College sports is under attack from politicians and Supreme Court justices. The NCAA must act quickly to quell the storm. Name, image, and licensing (NIL) is a solution, but only part of the solution. NIL can create a huge lift for amateur sports by providing college athletes immediate additional money. It can also quieten critics.
First things first however. Some six years ago, the NCAA began allowing universities to use athletic department revenue to pay scholarship players monthly checks. This past year OU issued their athletes $450 each month for the school year. The NCAA has kept this program quiet in order to avoid the “pay for play” boogeyman. As we know that boat has sailed so it’s time to get off our high horse and get to the business of saving college sports.
Cost of attendance revenue was a huge step in providing players with spending money, but these funds come from already strapped athletic departments. This system also creates huge disparities between the haves and have nots, both colleges and players. As you might imagine the SEC pays their players top dollar while non-Power Five Conference teams barely scrape by. We must do better…
The football gods who want amateur sports to succeed have given college sports a gift in the form of an expanded playoff system. Within two years, this event will be like March Madness on steroids as it pumps millions of new dollars into the coffers of America’s athletic departments.
This money can be used to increase additional “cost of attendance” funding. It can also create equity among conferences and players. Every scholarship player in America can make $1500 per month without breaking the bank. This move will quiet today’s “players are being treated like indentured servants” crowd. Just as importantly, it will forestall the unionization of college players movement.
While name, imitation, and licensing (NIL) will get most of the attention these days, cost of attendance stipends is the long-term solution. Let the Spencer Rattlers of the world have the opportunity to make immediate big-time cash. Then use (COA) stipends generated by playoff revenue to take care of the whole of college sports.
It won’t be easy to get this passed, but it can work…and it’s certainly worth a try.