By Erik Lewis, Feature Writer
With today’s vote to allow the top five conferences in NCAA Division I athletics, which include the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, and SEC, henceforth to be known as the “Power Five”, a change in the status quo of college athletics is underway.
The Power Five are now getting what they wished for, more control of punishments, profits and creation of rules, but they also take some more of the heat, which benefits student-athletes.
According to an ESPN.com article, “The autonomy measures will allow the top 64 schools in the richest five leagues (ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, SEC and Pac-12) plus Notre Dame to decide on things such as cost-of-attendance stipends and insurance benefits for players, staff sizes, recruiting rules and mandatory hours spent on individual sports.”
“Cost of attendance stipends are likely to increase from $2,000 and $5,000 per player, and also four-year scholarship guarantees also are expected to be on the early agenda, according to the article.”
On the other side, why should only the schools and the NCAA benefit from ticket sales, apparel sales and other profits from televised games like the Rose Bowl and the Final Four?
“This [vote] is about higher education” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in the article. “It’s about helping 18-year-old adolescents become 22-year-old adults. That’s what it is. It may not meet everyone’s needs, but that’s what I believe it always should be.”
Bowlsby says college athletics are just a stepping stone for student-athletes’ future professional lives. If he means becoming pro athletes, then he isn’t being completely accurate.
According to an article on BusinessInsider.com, the odds that a college athlete will go pro in any sport are less than 2 percent in sports other than baseball (which is about 11 percent). So Bowlsby must be talking about it being a stepping stone for other, non-athletic type jobs then.
So, because of that, maybe student-athletes should be paid since they are spending a large amount of time playing for these teams?
The problem there is where to disseminate the funds. Who gets money and how much? There are too many sports to count that make money for universities which factor into that equation.
This makes paying ALL student-athletes a mind-numbingly difficult thing to do. Judgement calls would have to be made, which could turn the scholarship athletes against one another in a hurry. Competition is good, right?
I’ve always been against the idea of paying student-athletes, but at the same time I’m against the profit-mongering NCAA, which makes things difficult to argue.
Student-athletes are just what that sounds like and should remain that way – students first.
They are already receiving scholarships, at least many are, as well as a good education (provided complete their degree). So why should they receive the profits from the athletic events or jerseys that are sold with “their” number on them? Just ask Johnny Manziel how much money he’s owed (in all fairness, why can’t get cash for his signature?).
Paying every single college athlete exactly what they’re worth is just too. Damn. Difficult. Especially for the University of Texas at Austin…
Here’s a list of all the pros and cons from 2004 on USA Today’s website. Many of these arguments on both sides still ring true.
Power 5 Autonomy
But with the Power Five getting more ruling power, the 65 universities in these programs might start to do how they see fit in that regard, which could get interesting.
Does that mean paying athletes is on the upswing? Does it mean that playing for the love of the game is not a “thing anymore?
What it could mean is allowing recruits to go to one Power 5 conference over another because the benefits differ.
What is for sure? Once the power shift begins, there might not be any stopping it. Pretty soon conferences like the Big Ten, which used to have exactly 10 schools (and now has 14) will start adding more. I can see it happening where the Power Five will be the only conferences in Division I. Any other conferences will become like Division I-AA (as it used to be called).
Just as well, in the future the NCAA may exist merely as a governing body to enforce the rules setup by these conferences.
The NCAA still remains in power…for now.