Just Not Enough: How the NCAA is still getting over

Last month, the NCAA appointed Commission on College Basketball proposed sweeping changes to current NCAA policies in response to the FBI’s investigation into mass corruption in college basketball recruiting.

The Commission, which is lead by Condeleezza Rice, took six months to comprise a 60-page report Wednesday that broke down issue in the sport. An excerpt from the report said the following in regards to the current state of college basketball.

“It is the overwhelming assessment of the commission that the state of men’s college basketball is deeply troubled. The levels of corruption and deception are now at a point that they threaten the very survival of the college game as we know it.”

As a result of their findings, the commission recommended 5 changed they felt should be enacted immediately.

1.   End one-and-done rule

The one-and-done rule is pointless, and everyone involved with it knows. It serves no purpose for a player to spend one year in school, which is really one semester. Most one-and done players withdraw from class during second semester to focus on basketball anyway, so to mandate that they delay their professional careers despite being 18 is unfair and un-American.

While many focused on the end of the one-and-done rule, there was one part of their recommendation that should have garnered more attention than it did.

Since the one-and-done rule was created by the NBA, the commission suggested that if the NBA/NBAPA refuses to change the rule that freshman ineligibility will be recommended to the NCAA.

This would basically force players to stay in school at least two years.

2.   Allow undrafted underclassmen to return

Any player who was not selected in the draft and decides against pursuing a career overseas right should be allowed to retain his eligibility and turn to college basketball. 

3.   Allow Agents

This would be a 180 from the current rule, which bans players from any contact with agents before declaring for the NBA draft. The goal of this rule change would be to eliminate some of the corruption found in the FBI’s report by streamlining the certification process, thus allowing the NCAA to ensure players are talking to certified agents and not being misled.

4.   Increase Penalties

This is a scare tactic the commission believes will deter coaches/schools from cheating in the future. A five-year postseason ban as well as possible loss of revenue sharing are a few highlights of the increase, but as long as this remains a billion dollar business, there will be someone willing to bend the rules.

5.   Combat shoe company corruption with summer league of their own

The AAU circuit is currently ran by the three major show companies, and many have accused the three of using their money and influence to lure players to sign with their brands.

In order to stop this, the commission suggested that the NCAA team with the NBA and USA Basketball to develop a summer program of their own. 

While the changes would be much appreciated, they don’t address the real issue with the relationship between the NCAA and its athletes.

Profits keep rising, and the people earning the profits are being shut out of the spoils. 

According to Athletic Director University, D-1 Athletic Directors salaries are now averaging more than $500,000, with AD’s at power 5 conferences (and Notre Dame) pull in over $1 million annually. 

Schools make millions, coaches make millions, Athletic Directors make millions, but if a player gets one two many meals he can be considered ineligible. 

In 2013, the National College Players Association and Drexel University released a study to determine how much college athletes would be worth in an open market. The study borrowed revenue sharing models from the NBA & NFL to calculate the value of collegiate athletes in the respective sports. 

The results were quite shocking. According to the study, the average FBS football player is worth $137,357, while the average men’s basketball player is $289,031 per year.

When this study was conducted, the average player earned $23,031 in scholarship money. 

The days of rationalizing this unfair treatment by suggesting a college education is some mystical accomplishment that you can’t put a dollar amount on. If that was the case, Navient wouldn’t call me three times a week (I don’t have it bro).

I'm not advocating for players to be paid millions, or even game checks. What I am suggesting is a system that creates an account for each player that can be cashed out once a players career is over.

Another solution would be to give players control of their image and likeness in order to earn money. Marquee athletes should be given the same opportunities to make money off their hard work that the Universities have.

And what will the NCAA do about athletes in non-revenue sports who feel like they should be paid too? 

Tell them they played the wrong sport.