This really is an amazingly dumb article.
Nearly 80% of U.S. athletes at the Tokyo Olympics shared a common attribute (beside their insane athleticism): They all starred on NCAA teams first.
But there’s concern that recent changes within college athletics could lead to widespread cuts to programs that train future Olympians but aren’t as self-sustaining as football or basketball, typically the only programs that generate profits.
“The anxiety is real around every sport,” Mick Haley, former women’s volleyball coach at the University of Texas, University of Southern California and for the U.S. Olympic team, told NBCLX. “If [money from football and basketball] doesn’t get distributed [to Olympic sports] … some programs are going to fold.”
“All this new stuff coming, this is just an unraveling,” he added. “If you don’t have the collegiate pipeline, you won’t have Olympic teams representing the United States.”
One of the most notable changes causing college sports financial uncertainty is the NCAA’s new name, image and likeness (NIL) policy, announced in June, which allows athletes to share a piece of the profit pie. Many colleges are also spending more on football and basketball amenities, and ongoing litigation could require schools to treat student athletes as employees, which would increase costs dramatically.
“The idea of student-athletes designated as employees or even independent contractors is a really scary one for athletic departments,” said Kristi Dosh, founder of BusinessOfCollegeSports.com. “It changes your whole model. Right now, it’s all about providing opportunity to as many student athletes as possible.”
As the article itself goes on to point out,
America’s not-so-secret Olympic weapon, aka the NCAA, is a model unlike any other in the world. While most countries run or fund their athletic development through government programs, America has relied on its universities for decades.
“Most countries don’t understand our system, and most Americans don’t understand theirs,” said Karch Kiraly, head coach of the USA women’s volleyball team that won the country’s first-ever indoor gold medal last year in Tokyo, as well as a three-time Olympic gold medalist himself.
When the author says “the NCAA”, what he really means is the NCAA’s amateurism protocol. And what is unlike any other in the world is that US Olympic sports expect their funding and support to be built on the back of unpaid (and largely African-American poorer kids) collegiate labor. That’s how you get to the point of seeing third-party compensation as a threat to the status quo. I mean, once they’ve seen the big city, how you gonna keep them down on the farm?
Nothing is stopping schools from funding their non-revenue producing sports out of their own pockets. For that matter, if we taxpayers care enough, nothing is stopping the federal government from following the world’s model of funding athletic development. It’s just less painful to present the checks to football and basketball players.
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