As Adidas and University of Louisville are involved in a bribery case that has so far resulted in the firing of Rick Pitino, college basketball coach, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is embroiled in scandal yet again. Last week, federal prosecutors, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, charged several coaches including Pitino, an agent, and a sports apparel executive with, essentially, illegally profiting off branding opportunities for basketball players.
College basketball players are worth a lot of money, but they aren’t legally allowed to make it. The schools, coaches, agents, and shoe companies make the money instead. Big-name shoe companies including Nike and Adidas have been behind paying coaches to have their team wear their brand of sneaker. It’s clearly time to revise the rules of the NCAA in favor of the students.
This is a case of pure bribery; these coaches and assistants took money from name-brand companies, and should be tried and if convicted, go to jail. As well as these representatives, one of them being James Gatto, an Adidas representative, paid not only coaches but allegedly bribed two college players $100,000 and $150,000 to attend Adidas-sponsored schools and sign with the brand once they reach the NBA.
Bribery is definitely not the answer to paying NCAA athletes, but as simply paying the players seems to be a non-starter, let’s begin by reforming the association’s bylaw that prevents college athletes from promoting any personal creative endeavor if they even mention that they participate in a sport.
There have been many athletes seen creating YouTube videos, writing books, or whatever they find interesting as a way to make some cash on the side. But the NCAA doesn’t like that players are making some money to pay for bills or food. But what business does the NCAA have to be concerned about an athlete making money and having a little side hustle with things they enjoy doing?
Every year, NCAA makes billions in revenue through TV and merchandising and are determined to leave no spare change under the couch cushions. But what’s wrong with a person profiting from his own accomplishments and celebrity? Athletes these days are not being fairly compensated for the value they bring to their schools, especially Division 1 schools, and there is more than enough money to correct that.
Sadly, it is more likely that paying players is not going to happen, and probably because, according to the NCAA, they’re already shelling out roughly $2.4 billion in athletic scholarships. This just won’t happen in the near future because it’s impractical, considering the number of people they’d have to pay. But, it’s about time to find ways for these athletes to cash in and expand benefits, because bribing is very illegal, and is causing many athletes to decommit from schools.