NCAA: Don’t Pay the Players – But Let the Players Get Paid

Full disclosure, I love Arizona Basketball. In fact, I think I actually ended up at Arizona because I went to the 1988 Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight games at the Kingdome, and Steve Kerr became my favorite college basketball player.

And now the Arizona basketball program is in – shall we say – some turmoil. So I’d be remiss if I didn’t say SOMETHING. But since I know NOTHING, what can I really say?

Except this.

Any NCAA athlete should be allowed to profit from their likeness.

We don’t need schools to pay athletes. We should just allow people who want to pay athletes out of their own pockets to pay them. If that means the guy who runs Tuscaloosa Ford and Chevy wants to give an 18 year old kid $250,000 to be a spokesperson, who cares? If John L Scott in Seattle decides a good use of funds is paying $80k to a UW QB to be their official face of Instagram, why not?

What does it hurt to let 18-22 year olds get paid for the notoriety that 90% of them will never have again?

You could argue that we can’t let high school kids be corrupted by agents who want to take advantage of them. But that is a solvable problem. There are ways to create a licensing program where only people who properly qualify – and stay qualified – can gain access and negotiate on the behalf of a minor. It would actually lend legitimacy to an already existing corrupt system.

Now should the NCAA be paying the players? Thats a thornier question that begets a ton of problems. But in the meantime, let’s just let players get paid by people who want to pay them.

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