Amateur sport at the highest level. American institutions are dead

On Wednesday, a performative group of elected officials who raise money and occasionally draft legislation met in Washington, D.C., to discuss the Name, image and likeness.

The hearing before the Subcommittee on Innovation, Data and Commerce was about money, but not so much about athletes’ money. This is about protecting the NCAA’s money. The university collective was recently hired Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker will be the new commissionerand there is a reason why they chose a politician.

The NCAA wants protection against the winds of change, and it appears to be finding champions.

Champions like Gus Bilirakis (Fla.-R), the subcommittee’s chairman, who began the proceedings by saying, “In short, we must find a delicate balance between the rights of college athletes to profit from their NIL while maintaining amateur status . for all college athletes.”

How strange.

As the NCAA men’s and women’s tournament finals approach this weekend, with CBS paying the NCAA roughly $1 billion a year to broadcast the men’s broadcasts, former Fab Five legend and college basketball analyst Jalen Rose is appearing in one of several ads targeting college sports . punters, and with Fan Duel announcing that it’s sending sports talk radio host and sports gambling enthusiast Craig Carton to college campuses in the Northeast to teach college students about “responsible gambling,” no one can talk straight about amateur sports anymore.

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Amateur sports are dead in American higher education institutions.

The word is a recall word. It smells like peach baskets and freshly cut grass. This makes people feel safe behind the microphones on the congressional platform and have a strong authority: amateurism.

Amateurism is dead

Except these days only college players are considered amateurs. No NCAA school tries to return money from team sponsorships, boosters and deals brokered in the name of amateurism. They are not fighting to keep sports betting away from college games. In fact, some schools have even partnered with sports betting providers.

THE The New York Times investigated this trend last fall, detailing Michigan State’s deal with Caesars, which ended up being worth $8.4 million over five years. But amateurism.

There are certainly players who go to college because of athletic ability that is insufficient for a professional career, and whose lifetime earnings are many times what they would have earned without a college degree. Many of the speakers at yesterday’s hearing talked about college players whose lives are immeasurably better if they played sports.

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But that’s not why Caesars is partnering with a university for millions.

The reason the NCAA is begging Congress for legislation that would make NIL laws and policies consistent across states is because the money hose around college sports has changed the landscape. Coaches of Division I public school basketball and football teams are sometimes the highest paid public employees in their state. It is very unfair that schools, coaches, corporate partners, sports betting operators and many others can profit from an organization that denies players this ability.

It is certain that the transfer portal made the work of the university coach significantly more difficult. And the chaos around the NIL means that schools are not only competing for recruits, but are doing so within regional restrictions around the NIL compared to those from other states. Are players employees? Can they share in the income that their sport brings to a school? Is it ethical for boosters to offer minimum wage to, say, a lacrosse or volleyball team?

And most importantly, why does it belong to Congress?

Why is this important to Congress?

We’re in this predicament because the NCAA didn’t want to put meaningful restrictions on affiliates when it had the chance, and now it’s too weak to clip wings. So now we get to hear lawmakers spend their minutes in a NIL hearing lamely rooting for their local colleges and trying to grasp the 100 years of athletic labor that got us to this moment. Go Team!

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At least for sports betting, it looks like there may be some curbing on the college space. THE US gambling industry proposes new restrictions when it comes to working with schools or NIL offers to individual athletes. But make no mistake, educating college-age sports fans about betting is part of the business plan — and if it has to be under the banner of “responsible betting,” it’s still educational.

A hearing witness, Jason Stahl, executive director and founder of the College Football Players Association, noted that when the College Football Playoff expands from four to 12 teams in the coming years, billions more will be pumped into the system.

“Change is here in college athletics, and it’s time for the NCAA, conference and member institution administrators to embrace that change,” Stahl said. “Player empowerment will only increase and there is no going back to the paternalism of the past through federal legislation or other matters.”