Is California professionalizing college sports?

Decades ago, my eldest daughter and I were having a debate over whether or not athletes should be paid by the colleges and universities they play for.  My position was that they should be paid for their time, dedication, and hard work since the revenue generated by college sports, especially football and basketball, was disproportionately lining the coffers of these institutions and the NCAA.  My daughter, an All-American and a member of the Cornell University Athletic Hall of Fame, adamantly took an opposing view.  She felt that paying athletes would ruin college sports.

Recently, she sent me a link to an article that I found interesting: the California Assembly voted unanimously to allow college athletes to be paid salaries and earn money from endorsements and other commercial sources. 

Now, many will find this move appalling, especially the NCAA, which is already working to counter this action by threatening to disallow any California college or university from being eligible to compete for a national title.  The California Senate must vote to pass this legislation into law, and I'm guessing this will set up a serious challenge to the authority of the NCAA.  

Here are the benefits.  First, if athletes get paid by external sources not associated with the college or university, then the number of athletic scholarships will decline appreciably, and more money will be available to offset tuition increases, which will benefit all students.  Second, illegal recruiting will end, since the universities could partner with businesses and industry to legally recruit and fund even better athletes.  Parity among large and small institutions will improve.  A well-to-do graduate from Gobbler's Knob University could fund a competitive team for the first time in the school's history.  There would be no need for defining schools based on size.  Each team could then be free to select the level of competition it would choose to engage in.

It's no secret there are many outstanding athletes who aren't the brightest stars in the sky when it comes to academics.  Professors would no longer have to succumb to pressures from the A.D. and coaches to become myopic, looking away from a star athlete's lack of academic achievement.  In fact, I'm an advocate that athletes would not even have to pursue a degree of any kind.  They get four years of eligibility, and then they're gone.  Meeting the rigid requirements for matriculation would not be compromised.  No red-shirting and no strings attached.  Professors should be overjoyed that academic standards would in no way have to be lessened.

Every college coach could run the team like a business.  If a point guard or right tackle isn't up to his standards, terminate the contracts, and find a better option.  After all, winning is everything.

So keep your eyes on California, a bellwether state for most of America's insanity, except in this case, where it may have it right for a change.

Decades ago, my eldest daughter and I were having a debate over whether or not athletes should be paid by the colleges and universities they play for.  My position was that they should be paid for their time, dedication, and hard work since the revenue generated by college sports, especially football and basketball, was disproportionately lining the coffers of these institutions and the NCAA.  My daughter, an All-American and a member of the Cornell University Athletic Hall of Fame, adamantly took an opposing view.  She felt that paying athletes would ruin college sports.

Recently, she sent me a link to an article that I found interesting: the California Assembly voted unanimously to allow college athletes to be paid salaries and earn money from endorsements and other commercial sources. 

Now, many will find this move appalling, especially the NCAA, which is already working to counter this action by threatening to disallow any California college or university from being eligible to compete for a national title.  The California Senate must vote to pass this legislation into law, and I'm guessing this will set up a serious challenge to the authority of the NCAA.  

Here are the benefits.  First, if athletes get paid by external sources not associated with the college or university, then the number of athletic scholarships will decline appreciably, and more money will be available to offset tuition increases, which will benefit all students.  Second, illegal recruiting will end, since the universities could partner with businesses and industry to legally recruit and fund even better athletes.  Parity among large and small institutions will improve.  A well-to-do graduate from Gobbler's Knob University could fund a competitive team for the first time in the school's history.  There would be no need for defining schools based on size.  Each team could then be free to select the level of competition it would choose to engage in.

It's no secret there are many outstanding athletes who aren't the brightest stars in the sky when it comes to academics.  Professors would no longer have to succumb to pressures from the A.D. and coaches to become myopic, looking away from a star athlete's lack of academic achievement.  In fact, I'm an advocate that athletes would not even have to pursue a degree of any kind.  They get four years of eligibility, and then they're gone.  Meeting the rigid requirements for matriculation would not be compromised.  No red-shirting and no strings attached.  Professors should be overjoyed that academic standards would in no way have to be lessened.

Every college coach could run the team like a business.  If a point guard or right tackle isn't up to his standards, terminate the contracts, and find a better option.  After all, winning is everything.

So keep your eyes on California, a bellwether state for most of America's insanity, except in this case, where it may have it right for a change.