An Optimist’s Skeptical Eye on Name, Likeness, Image and the NCAA
It's hard not to be skeptical of the NCAA or some of the larger conferences, aka the Power 5 schools, when it comes to things like, well, paying student-athletes above and beyond their tuition, room and board and more recently, a "cost of attendance" stipend. Yes, they are institutes of higher learning but over the years even some of the most prestigious universities in the United States, such as Notre Dame, Stanford, Duke and even Harvard have been marred by athletic scandals. Then add in the football and basketball powerhouses that occupy your tv screen every week and the list of improprieties would make your head spin.
Now here is the other side of the coin, the NCAA and some, please let me emphasize some of these institutions have been raking in millions over the years on the backs of student-athletes. Yes, some of the student-athletes are receiving scholarships worth $60,000 or more a year. Could they get a job like that coming out of high school without a college degree? Probably not. However, most student-athletes receive a fraction of that as their scholarship. Some receive just tuition, others room and board, while most receive a dollar amount that helps chip away at the cost of going to college.
We had Siena College Men's Basketball Coach Carm Maciariello on The Drive with Charlie & Dan yesterday. He talked about how student-athletes could use the new ruling to maybe work out a deal with a local food establishment to supplement their meal expenses by being a "social media influencer." A lot of these student-athletes from various sports have a ton of social media followers. Many are their peers on campus. Why wouldn't a business invest the price of a few subs a week to reach their target demographic? It's a no brainer, when that's all it is.
The optimist in me is excited for the student-athletes at UAlbany, Siena, RPI, Union, St. Rose, Sage, Hudson Valley and Bryant and Stratton. I hope that some of them can really benefit from the intended benefits of this NCAA ruling. The skeptic in me worries about the booster at X Large Football/Basketball university with the fake job to give bags of cash to the top recruit in the country but in the spirit of this ruling, why shouldn't that student-athlete benefit from free market economics. One thing is for sure, it will be interesting to watch.