The Corner


Can Anything Be Done to Clean Up College Sports?

(Brett Rojo/USA Today Sports)

College football season is just around the corner. For the next seven months, millions of Americans will be fixated on how their favorite college football and then basketball teams do. Only a small number will ever contemplate the ugly stuff that occurs behind the scenes.

In today’s Martin Center article, Anthony Hennen surveys some of the reform prospects.

One issue is the welfare of the student athletes. Hennen writes, “Fritz Polite, the past president of the reform-minded Drake Group told the Martin Center, ‘Our focus is primarily on the well-being of the students. Someone, someone has to be the voice. Someone has to stand up and protect those students.'” The NCAA and most schools say that they do, but it’s mostly lip service.

Current rules prevent college athletes from earning any profit for themselves from their exploits. A bill in the California state legislature would change that. “Colleges wouldn’t have to pay student-athletes,” Hennen explains, “but athletes could monetize their sports fame with sponsorship deals or earning money through social media, for example.” That might be the only sensible bill in the CA legislature at this time.

Another prospective improvement that does not involve legislation is the Pay College Athletes Association. That idea entails having fans donate money into a fund to be equally shared. I am not optimistic this would amount to much, but it’s voluntary, so let’s see.

The most interesting possibility Hennen discusses is the possible creation of a minor league basketball league. Why should talented young hoops players have to go through the rigamarole of pretending to be college students for at least one year when what they really want to do is to become pro basketball players?

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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