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A House of Cards: The NCAA needs to adapt or die

September 1, 2020
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The times are changing in college athletics. Name, Image and Likeness rights are now something that athletes will be able to bank on in the very near future, beginning with Florida in 2021 with California following closely behind in 2022. Throw in the fact that marijuana is becoming legal in many states and sports gambling will be legal and regulated soon enough, those are three major issues the NCAA will have to adapt to in the near future that will tell their future.

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Or, by the figurative sense of the word, die. 

If the handling of COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that the NCAA is ill-equipped at making decisions. And many of the people in positions of power are still clinging to the idea that college sports are “pure amateurism.”  To be frank, what faith should we as college sports fans have in the NCAA to change? What have the won recently? The O’Bannon Lawsuit? That was a big fat “L”.

Are schools that break the rules terrified of what will happen to them when they get caught? Not if you are big enough and have good attorneys. So what is the NCAA good for right now? Tell me. Because for the life of me I can’t figure it out. 

There was a time when the NCAA stood for “amateurism.” The football coach and the AD were the same guy, weight rooms had five benches, five squat racks, and some free weights, and there were 4-5 games on the television every week. But it gets harder and harder to make that argument when you have coaches making with nearly seven and eight figures and TV deals that are astronomical.

Does the slice of the pie get smaller when you have to slice it the players' way? Sure. We are just talking about two sports that really make money between football and men’s basketball. But there is still money to be had and there are other ways to make money with a perfect example being the ability for college athletes of any sport turning into influencers through the social media channels.

Jim Black
Baylor AD Mack Rhoades is in favor of changes coming by the NCAA.

How can you stop them from making a little money on the side? Because of what? Principle? That’s a tough sell. In order to move forward, you need to acknowledge that it’s not 1973 anymore.

That seems to be what is holding back many old school presidents and ADs from really addressing the need for change. Well, that and money. Gobs and gobs of it that the universities get and have not had to share to this point. That’s a hard thing to let go of.

When asked if it was time for the NCAA to change the things that they do and use the time they have before the new grant of media rights comes up in three years, Baylor Vice President and Director of Athletics Mack Rhoades told SicEm365 Radio last week that if they don’t,  “shame on us.”

What scares me is that most ADs are not as forward-thinking as the one in Waco. In the next five years, all 50 states will have some form of NIL law allowing athletes to make money on their own brand. Do you think Texas and Alabama are going to let Florida get a jump on telling players they can earn cold, hard cash? Nope. The NCAA can’t overrule state law as they don’t have any real power in the first place, making the house of cards more visible almost every day.

After the next five, the following five years will see sports gambling and marijuana become legal in all 50 states. What can the NCAA do about that? Sure, they can make rules that govern gambling as pro leagues do, but what do you do when there are gambling kiosks in the stadiums you are playing in? Are you really going to turn down the money from potential sponsors? The NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and others sure didn’t. In fact, many owners invested in daily fantasy sites.

Are schools who are mad at losing money to athletes going to turn down those kind of dollars? Probably not. As we’ve seen with alcohol sales lately, that came spiraling down once they saw dollar signs. If you can walk into a store and buy a bag of weed, what can schools do if athletes smoke it? And it’s hardly policed most places now.  

So where does the NCAA go from here? Hopefully not in the same direction. Having a college football czar would be a step in the right direction and it wouldn’t be the worst thing to do it for pretty much every sport.

Admitting that you need to change would be the first step and that is hard for anyone to do, but the writing is on the wall. Either get ahead of it or you’ll have to scramble and react like you always have. Let’s hope that the NCAA looks in the mirror before it gets out of hand.

Discussion from...

A House of Cards: The NCAA needs to adapt or die

1,198 Views | 2 Replies | Last: 16 days ago by Squatch Hunter
Flaming Moderate
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It's not just the NCAA. College athletics is a house of cards.
Squatch Hunter
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Flaming Moderate said:

It's not just the NCAA. College athletics is a house of cards.
This. The costs of maintaining a viable D1 program in the current facilities/coaching salary arms race are extraordinary.
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