The Supreme Court has ruled college athletes can profit off their name, image and likeness, so how will this ruling change college athletics as we know it?
Like them or not, the NCAA recruiting rules prior to this ruling was based on equality; equal scholarships, equal opportunity, and creating as equal a playing field for all schools and athletes as possible. The SCOTUS ruling will change the way programs recruit athletes. It brings to mind the “Wild West” as both athletes and programs will very possibly turn into the “haves” verses the “have nots.”
Players can now be paid so will program violations become a thing of the past? (As of this writing, Mikey Williams has already signed with Excel).
Coaches and Athletic Directors were held accountable for all recruiting as each school was responsible for all actions the Athletic Department took with recruits. With athletes allowed to be paid, it makes it impossible to control rich boosters who can now recruit for the school, possibly without even the school’s full knowledge. It makes it impossible for the NCAA to monitor and discipline a school for recruiting infractions because everything is now allowed (no more violations). Rich schools, and their boosters, will get the top athletes while lesser schools, that do not have the resources, will suffer.
Without an even playing field, will these lesser schools continue their programs knowing they can’t compete? As an example, UNLV’s football program has never competed at a high level. With all the marketing opportunities and booster money in Las Vegas, look for them to become a school of “have’s.”
Now that the NCAA is out of the way and no longer determines what is fair and what isn’t, and money now being the ultimate draw, who will be looking out for athletes’ interests?
Will players be allowed to have agents, and if so, who will make sure the contracts they sign are fair to both the athlete and the program? Who will look out for players’ interests in making these endorsement deals? There are so many things that can go wrong. If a player is paid a large sum of money to go to a specific school as their star QB, what happens if the player gets hurt or benched? What happens if the booster or company who promised the large payday decides not to pay, or goes out of business? What if the player really isn’t as good as hoped?
Will players be allowed to transfer? Will they be allowed to follow the money?
Some players will be making a large amount of money while others will make nothing. Will jealousy rear its ugly head?
What happens to smaller programs that can’t compete? Do they drop their programs?
What happens to less popular or poorly attended athletic programs that don’t make money for the school? Will they be dropped, or become club sports?
Over the next few years, it will be interesting to see how the NCAA adjusts to these new changes. In the meantime, watch out for many entities that will be exploiting these new opportunities.
Hopefully in the end, we will have a better product for the athletes, schools, and fans. There are still a lot of questions that need to be answered.