The NCAA may have its head stuck firmly up its ass when it comes to amateurism, but Dennis Dodd reports that the conferences are already gaming out scenarios in the wake of losing Alston vs. NCAA.
Privately, though, there seems to be a general a feeling the plaintiffs will win, setting off alarms with which the NCAA is familiar. Alston is not the first legal challenge to the NCAA’s hide-bound amateurism model. But the cumulative effect of all those court cases may be a chipping away of the NCAA’s DNA. Without that one-of-a-kind amateurism model that exists nowhere else in the world, critics have wondered whether the NCAA would have any remaining worth.
Reacting to an Alston win, conferences at least have to consider what sort of compensation they would offer. That’s what makes Alston unique. Those plaintiffs have found their best chances of winning are to endorse a model that leaves compensation up to the conferences.
In significant issues like this, conferences don’t agree on much of anything.
Remember, the plaintiff in Alston doesn’t seek relief mandating that conferences have to compensate athletes. It simply asks the court to prohibit the NCAA from restricting the conferences from compensating athletes. If that becomes the status quo, every conference would be free to set whatever limits it prefers. (Ironically, that was the status quo prior to 1956.)
If you think the conferences are money-chasing whores now, wait ’til you see what happens if they have to start sharing the wealth with the hired help.