Matthew Yglesias makes a great point:
Going to play professionally in Europe for a year or two certainly strikes me as a superior option for a talented 18 year-old American basketball player than going to play for a fake-amateur team affiliated with an American college or university. … And maybe if more people did it, the NCAA would start feeling pressure to erode the cartel’s rules against compensating athletes for the work they do on behalf of the college.
Or who knows, maybe some colleges might even decide that managing for-profit sports franchises is an odd side-business for institutions of higher education to be running.
I have no problem with paying athletes, but if colleges are going to be handing out compensation, the NCAA should end the charade of making athletes take and pass courses. In other words, divorce undergraduate admissions from sport-team hiring. It’s offensive enough for unqualified athletes to clog up classrooms; it’s even worse to pay them to do what everyone else pays for.
I’d love to see higher education and for-profit sports go their separate ways entirely, but I don’t think it’s particularly likely.