Lettering in Numbers

The former era of unpaid (at least officially) college athletes essentially ended when the NCAA allowed student-athletes to make money through promotional endeavors using NIL (name image likeness). Suddenly, college (and even younger) athletes could make money through advertisements and other deals. If NIL put a very big dent in how the NCAA worked, the settlement of an antitrust lawsuit will blow the system to smithereens. Big time college sports make big time money. And soon, students could be getting a piece of the action. NYT (Gift Article): Decades in the Making, a New Era Dawns for the N.C.A.A.: Paying Athletes Directly. “If approved by a U.S. district judge in California, the settlement would allow for the creation of the first revenue-sharing plan for college athletics, a landmark shift in which schools would directly pay their athletes for playing. This sea change, though, also carries its own questions, according to critics. Those include whether women would be compensated fairly, whether smaller conferences would bear a disproportionate burden of the settlement and whether this framework would do anything to limit the power of collectives — the booster-funded groups that entice players with payments to hopscotch from school to school.” You can bet the money will be directed towards the biggest names at the biggest schools and there’s a decent chance this will harm smaller, non-revenue producing sports. In other words, college sports will have an even more distant connection to college than they already do.

+ ESPN: The NCAA and its five power conferences have agreed to allow schools to directly pay players for the first time in the 100-plus-year history of college sports.

+ The lawsuit that triggered this change means former athletes will get a cut of past revenues. “Determining how much each athlete gets is a question that will take months to figure out and involve attorneys, the judge and a formula assessing what they are owed.” Who gets paid? How much? What to know about the landmark NCAA settlement.

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