College Athletes and Money$

Student AthleteThis past Friday Federal Judge Claudia Wilken handed down her ruling that the N.C.A.A.’s longstanding amateurism rules were a violation of antitrust laws. Yesterday I had the opportunity to address this topic on Sirius XM radio Mad Dog Radio’s Lance Meadow show.

Lance Meadow @lancemedow started the discussion with the statement that, college athletes should not be compensation as they receive a scholarship in exchange for their athletic participation. The arguments from the call in guest, ranged from one extreme to the other extreme. For example one caller suggested that the college should provide the athletes with not only a stipend but a car as well, so they would be able to get around. Another called felt that the current system of providing a scholarship was enough. He further stated that he felt that a significant percentage of the student athletes did not want an education but was hoping to get into the pros.

Mr. Meadow acknowledged that the current scholarship system can be improved and there are tweaks that can be made to provide certain athletes with a trust to accommodate the recent federal judge ruling. One key argument is that within the technology transfer departments a student is able to license their technological developments to companies for a profit. Everybody wins, the student, the university and the company. The same could be said for the student athletes. While the student athlete situation is not as clear-cut at the technical student who develops a new technology or application there are some lessons to be learned and could be applied to the student athlete debate.

First off let me say that I am not an authority on this topic as it quite complex. However like everyone else I have my thoughts, comments and suggestions. So here it goes.

You want a system that is:
➢ Fair – Fair in the sense of providing all student athletes with standard offering within their specific university size environment
➢ Equitable – Equitable so that all student athletes are treated in a similar fashion
➢ Reasonable – Reasonable in the manner that the world community would provide their moral support.

To that end I would recommend the STaGS approach.

➢ Scholarships – Provide the student athlete with a scholarship system that provides 5 years to obtain their degree provided they meet their course and athletic requirements. Even if they have a career ending injury.
➢ Trust – Trust accounts for those qualified athletes that are able to sell their likeness, autographs, etc.
➢ Grants – Financial grants for those athletes that have special financial needs.
➢ Stipends – Standard monthly financial stipend for all athletes

There are a lot of details that need to be worked out for each aspect but it would address a majority of the issues raised by those who say that the student athlete is not being treated fairly.

I look forward to your thoughts, comments and suggestions as to how the college athlete should be treated. NY Times, Ben Straus, Steve Eder, Marc Tracy


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