While I don’t agree with those who still support the romance of the NCAA’s amateurism stance, I understand why they do.
What I don’t get is the logic the NCAA puts out to buttress its position. Like this:
… It’s not enough for the organization to flash a knife and demand players’ wallets; it also has to tell everyone within earshot that, no, actually, empty pockets are good. That’s how the NCAA argues that its amateurism rules — which limit player compensation to tuition, room, board and small cost-of-living stipends, but do not restrict sports administrators such as Alabama football coach Nick Saban from collecting millions — are necessary and justified because they protect and enhance athletes’ educations.
There’s no connection between cash in a player’s hands — or a W-2 form in their mailbox — and their ability to open a textbook or show up to class. But that hasn’t stopped the NCAA from making this case in the court of public opinion and, more recently, in federal court…
It’s one thing to argue that paying players would upset the NCAA’s business model. (I don’t buy that, but at least I get the argument.) It’s quite another to say it’s in the student-athletes’ best interests not to get paid. But that’s what the NCAA insists is reality.
“Maintaining amateurism,” the organization says on its website, “is crucial to preserving an academic environment in which acquiring a quality education is the first priority.”
Seriously, even if you staunchly support the status quo, does that make any sense? If you’re somebody who believes it does, I’d love to read your reasoning in the comments about how it’s only student-athletes who are affected in their studies by filthy lucre.