By Adam Roberts – 10/21/2020
From a young age, many of us are taught not to talk about money, politics, or religion in the company of strangers.
In the sports realm, my three equivalents would be: you don’t talk about steroid use in all sports, you don’t talk about how the NFL screwed the Pottsville Maroons out of the 1925 league championship, and you don’t talk about student athletics getting paid if you want to avoid a shouting match.
In that last realm, at least, the conversation has been more civil in recent years than most of the past, and today the NCAA is taking another step forward.
According to a report from the Associated Press, the mammoth organization is moving forward with legislation to allow student athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness. The Division I Council met this week to discuss the changes and says the move is just pending a final vote in January, which will take place during the NCAA Convention. They also introduced a measure that would make it easier for athletes to transfer to other schools, eliminating a lot of the current restrictions.
This would seem to contradict the near constant stance on amateurism the NCAA has held throughout its history. And it would also be in contrast to a report in the USA Today last week that said the organization was trying to petition the U.S. Supreme Court to save amateurism as a concept and keep the payment to just the cost of attending school. It also seems odd given the news today that Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr has been banned from Louisiana State facilities for two years after he gave players cash on the field after the Tigers won the College Football Playoff last January.
In my three and a half years working in this position, I’ve heard talking heads on the national talk shows go back and forth for a whole show on this subject, both sides have been discussed at length during many episodes of The Sports Lead on ESPN La Crosse 105.5, and people both in and outside of sports are keen to share their thoughts on this topic. For now at least, it appears the next few months could provide some big leaps forward, or backwards if that’s your stance, on pay for play.