Wednesday, January 18, 2012

NCAA again fails to address needs of athletes

The NCAA had an opportunity to do something for the student athletes who put all that money in its coffers and dropped the ball.

More than 160 schools have objected to a decision by the NCAA Board of Directors last October to increase grant-in-aid scholarships by $2,000. The measure was to address the additional cost of attendance expenses athletes incur that are not covered.

The proposal, supported by NCAA President Mark Emmert, also called for multi-year scholarships to replace the ones that are now granted annually and can be withdrawn for any reason.

The NCAA Board said next month the 355 Division I schools will vote on the measure. It will take 222 votes to kill the board’s proposal and set the NCAA back to the caveman days.

The $2,000 proposal is optional for every school, which makes you wonder why some are vehemently opposed. But it’s about giving opponents a recruiting edge and to most schools that is sacrilegious.

The opponents say they don’t have the money, but a joint study by the National College Players Association and Drexel University refute that claim. It notes TV sports revenues last year were approximately $784 million and are expected to rise as the SEC and ACC seek to renew their television deals.

It’s not about how much you make. It’s about how you spend it.

“If historical patterns are any indication, it is almost a guarantee that athletic administrators will spend the bulk of the money rewarding themselves and their coaches with enormous salary increases and bonuses while spending lavishly on athletic facilities,” the report says.

Revenue generating athletes (FBS football and Division I basketball) from five universities (Arizona, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Purdue and UCLA) petitioned the NCAA this year to improve their benefits. None asked to be paid. They just wanted to be treated fairly.

Some key points were:

Ø additional money to make up for the scholarship shortfalls, which studies have shown average $3,200 per year per student.

Ø preventing permanently injured players from losing their scholarships

Ø Requiring schools to pay all the costs of an athlete’s sports-related medical expenses

Ø Issuance of multiyear scholarships

Players are not afraid to speak out; even those with NFL aspirations who in the past might have feared being labeled a trouble maker.

UCLA kicker Jeff Locke, an NFL prospect, got 70 football players and 17 men’s basketball players at his school to sign the petition. He is aware that the Pac 12 conference recently signed a 12 year agreement with ESPN and Fox that is reportedly worth $3 billion, the richest in college sports.

“If the NCAA pushes back these issues, the schools will find other ways to spend this money, whether it is put into new facilities or to increase coaches salaries, and the players will not be able to receive the basic protections they need from the billions they help generate,” Locke said through the NCPA.

The assurance of sports related full medical coverage is important to p players such as Georgia Tech redshirt defensive end Denzel McCoy, who sat out the season with a knee injury.

“The things we go through, the hours we put in, what our bodies go through, we disserve some sort of results. College football is a billion dollar industry,” he told the Associated Press. “When I am 40 years old I’ve got a degree and everything, but if I can’t walk up a flight of stairs, what did I get out of it besides a few bowl games, some rings and things like that.”

Ohio State agreed to pay new coach Urban Meyer $4 million, which is an increase of $2.8 million over the person he is replacing. Mike Leach, who was fired from Texas Tech, got what would be equivalent to a boost of $1.6 million for the head job at Washington state.

While fired coaches get paid for the length of their contract, there is nothing protecting the athlete from a coach who can take away his scholarship without a reason.

A lot of money issues for players could be eased if the NCAA allowed college athletes to endorse products and earn money off their name, but schools refused to do it. It all goes back to their fear that it will give some opponent a recruiting edge.

Everyone wants to win, but nobody wants to help the people most responsible for winning_ which are the athletes.

“It would cost approximately $47 million per year to provide a $3,2000 scholarship increase to FBS football players and division I men’s basketball players,” the NCAP-Drexel reported said. “The same amount can be given to female athletes for a total of $94 million. With $784 million in new annual revenues, colleges can afford a scholarship increase, pay for sports related medical expenses and ensure injured players can keep their scholarships while still enjoying an unprecedented revenue windfall.”


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