An Athletic Director’s Nightmare

The nightmare is coming true in California.

For decades, the member schools of the National Collegiate Athletic Association have not paid the stars of their games a salary hiding behind some notion that the performers are “student-athletes” and that getting a free education should suffice. But there are politicians that would like to see “student-athletes” get something more than an education. They want the “student-athletes” to be paid. The NCAA has many rules that do not help players who may go hungry because the NCAA clings to the thought that “student-athletes” should be struggling and not be allowed to accept jobs that pay more than $2,000 annually. The guardians of the NCAA, college and university presidents, chancellors, board of trustees and others never explain why these rules apply to athletes but not others on scholarships including band members who perform at games and are free to outside take jobs. The NCAA is selling amateurism in a professional environment.

Texas Christian University Athletic Director Jerimiah Donati is in the let’s not pay the players camp. Donati has a nightmare scenario if players get paid. “The local businesses will say, ‘Hey, Player X, let us host your birthday party at Bar Y. We’ll promote it and it’ll be Desmond Bane’s 21st birthday.’ And they’ll pay him money to do this. That sounds all well and good in concept until boosters get involved in promoting such events. That’s where the underlying and inevitable problem lies with paying athletes. Some big pocket donors can say, ‘We’re going to pay our players $100,000 to promote Joe’s Taco Shack’.  Then we’re back in the funny business again. I’m really nervous about this. I don’t know how you regulate this. This could potentially destroy everything we know and love about college sports. I am absolutely a huge opponent of it.” The NCAA does not want to share its billions with talent.

(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)