The NCAA 2014 football season could be in for some changes! Last week, a federal judge ruled that college athletes are entitled to a share of the billions of dollars their sports are capable of generating.
That follows the decision by the NCAA that colleges can loosen their recruitment regulations and pay college athletes stipends.
The questions many are asking are, “Does that mean college athletes are turning pro? Does this end what many called an educational enterprise really operating as highly commercialized businesses? How will this affect the few colleges in the Northeast like UConn and Boston College?”
The new NCAA rule changes that are to take effect upon final approval give the Big Five conferences (which include the ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac-12 and the SEC) a separate set of rules. They can make some of their own rules affecting tuition and attendance scholarship costs, and other things that athletes complain about. That could include some conferences adding up to $5,000 a year to a scholarship, four-year scholarships instead of the present year to year scholarships, health insurance, and permitting athletes to have agents before graduation.
Then you have the situation where in the Big Five, which consists of some 65 colleges, whose coaches may make in excess of $4 million a year, while a player could get a knee injury and lose their scholarship, which is a big difference in values.
“Why is college football so popular?” many have asked. An interesting survey was completed at Michigan by the then Athletic Director, that 10 years ago, for season ticket holders, some 60% had their tickets for more than 20 years while only 9% had pro team tickets for any team and even the Detroit area where most of those surveyed lived. Thus, the NCAA football fan is not necessarily an NFL fan. They are different cases. Take for example, in the Boston area the fans are all Patriots fans and very few Boston College fans. Thus, one must understand that when thinking about paying the college athletes you are taking the fans for granted. One must know that in Detroit, the Wolverines draw twice as many fans as the Lions, and Penn State had more attendance than either the Eagles and the Steelers. Iowa State outdraws the Browns and Bengals. So you risk alienating the fans if you start paying the players for college football.
Believe it or not there are a lot of universities that lose money on their sports programs. Some universities evaluate their various sports programs – if they do not make money they eliminate them. And we all must remember that college sports develops a romance between the universities, their students, and future fans, which can grow to incredible numbers over the years.