When it comes to compensation for student-athletes, this describes my personal evolution on the subject perfectly:
I was once a die-hard college football fan who thought that paying college players would destroy college sports, and thus was staunchly against it. However, I eventually realized that schools make far more money than they claim, hide profits, don’t offer real educations to athletes, and lie in court to continue to stuff their coffers. With revenues still rising, college athletics executives give themselves massive raises and hire unneeded support staff to appear broke in financial reports so they can continue to trick the public into thinking that paying athletes would destroy college sports.
Amateurism is not a principle; it’s whatever the NCAA decides it is that day. One day it was nothing beyond an academic scholarship, then nothing beyond an athletic scholarship, then nothing beyond the cost of attending a university. It’s a nostalgic tool used by the NCAA to give schools absolute power over their athletes, and its definition changes whenever there’s even the hint of a new revenue stream.
Consider the words of former NCAA president Walter Byers: “This is not about amateurism. This is about who controls negotiations and gets the money.”
Or, if you prefer a shorter definition, it’s about control.
Those of you who have a hard time accepting my point of view, I understand. After all, I was once with you on it. It’s simply impossible for me now to reconcile standing on tradition in this one area when the lords of the college athletics universe have managed to toss out tradition in virtually every other nook and cranny in their relentless chase to leave no dollar unturned. You being able to turn a blind eye to that is what I have a hard time accepting. To each his own, then.