NCAA needs new format to accommodate players

Compensation would eliminate scandals, one columnist argues


NICK SANDIFER | Evergreen Cartoonist

Four college basketball coaches and an Adidas executive were among 10 total people arrested in a recent bribery case.

TYLER SHUEY, Evergreen columnist

In the wake of the Adidas bribing scandal involving numerous college basketball programs, it is time for the NCAA to rethink its main objective.

The whole premise of this FBI investigation involves “a thriving black market for teenage athletes, one in which coaches, agents, financial advisers and shoe company employees trade on the trust of players and exploit their inability to be openly compensated because of NCAA amateurism rules,” according to a New York Times article.

In short, the NCAA has become a stepping stone for some of these high-profile athletes to bridge the gap between college and professional basketball. Most of these top-tier players are only going to stay one year.

So, what do you think they’re going to do in that one year? Many athletes will take the gamble by using their athletic ability to elevate their platform and make under-the-table deals with big apparel companies to get a better draft pick.

The higher you get drafted, the more money you make.

Money is the one driving factor behind all off this underground madness.

“We have to look at what sort of things are rewarded by the system,” said Scott Jedlicka, a WSU sport ethics professor. “Coaches are rewarded for winning.”

Coaches sometimes feel it’s worth the risk of going against academic requirements to make sure their players are eligible to play. That way, they can continue winning. That is how some coaches think, and it’s difficult not to blame them when you’re caught up in an ever-changing, competitive industry.

These are the things that keep the sport driving from a media perspective. College basketball has become such a spectacle with its big-time matchups on national TV and all the coverage that media outlets give these 18 to 21-year-old athletes.

“There’s a market for college sport, people want to watch it,” Jedlicka said. “There’s been a willingness to pursue commercialization without real thoughts to the consequences.”

The NCAA needs to completely overhaul its amateurism rule. By paying college athletes, the league can eliminate bribing scandals.

We have come to a point where the best players in the sport are driving the business for the NCAA and broadcasting stations, and yet they’re not getting paid for it. Yes, you can argue that they’re eventually going to get paid if they’re fortunate to make it to the pros, but something doesn’t sit right with me knowing these players don’t get a paycheck for all they do in this business.

“I almost wonder if the simplest, most elegant solution would be for the NCAA to stop sponsoring football and basketball,” he said. “They would have to reorganize under a different framework.”

The outcome of the FBI investigation and some of these other small cases will ultimately determine what the future of the NCAA will be. Things are changing fast in college athletics, and it’s time for us to realize who the real driving force behind business is: the players.