This weekend, an article in the Express-News announced that Da- vid Grenardo, a former Rice football player and current St. Mary’s pro- fessor of law, will have an article
titled “The Continued Exploitation of the College Athlete: Confessions of a Former College Athlete Turned Law Professor” published in the Oregon Law Review this year.
Grenardo’s assertion is that the current system of compensation for NCAA athletes is unfair be- cause, as Grenardo says, “Every- one (coaches, athletic directors) is operating in a free market system except the actual people who are producing the product, the players.”
Roy Bragg, the author of the article, introduced the topic by bringing up the large profits The University of Texas (UT) earns, particularly through their football program, and the inflated salaries of their staff.
The problem with this approach is that UT is one of very few schools whose athletic programs are self- sufficient, meaning they don’t rely on student fees or university funds to mitigate their annual losses.
Considering that students, already pay millions of dollars to cover the current expenses of NCAA programs, how much more costly would it be to pay the school’s athletes a fair wage?
Young athletes with marketable talents should absolutely be paid a fair wage if the current system is kept intact.
But Grenardo’s proposed change to the NCAA system consists of schools bidding on incoming tal- ents, a practice that would likely inflate the salaries college athletes earn and cause the expenses of al- ready struggling programs to soar.
Of course, Grenardo’s piece has yet to be published, so his argu- ment may be more sound than Bragg’s article portrays.
To do right by student-athletes and allow them to earn money for their talent and effort, we need more than a simple change to cur- rent collegiate sport climate. The current system must be torn down and re-built from the top down.
The NCAA as it’s currently known should be dismantled, and the major professional leagues should finally be required to fully foot the bill of player development.
If professional leagues draft players at 18 and allow them to develop in professional developmental leagues, they will have more direct input into players’ development, ultimately increasing the quality of the players and ability for those players to fit into professional organizations.
In this scenario, other students and universities would not be left paying millions of dollars to keep collegiate athletic programs afloat. Young ath- letes would be paid a fair wage, and the quality of the sports so many people enjoy would likely increase.
The right to work for a fair wage is something collegiate athletes de- serve as much as any other adult. But students across the nation should not be stuck paying the salaries of their peers.
To do right by everyone involved, radical change to the NCAA’s current construction must be seriously considered.