It’s broke, Indiana State. Fix it.

Feel the power.

For the second time in less than two weeks, schools are objecting to a reform measure sought by university presidents and endorsed by NCAA President Mark Emmert.

More than 75 schools are asking to override a plan approved in October to allow multiyear athletic scholarships rather than the one-year renewable awards schools currently provide. That’s the minimum number of dissenters needed for reconsideration by the Division I Board of Directors when it meets next month in Indianapolis at the annual NCAA convention. The NCAA announced the change the Friday before Christmas….

“The NCAA and presidents step up with this legislation and then the universities want to vote it down,” said Christian Dennie, a former compliance officer at Missouri and Oklahoma who practices sports law in Fort Worth and writes an NCAA oversight blog.

Dennie thinks it’s all about the money, but the comments posted by the schools show it’s about something else.

… Indiana State offered a more blunt assessment, suggesting the change could “create some real nightmares.”

The “problem is, many coaches, especially at the (Football Championship Subdivision) level, in all sports, are usually not around for five years and when the coach leaves, the new coach and institution may be ‘stuck’ with a student-athlete they no longer want (conduct issues, grades, etc.) or the new coach may have a completely different style of offense/defense that the student-athlete no longer fits into,” the school wrote. “Yet, the institution is ‘locked in’ to a five-year contract potentially with someone that is of no athletic usefulness to the program.”

“The current system works. We don’t need to get into bidding wars where one school offers a 75% (scholarship) for two years and the other school then offers 85% for three years, etc., etc. This puts the kid into a situation where they almost need an agent/adviser just to determine the best ‘deal.’

Horrors!  I bet Ann Alexandra Charlebois wishes she’d been allowed an adviser when she signed with her school.

… Earlier this month, former Missouri women’s soccer player Ann Alexandra Charlebois sued coach Brian Blitz and the university’s governing board, claiming that she agreed to attend Missouri only after Blitz vowed in writing to provide more than $106,000 in support through 2015, with the player and her family needing to contribute only half of her college costs in her first year.

Charlebois received a 50% partial scholarship in 2010 as a freshman. After complaining about receiving a similar amount of financial aid this year, she was kicked off the team in September, her attorney said.

I guess that family isn’t buying the “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” defense.

Let’s ignore Indiana State’s nostalgia for a minute and see if we can come up with a few rules that might offer better balance without wrecking the NCAA’s wish to preserve its amateurism rules.  Here’s what I’ve got for starters:

  1. Pass NCAA proposal 2011-97, which allows schools to offer scholarships as multi-year grants.As I posted before, there isn’t a down side to this, other than taking some of the control of the signing process away from the schools.
  2. Allow student-athletes whose scholarships aren’t renewed to transfer to any other school with immediate eligibility.  If a coach transferring to a new program doesn’t have to sit out a year, it’s hypocritical to hold players to a more restrictive standard.  And it’s harmful to deny them the opportunity to attend a school of their choice on scholarship.
  3. Allow student-athletes to consult a third-party legal advisor before signing with a school.  You know, Indiana State has a point.  Signing is confusing enough for 17- and 18-year olds who aren’t exactly the most worldly people; giving schools the opportunity to propose different scholarship offers complicates things even further.  The schools have their lawyers.  The kids should, too.
  4. Adopt Andy Staples’ proposal to eliminate national signing day.  As he puts it, “Want to offer a high-school freshman? Go ahead. But you can’t send him some empty promise. You have to send him a national Letter of Intent. If he signs, you promise one of your 85 scholarships to him for at least a year, and he promises to attend your school for at least a year, whether you’re there or not. Coaches wouldn’t have to baby-sit committed players as rivals swarmed, and players wouldn’t have to worry about a coach giving away the scholarship he already promised to them.”  Trust me, that would do more to reduce grayshirting abuses than anything on the books right now.
  5. Allow student-athletes who are draft-eligible to sign with an agent.  They’ve gone to school and developed marketable skills, supposedly the point of an education.  Yet as they weigh the prospects of future employment against remaining in school, the only advice they’re allowed to get is from their coaches and the NFL.  Good thing there are no conflicts of interest there.  Like it or not, players need their own source for advice.  To keep things on the up-and-up, agents would have to be certified by the NCAA and would not be allowed to pay players.  It’s got to turn out better than the crap we’re seeing now.
  6. Either the players get to profit off their likenesses, or nobody does.  Of all the bullshit that emanates from the NCAA and the schools, there’s nothing bullshittier than how the institutions are allowed to generate revenue from a player’s name, but the player isn’t.  It’s a corrosive practice.  It demeans the NCAA official stance on amateurism.  Either end it completely, or devise a system that lets the players share the wealth.  What’s wrong with a 50/50 split on jersey sales, for example?  Yes, guidelines would need to be put in place to make sure that rogue boosters don’t game things, but if schools stay in the loop, I think the NCAA can come up with something that’s fair.  (And for those of you about to get on your high horse about players receiving pay for their ability to play well, let me remind you that the NCAA allows for student-athletes who are professionals in one sport to play as amateurs in another.  Hard to see how one’s okay and not the other.)

That’s what I’ve got.  Any suggestions/criticisms/offers of support for Indiana State?  Let me hear about it in the comments.


Filed under College Football, The NCAA

33 responses to “It’s broke, Indiana State. Fix it.

  1. BulldogBen

    A proposal that keeps all the cards in the deck of the big schools and presidents?? Say it ain’t so!

    I tend to agree with your proposals particularly signing day. It’s a great day for the kid but it ulimately puts un-needed pressure on him among whatever school’s fanbase he signs with. (see: I. Crowell)

    I’d tweak the jersey sales thing to include that caveat that 50% of his jerseys sales will go to the player but will be paid in one lump sum after he leaves the school.


  2. heyberto

    I’m a little skeptical about the legal consultation option. Seems like a good opportunity for a loophole where they consult with a potential agent or runner. Perhaps these are pre-approved attorneys only that are endorsed by the NCAA?


    • Dante

      I guess I just don’t see the evils of consulting an agent. A player probably should be able to consult an agent regarding their own professional future. Is an agent biased? No more than the school or the NFL.


    • Silver Creek Doug

      Top high school baseball players expecting to be drafted in June may have an agent as an “advisor” during the draft process.

      Why can’t their model work for this situation?


  3. Russ

    I like Andy Staples’ option of signing a LOI anytime/anywhere. Also, letting the players split revenue from jerseys and other items with their likeness (including numbers) makes sense to me.


  4. Chopper Reid

    I like th 50% of the jersey sales at the end of their college time–but it would only be fair if all Jerseys were equally available. Around here you only ever see a #11 jersey or maybe a #7. Certain years their only seems to be a couple of widely available Jerseys to choose from…It would be more fair if a Ben Jones Jersey was as easy to find as an Aaron Murray Jersey.


    • Dawgfan Will

      With the Internet, it seems like it would be fairly simple for Nike, Under Armor, and Adidas to custom print jerseys with the number of your favorite player.


  5. Rocksalt76

    I disagree with 5 and 6. 5 because while your heart is in the right place, the NCAA would be spending equal amounts on enforcement – just now on keeping agents from getting paid by schools, rather than the students.

    And as for 6, I believe the following:
    a) at the collegiate level in most cases it’s the colors on the jersey that sell it, not the number. My son got a number 8 UGA jersey for Christmas this year – we ain’t exactly Chris Sanders fans around here.
    b) At what point do you determine the player’s contribution to the value of a jersey?
    and c) this argument (and the argument for paying players) continues to presuppose we don’t live in a Title IX world. The minute that AJ Green (and he alone) starts pulling a share from sales of his jersey, little Jessica Smith from the soccer team will have her feminist lawyers so far up McGarity’s ass that he’ll be hacking up copies of “The Feminine Mystique” for a year.

    Let the superstar players subsidize benefits for their fellow student athletes with jersey sales and what-not, and in the meantime they get to have their resume out to potential employers in ways that no other student could. “Hey did you see how well I did in my Journalism internship with the Times this Summer? No? Just check out the highlights on ESPN tonight then.”

    Now, what I do find troubling is the sale of the gear that the player actually wore. Something like, the gloves AJ Green wore in the Liberty Bowl. To me, this stuff should go to the players to do with what they will after they’re gone.


    • walter sobchak

      i agree jersey sales is a pandoras box…a booster would buy as many jerseys as my “ncaa limit” dictated and then have the folks that worked for me do the same so the school and coaches can say “i guarantee X amount of sales if you come to my school”


  6. Dave

    #2 and #4 stand out as the best suggestions. Good stuff Senator.


  7. UGAfoo

    Let them transfer if they are not renewed, but you have to make them sit a year if they just want to jump from school to school. I assume that is what you meant.


  8. AusDawg85

    “Bullshittier”….? Like to see that in a legal brief sometime 😉


  9. Big Shock

    Like the multi-year grants and the ability to transfer when a scholarship isn’t renewed. I also would like to see an option for the players to transfer to a different school when the head coach leaves, although with a couple of stipulations: 1. the player must sit a year if he follows the coach and contact with the player can be initiated by another school. The player must reach out to the schools.

    Think that we’d have a tough time with your 6th point. Obviously not all jerseys are equally available. The linemen would get screwed. Also, you can’t always attribute the jersey number to the current player. The year after Stafford and Knowshon left, I bought my son a #7 and #24 jersey b/c they were on sale for $20 rather than $50. Numbers may matter to some kids, especially older ones, but my son just wants a UGA jersey. Maybe they should only sell #34 jerseys. If a guy want to sell his Outback bowl jersey or SEC Championship ring or whatever else on Ebay and split the money with the school, I’m all for it.


    • Why couldn’t schools sell jerseys with the players’ names on them?


      • Big Shock

        I think that selling the jerseys with the names on them is just too expensive. Imagine having to make availalbe every players’ jersey w/their name on the back so everyone is treated equallly. Recruiting someone and saying “we will make sure that your jersey is in 100 stores accross Georgia if you sign with us”. This really kills the smaller schools b/c they don’t have the same fanbase to purchase jerseys. “Don’t go to Vandy because your suplemental income there will be less that half of what you’ll make here.” Other than game worn equipment, I just don’t think that you can make it equitable (even then there are issues) nor can it be policed. At Ok St, Boone Pickens could buy $50MM in jerseys that cost $2MM to produce, making $24MM for the University and then $24MM to the players, then donate the jerseys to a charity and receive a huge tax deduction. I realize that these numbers are pretty outrageous, but but you get my point. There is a lot of room for manipulation.. Guess some rich booster could also pay $50,000 for a jersey on ebay, so you got to figure that out too…or maybe I’m just really overthinking what could happen here.


  10. DawgPhan

    I just think that point 6 is a giant waste of time. Maybe someone like Tebow had Jersey sales to support writing him a check but nearly every other student athlete is going to be getting a 3 digit check for his jersey sales. Clearly you can’t cut them a check for half of gross revenues then what do you take out before cutting the check. Marketing? admin? lawyers? COGs?

    If their jerseys go unsold does the SA have to pay for 50% of the inventory? Do they get to write it down on their taxes?

    It is a giant nightmare and is better solved by just giving every SA an additional stipend. If the little league teams cant play ball like that so be it.

    And I still say the value of the jersey based more on the colors and the name on the front, than it is the name or number.


    • RaleighDawg

      Just my 2 cents … (1) I think adding the players names to the replica jerseys/t-shirts, etc. is a great idea … especially since most major college programs reuse the same numbers during an individual game (i.e. #1 – Branden Smith & Isaiah Crowell). (2) If the vendors make/manufacture too many jerseys that they are unable to sell then I see that is their problem … not the players fault.


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  12. shane#1

    Why not put all the players revenue from Jersey sales in a pool and divide the money equally among the players? They can become self centered super stars AFTER they play in the NFL.


  13. Cojones

    Just skipped to the bottom to comment on several items before reading others. I apologize if anyone has already said this.

    #6. How will you separate the team members responsible for the achievements and popularity of one team member? Ex: Blockers for the RBs to achieve openings and fame. D players who help win the game , but don’t get a big reward from media. How much does the QB, protected by his line long enough to pass, get for his participation in making the receiver famous and vice versa? Ex: D and O players contributing to the media perception and columns devoted to the Freshman of the Year Award and whose jersey could become famous in the future. In short, how do we parse out others’s contributions? If you don’t get it right, the teamwork concept gets it in the shorts and will pull any team down faster than Exlax. Why should they block well for the guy that’s getting extra money that that particular blocking player would need more? Talk about quick dissention!

    The formula needed for such a compensation would be so full of subjectivity that it would make it unworkable

    #5 Agents for players! Why haven’t we thought of this earlier? Senator, if I had known that you were interested in being King of Naivete, I would have abdicated sooner. Career counselors, pooled, paid and selected by the U and answerable only to the student may be a way. But not an agent!

    #4. Okay.

    #3. I thought they already had that right and did seek legal counsel sometimes. If family, church and community can’t help the player rationalize the choice, why wouldn’t they already be able to choose legal council? It’s something like insurance policies we face everyday. Do you know when some Hurricane bullshit has been slipped into a homeowner’s or carowner’s policy that only good lawyers can interpret? Why don’t we have lawyers looking at everything? Cause we generally can’t afford the luxury without giving something else up. Think the state can furnish lawyers to disadvantaged students? And how will the player know whether he is dealing with a monster who takes over as a semi-agent? Because they don’t exist. We can’t cure this inequity in life station now, how would we separate it out for football signing?

    #2 Okay.

    #1 Maybe these shithead schools have a legitimate point. What they fail to see is that college football is already split drastically between the haves and havenots. And the haves are trying to consolidate their strength to the point of chasing amateurism from the building. They just don’t get it that we are cynically letting them say their peace and give a subjective argument when overrunning their selfish and weak opinions. Beating them up for their opinion is supposed to be one of my specialties. Not sure I like you horning in on that one. You know, too many bad eggs stirring the pot……


  14. I’m trying to surf and watch Texas-Cal at the same time, but tell me: why again wouldn’t athletic grants-in-aid be any different or have different rules than academic scholarships? Why the different rules?

    Forgive if someone already made this comment.