Give credit to Mark Emmert. He’s not even trying to pretend being even-handed with this quote:
“The most fundamental principle here …is whether or not we want to have college sports as it exists today,” Emmert said. “That is student-athletes playing student-athletes. Or whether we want to move toward a model where these are employees that are compensated whether directly or indirectly for their performances. And universities and colleges have very consistently said they don’t want to have student-athletes become employees of a university. They don’t want them to be playing for compensation. They want these young men and young women to be part of a higher education environment.”
No mention there of what those young men and women want. And why should there be? Emmert doesn’t answer to them.
Of course, this is Emmert talking, so even if the greed is laid bare, there’s still plenty of bullshit to go around. What’s conveniently ignored is that players are already being paid, with scholarships, room and board and COA stipends. Not to mention this:
Two years ago, Texas swimmer Joseph Schooling was paid $753,000 by his native Singapore for winning a gold medal at the Olympics. One year later, he was not only eligible to compete at the NCAA Swimming Championships, he also won six medals.
Somehow, an NCAA athlete getting paid three quarters of a million dollars didn’t run the amateur model into a ditch.
Just don’t let those dollars get anywhere near football or basketball players, though.
Give Dodd credit, too. He had the stones to point that out to Emmert, who had a classic response.
Those athletes can be paid by their sanctioning bodies and home countries because, well, swimming doesn’t matter. No one who cares about the amateur model cares about swimming. The NCAA allows elite swimmers to collect up to $1,750 a month as a stipend.
Ah, but buy a 14-year-old budding point guard on the AAU circuit a lunch, and we’ve got a major problem.
According to USA Swimming, professionals can be paid $3,000 a month. That’s the difference that led five-time Olympic gold medalist and 14-time world champion Katie Ledecky to leave Stanford’s pool this week and turn pro.
There is no doubt college athletics is a better place with Ledecky swimming. But it’s not Ledecky that rejected college athletics; it’s the NCAA that has rejected her.
“I think you described nicely one of the challenges that was put in front of the [Rice] Commission itself,” Emmert told me.
There is no financial challenge the schools and the NCAA can’t ignore, if it would affect the bottom line. But they’ll ignore it nicely, at least.
The hypocrisy, it burns. The bank accounts, they fill.