On Wednesday, the NCAA announced numerous college basketball policy changes, effective immediately, that include allowing players that go undrafted in the NBA Draft to return to school, adding stricter certifications for summer basketball-related events, longer suspensions, post season bans for coaches that break NCAA rules, and allowing “elite” high school players and college players to sign with NCAA certified agents.
None of these changes are particularly surprising to me, except for one. High school basketball players are going to be able to have agents…really? Does the NCAA actually believe that this would help reduce corruption? Man, they are the worst.
First off, who is going to be classified as an “elite” high school basketball player? Is it going to be the ESPN top 100 list? 247 Sports? Rivals? A board of old white dudes that makes a ruling based on watching their highlights on Youtube? There is going to be a lot of discrepancy in the process that is determines which of these recruits are “elite.” There will be money poured at these decision makers to make sure that boosters get “their guy,” signed with an agent in high school, and can get what they need.
The NCAA also must certify these agents for a prospect to sign with them. Where could that go wrong? The NCAA has always been an organization that does not take advantage of other people’s talents to push their own agenda. What would make me think that the NCAA looking over the shoulders of these agents could go horribly, and let things get pushed under the rug so the NCAA does not miss out on any profit they can get their hands on?
College players have been scrutinized by journalists in the past for being too immature to handle the temptations and distractions of being a paid college athlete. I think there is some truth to that, but that does not mean they should not get the opportunity to market themselves and make money of their likenesses. You know what is not going to make things better? GIVING EVEN YOUNGER IMMATURE KIDS WITH THE SAME TEMPTATIONS AND DISTRACTIONS WE WORRY ABOUT WITH COLLEGE ATHLETES AGENTS.
I am going to be short and to the point on this one: The NCAA is going to spin this to make it sound like these policy changes are beneficial to the student athletes. This is not the case at all.
The NCAA has now created even more policies which give them control of what is going on in their fantasy world. They now can get good college basketball players back in their monopoly if they go undrafted. Those players can at least make some money if they join a G-League team when they go undrafted, but now agents, which are certified by the NCAA, may advise a player to go back to college for another year to improve their draft stock, when players that go undrafted, tend to stay undrafted.
Life is built on relationships. Summer basketball events are a great opportunity for players and coaches to interact and build relationships. The NCAA putting restrictions on these events is a joke. Why should organizations have to get the NCAA approval to run a high school basketball event? If an “elite” basketball recruit is now allowed to have an agent, why does it matter if he talks to companies that sponsor these events, or talk to college coaches involved in the events? What is the point of an agent if you cannot pursue any of the opportunities an agent helps you obtain?
Agents that are certified by the NCAA will most likely have the best interest of the NCAA rather than the kid. Agents can already be crooked individuals, but the NCAA stamp of approval sure as hell is not eliminating that danger.
There is only one thing that the NCAA could do that would prove to me that they had the best interest of the players in mind. Let the players make money on their own likeness. Plain and simple. If players were paid by schools, then every athlete in the school would have to be paid per Title IX regulations. Solely based on revenue, football and men’s basketball fuel a lot of these other sports programs on campus, and they should be reciprocated for that, but that would offend the sports that lose money for the school, so paying players seem to be more and more unrealistic. Gambling revenues could skyrocket in the first few years when it becomes legalized throughout the United States, and that has the potential of completely changing the conversation of paying athletes. To compromise, do not punish a student athlete that signs a few autographs for an hour or two to make some money. They worked to be the popular figure they are and deserve to profit on it.
Saquon Barkley was on SportsCenter every single day last fall and could not profit off any of it because of the policies laid out in today’s current NCAA format. That is wrong. The NCAA knows it is wrong. Until the NCAA gives star college athletes, like Barkley, the ability to make money off their brand, nothing they do will convince me that they are looking out for the same people that make them their fortune.
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