Amateur athletes aren’t getting paid yet, but things are heading in that direction.
The subject of compensation for student athletes has dominated the college football and basketball landscapes for years now. From Ed O’Bannon’s groundbreaking lawsuit to a handful of Northwestern football players attempting to unionize, it seems that the NCAA’s current structure is inching closer to a total facelift.
In the most recent development, this past March, US District Judge Claudia Wilken issued a ruling in the Alston v. NCAA case — the latest lawsuit against the NCAA by a former student athlete. I don’t know if the good judge cut the baby in half, quarters or little pieces. But for all the fanfare that the case drew, the bottom line remains the same: no pay for play just yet.
For the most part, Wilken’s decision sustains the current student athlete model, one in desperate need of gobs of Gorilla Glue. There will be no outright bidding for CFB and CBB recruits. And the “pay” remains at the current stipend levels as determined in the O’Bannon v. NCAA case.
But she did open the door for a big-time loophole that could open Pandora’s Box on the recruiting trail. Per SBNation’s breakdown of the case, Wilken ruled that the NCAA cannot stop schools from paying student athletes additional “compensation and benefits” related to their educational well being.
Surely schools won’t abuse this power, right? Wishful thinking.
All is now (barring a likely NCAA appeal) fair in the already tumultuous war of recruiting. If you thought things were ugly on that front before, just wait until you see what happens when coaches have “academic compensation” to offer hotshot prospects.
But why wait for the 30 for 30 documentary to see how this all plays out? Let’s take a peak right now at just how far down the rabbit hole the always ethical recruiters may go with this newfound freedom.
(The coaches at “State,” “U,” “Tech,” “Faber” and “Phoenix” who were interviewed for this article will remain anonymous.)
“Coach, I want to live off campus. How am I going to get to class?” – Student
“No problem son, here are the keys to a brand new, tricked out Jag-U-R. Sign with State and let me know what color you prefer for your ride. And for the days the campus isn’t under a foot or more of snow, a rag top is most doable.
Here at State, we put the emphasis on education, and we will do everything we can to make certain that you never miss a Ballroom Dancing … or any other academically stimulating class.” – Coach
“Coach, I ain’t all dat smartt. How’s ’bout a perzonal tudor?” – Student
“Son, here at U, athletics are secondary to you receiving a top-drawer education, and the entire coaching staff is dedicated to making sure that you have all you need to help you graduate. We’re here to educate; wins and losses come at a distant second place. So of course son, you will most definitely have a personal tutor.
You can see here on my phone a photo of what this brilliant young tutor looks like. The fact that she could be a Playboy centerfold model is merely a coincidence.” – Coach
“Coach, in order to further my education I am going to need a state-of-the-art laptop, smart phone, laser printer, ergonomic desk chair and a boatload of Red Bull for all-nighters.” – Student
“Come on Kiddo, do you think that we here at Tech are cheap, that we are not interested in you having all of the best equipment in pursuit of your studies? Just to be certain that you have everything you need, how about 25 laptops every year?
Of course, none of these educational aids need be returned or otherwise accounted for.” – Coach
“Coach, after my long, big bank, successful pro career, my Momma wants me to be a doctor, lawyer or businessman. What can Faber College promise me when it comes to grad school?” – Student
“Son, as you know, at Faber College our motto is, ‘Knowledge Is Good.’ I assure you that you will be able to matriculate into any graduate program Faber offers.” – Coach
“Coach, what does ‘matriculate’ mean?’ – Student
“Just you let me worry about the definitions and details lad. Tell Mama you are in like Flynn.” – Coach
“Coach, who is this dude Flynn?” – Student
“Coach, I suffer from sleep apnea; what can Phoenix University do to help me out?”
“Son, in your private, two bedroom suite, also known as your ‘dorm room,’ you will have: soothing spa-like music, room darkening shades, co-eds well skilled in kinesiology who will massage you to sleep at night, two to three at a time of course, and Doctor ‘Algonquin Feel-Good’ will provide you with any and all herbal and medicinal sleep aids you so require. Believe me Son, you can trust Doc F-G, he always comes across whenever I need Viagra.” – Coach
“Coach, what’s Viagra?” – Student
“Don’t worry son, you’ll find out thirty to forty years from now.” – Coach
Ah, how sweet it must be to be a young student athlete in pursuit of a degree…
Georgetown, Texas Top Photo From Twitter
Chris Brouilette, the FishDuck.com Volunteer editor for this article, is a current student at the University of Oregon from Sterling, Illinois.
Jon Joseph grew up in Boston, Massachusetts but has been blessed to have lived long enough in the west to have exorcised all east coast bias. He played football in college and has passionately followed the game for seven decades. A retired corporate attorney Jon has lectured across the country and published numerous articles on banking and gaming law. Now a resident of Aiken South Carolina, Jon follows college football across the nation with a focus on the Conference of Champions and the Ducks.
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