Redrawing NCAA College Football: The End of the Amateur Ideal

Tomorrow Buckeye “Probation” Nation travels to “the U” of Probation. This figures to be the NCAA’s next installment of the “We will let you play today and collect all the money from the game, but will take the result away from the winning team three to five years down the road because some player who will then be in the NFL will posthumously be declared ineligible BOWL.” Oh I can’t wait!

Put in other words, college football has lost its integrity. The NCAA is about as corrupt and greedy a sports body can get minus sports with promoters named Don King or soccer balls.

See this growing list of examples:

  • The NCAA stubbornly refuses to ditch the BCS in favor of a playoff system that would crown an undisputed champion (see Boise St., Utah, TCU).
  • Schools willy-nilly decide to flee to new conferences leaving other schools in the dust after committing to said conference the previous year (see Texas A&M).
  • Coaches get paid millions by states, only to leave when the infractions committee comes snooping around (see Pete Carroll, Jim Tressel).
  • And throw on top of this, the always present shady boosters who are ready to pay for their time in the sun (see Ohio St., Miami, et all).

All the while the NCAA hides behind the protection of the ideal of the amateur athlete. Thinking a student will play merely for the pride and glory of their institution. This despite the previously mentioned list of greed and cheating by said institutions. In addition the NCAA is the last global billion-dollar sports league or event to proclaim amateurism. Even the Olympics, founded on the ideals of amateurism, have allowed professional athletes to compete for a few decades now.

Therefore, I have come up with a few starter ideas to help the NCAA restore it’s integrity:

  • Introduce a pay scale. Playing Division 1 football is the equivalent of a part time job for players. Combine that with their studies and there is no time for the players to have a job in the season. Programs can afford to pay players a reasonable wage that will help in addition to a scholarship. Here’s my suggestion: Freshman: $12,500, Sophomores: $15,000, Juniors: $17,500, Seniors: $22,000 (encourages players to stick around longer)
  • Allow athletes to have endorsement deals approved by the Athletic Department. I imagine those that will be going pro in sports would be the ones receiving the deals. It also would keep away the boosters.
  • Centralize the NCAA by (1) hiring a commissioner, who is not a current school President. This will help give a single, stronger voice to the NCAA. (2) Create a NCAA TV Network and spread TV money equally across D-1 schools, no matter the conference. (3) Realign the conferences. With equal TV money, we need equally sized Conferences with competitive balance.
  • Playoffs! I need not say more.

There you have it. Oh, by the way I will not be watching the game. I’ll be watching soccer, my preferred corrupt sport. At least their players get paid.

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