Charles Barkley received money from agents. “What a shocker”, he said in jest. That’s no knock on Barkley. It’s just that there’s a lot of speculation about top athletes receiving money from somebody before they get to the pros.
I imagine a lot of the top athletes come from poor families. If you were a teenager in college, broke and somebody offered you some money so that you could do stuff with your friends, wouldn’t you take it? “Come on, nobody’s watching, take it! You can pay me back when you become CEO. If you don’t make CEO, forget about it.”
These issues are not all black and white. There are those who say the athletes get a free education in exchange for playing sports. If they don’t take advantage of that fact it’s their loss. Still others say the universities get rich off of the athletes performances and deserve some compensation.
Instead of some antiquated notion of amateurism, why doesn’t the NCAA just issue some kind of age limit on college athletics, say 25. That would seem more fair to me. If someone found out they made a mistake jumping to the NFL too soon, it would give them the opportunity to correct their mistake, come back and finish honing their skills while continuing their education at the same time. The Olympics have long since give up on the notion of amateurism in it’s sporting events. It’s just too big of a headache to enforce and makes it unfair to those who abide by the rules versus those who choose not to.
Now I can already hear some of you saying the top schools would be able to pay their players more. Not if they do it like professional sports teams do and set a salary cap. Of course the cap would be nowhere as large as a pro team. Just enough so the players won’t be or at least will be less inclined to go looking for compensation elsewhere. They can still set penalties for cases like these to discourage that type of activity.
Just a thought!