At the beginning of every new year, I get too many calls from my favorite media folks asking for “predictions” for the coming year. While I don’t have “predictions”, I do have a list of things that NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision athletic directors should be worrying about. So I’m sharing the list I keep by my telephone…
“We should pay NCAA college football and basketball players because it is totally unfair that their coaches get millions in compensation while athlete compensation is capped at the value of a full athletic scholarship!” This statement summarizes media and public sentiments currently in vogue. If Division I men’s basketball and football programs move in that direction, they will also have to leave their "motherships" (their non-profit educational institutions) because they can’t afford the Title IX obligation of having to equally compensate female athletes.
The time for action on intercollegiate athletics reform is upon us and it will take lots of folks, each doing one very small thing to make change happen. Few people maintain that the NCAA is capable of reforming itself because its Division I Football Bowl Subdivision members hold voting control over the organization. Even the so-called Big Five conferences, who successfully sought legislative autonomy and received it in 2015, can exercise their power to get the NCAA to do whatever it wishes.
This week, the NCAA announced it will pay $3,000 to the parents of 125 players so they can attend the College Football Playoff finals and $3,000 to parents of the four teams of 15 men and four teams of 15 women who make it to their respective NCAA Division I Final Four – plus an extra $1,000 to the parents of the two teams each that make it to their respective championship finals. This is a huge departure from the normal NCAA policy that treats all male and female athletes going to NCAA championships in the same manner - no expenses for parents.