Supporters of a collegiate “pay-for-play” system rejoiced when the NCAA agreed to raise the value of a scholarship by up to $2,000 to help student-athletes better cover the cost of a college education. Unfortunately for them, that plan is now on hold, because 125 schools have asked for an override of the rule. The Division I Board of Directors will meet in January to further discuss the rule.
Some claim that the extra money goes against the NCAA’s philosophy on amateur sports, but most of the complaints surround how schools will pay for the extra money for athletes in all sports.
NCAA President Mark Emmert has repeatedly stated that a pay-for-play system will never happen under his watch, and this is a further example of why.
Paying college athletes goes against both reasons why 125 schools asked for an override on this legislation. It would further go against the NCAA’s stance on amateur sports, but it would also send dozens of other schools in catastrophic debt.
Between 2009 and 2010, only 22 football programs actually made money, and men’s basketball is the only other revenue-producing sport. Title IX of the NCAA rules prohibits any discrepancies between men’s and women’s sports, so those profits would have to fund athletes in field hockey and swimming as well.
There simply is no way that already cash-strapped universities could afford to implement a pay-for-play system without having a massive lawsuit filed against the NCAA for sexism.
The debate can, and likely will, go on for a really long time, but until we see some drastic and fundamental changes happen with the NCAA, pay for play will never happen.