NCAA, Direct Athletic Compensation?

By | December 7, 2023

Just when I thought wrestling’s challenges couldn’t get any worse . . .

The NCAA has been trying for years to deal with many of the nation’s very vocal State Legislators on how to handle the distribution process of collegiate athletic-department funds from an employee standpoint.

Not only is it complex, but at the same time it’s also very simple. The workers (student-athletes) are tired of struggling to be able to buy a pizza on Saturday night, while coaches on the D-I level receive enough money through salaries, on the backs of the athletes, to buy controlling stock in the pizza companies their athletes can’t afford to buy a slice of.

The new proposed system, that the NCAA wants, well, sort of, but not really, is to take control of the NIL (Name, Image, and Likeness) money that isn’t flowing through institutional spread sheets. They want complete control of all revenue, coming in and going out.

And the pressure is such that regardless of how the power of control is decided, it’s time to begin compensating the workers.

What this means is schools will be directly responsible to compensate athletes through a trust fund, at least for the big boys’ sports. The proposal is the athletes of football and basketball will receive a base salary of $30,000.00 per athlete, per year, above and beyond whatever scholarship aid the athletes receive.

That means complete compliance with Title IX rules as well; what’s good for the goose, is also good for the gander.

What a mess! Not that any of this is wrong, it’s just supremely disruptive, challenging and really, really expensive.

What’s going to come out of this, besides it being unexplainable to most laypersons, is all athletes outside of football and basketball, in every other sport, for both sexes; is going to cry foul if they don’t receive equal treatment under the law. Salaries may vary with sport, but minimum wage laws will rule the day for all.

Whether the NCAA likes it or not, the government is going to view all this as an employment scenario. Meaning tax liabilities, W-2’s, long term disability coverages, and as I mentioned, minimum wage requirements. The NCAA won’t be able to get away with saying athletes in revenue producing sports are employees, whereas those from the non-revenue sports are non-compensated workers.

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