Why I’m Mad at the NCAA

In case you haven't heard, last week the NCAA passed new legislation allowing athletes to be paid for the use of their name, image and likeness. Basically, they're allowing college athletes, who are supposed to maintain amateur status throughout their college careers, to cash in. While I admit this sounds good in theory, athletes should be compensated for the “work” they do, the NCAA is playing with fire and someone is bound to get burned. 

Here's why I’m mad. I am an NCAA Division 1 athlete. I am compensated for my athletic abilities through my scholarship to my university, University of Tennessee-Martin. I attend a small, lesser known school. I play a small, lesser known sport. Despite these facts I have been on the same playing field as other athletes, because of the amateur rules the NCAA has in place. Small schools and small sports do not have the same following that Alabama Football has. So how are we keeping our playing fields fair when we allow the players on big name teams to profit, while those from smaller schools are left behind?

This also makes recruiting much more difficult for smaller institutions. Before athletes could get paid for their name, image and likeness, the most a coach could offer were facilities and scholarships. This gave schools like mine the ability to recruit good players. Players came based on what the university and sport had to offer, not the potential to make money from advertisements and the like. 

The NCAA is supposed to be looking out for the best interests of ALL of their athletes, not only the big school, big sport athletes. While some change is good, the NCAA relenting to whinny state governments (i.e. California’s new law) does not serve ALL athletes… so I’m mad at the NCAA.