional to the amount of money the sport brings in. However, most universities use the revenue from their biggest sports to pay for some of the less profitable athletics.

The NCAA must find a way to give some of the profit to players without neglecting less popular sports. This is difficult to manage but still completely possible, especially if schools share revenue.
Similar to a professional sports league, there should be revenue sharing among Division I schools so certain programs can’t offer more money and attract all of the best recruits.

Every school should be able to pay the same amount per student-athlete, which wouldn’t have to be a huge sum, just enough to make sure the students would be able to afford food, books and other essentials scholarships may not cover.

Currently in the NCAA, scholarships are renewed on an annual basis, which means players must perform at a high level every year. If they get seriously injured, their scholarship and chance at a degree could vanish.

The NCAA should change this so every freshman given an athletic scholarship is guaranteed that scholarship for at least four years. If the NCAA is serious about the student part of “student-athlete,” this would ensure every one of its players is able to get a degree, regardless of injury or athletic performance.

There is no question in my mind that amateur athletics is a sham, given that the NCAA will squeeze every possible penny out of student-athletes while cracking down hard if a booster even pays for a meal for a player.

If the courts see the situation this way, the NCAA as we know it could be in serious trouble unless it revamps its system.


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