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Supreme Court Fallout and the Future of College Athletics

skitchwolfskitchwolf Posts: 123
edited June 22 in Wolfpack Sports

While I see the logic behind the Supreme Court's decision, it is the end of any sort of "amateur" status within college athletics and from here out the rich will only get richer:


I know that amateurism has always been more of a "fig leaf" than anything in college athletics, but the NCAA's rules also helped to level the playing field somewhat. Now, it's just going to be strictly a money-driven race to the top (or bottom) with no real hope for schools that wish to keep some sort of balance between athletics and academics. It is the end of an era - and I don't think the world just became a better place. (Just my two-cents-worth.)



  • Vawolf82Vawolf82 Posts: 1,208PFN Referee

    Not behind a pay wall:


    The decision allows schools to provide their athletes with unlimited compensation as long as it is some way connected to their education.

    I'm not sure that this ruling will have an immediate impact on the two revenue sports. But it could really throw a wrench into other sports:

    NCAA D1 baseball programs are allowed to offer a maximum of 11.7 athletic scholarships, which can be divided up among a maximum of 27 players. A D1 player on scholarship must receive a minimum scholarship of 25% of the total cost of attendance. A full scholarship includes tuition, fees, books, room, and board.

    I still have my soul, so I can't be a lawyer. But I don't see how the NCAA can mandate partial scholarships for any sport after this ruling. However, this issue will shake out just like the aftermath of Title IX ruling. Look for another round of schools slashing certain sports so that they can fund the remaining.

  • skitchwolfskitchwolf Posts: 123

    Sorry about the paywall thingy! I didn't realize since I am subscribed to the N&O. Thanks for the open link!

  • Pack78Pack78 Posts: 786

    At what point will the NCAA even be relevant in the not-so-distant future? Is it not a dinosaur looking squarely at extinction?

  • choppack1choppack1 Posts: 2,578

    I think this ruling is the beginning of the poop hitting the fan. You can’t make hundreds of millions and pay your highest producing “amateur” athletes the same thing. (Hint: look at the salaries of the various coaches across an athletic program to get an idea of where your real revenue stream is.)

    Oddly enough, the NCAA’s best hope for maintaining the illusion of amateurism were academic reforms like Prop-48, limited TV time and Title 9. But the universities, athletic departments and conferences couldn’t help themselves. They embraced sports and created a model where 2 sports funded entire athletic departments. Title 9 created a ton of women competing for those volleyball, soccer and other athletic scholarships now offered and help sustain the “travel club” model as parents chased scholarships to handle an increasingly costly education.

    This is where worlds collide. The majority of college sports hemorrhage money. Men’s basketball and football make money and that’s it. Title 9 says you can’t have a men’s basketball player making 150k (which would be totally fair) and have a women’s field hockey player just getting a scholarship.

    Look for a lot of men’s sports to be cut now. I suspect the NCAA will try to keep the model and maintain their relevance. You will see most schools have 3-4 men’s sports. The women’s teams will have the same scholarship allocation as the men, which means you will have like 10 women’s sports.

    Going to be real interesting. I mean, can you offer a scholarship and say “that’s title 9 compliance” and give big contracts to the athletes who produce the gains?

  • Vawolf82Vawolf82 Posts: 1,208PFN Referee

    Going to be real interesting. I mean, can you offer a scholarship and say “that’s title 9 compliance” and give big contracts to the athletes who produce the gains?

    IIUC, that argument is further down the road. This narrow ruling merely said that the NCAA couldn't prevent a school from covering all educational expenses of an athlete; without defining exactly what constitutes an allowable expense. There's nothing that I saw about direct cash payments to students (yet).

    I've seen talking heads throw around the "fact" that a full scholarship doesn't cover all of a student's expenses. However, I've yet to read an article that describes exactly what isn't being covered by a full scholarship. But that issue aside, it appears obvious that the partial scholarship sports are facing big changes.

  • choppack1choppack1 Posts: 2,578

    I agree. To me, the big issue is “internships”. This is a great way to pay that highly rated athlete a ton of $$.

    My opinion is that the NCAA and universities are hoping they can tip toe back to their trough once the NIL kicks in.

  • Vawolf82Vawolf82 Posts: 1,208PFN Referee

    It just occurred to me that the SC decision doesn't force any school to cover the full educational expenses, just that the NCAA can't interfere with schools that want to cover the "full" expenses.

    So suppose that a school wants women's tennis (as an example), but can only afford to give each player 1/2 scholarship. The schools are still free to do half-scholarships, but obviously won't be able to out-recruit a school that is giving full scholarships. Thus another divide between the haves and have-nots.

    Let's see how long it is before the talking-heads figure out that some schools are spending millions on pre-season basketball tournaments (both men and women) at the same time that they are cutting non-revenue sports.

  • MikePack89MikePack89 Posts: 248

    I see this as the end of the NCAA and college sports as we know it. As I understand it, Title IX says we have to give equally to the men and women. So if we are giving 85 football players $X we also have to give $X to 85 ladies. Not saying the ladies dont deserve equal treatment - but just from a numbers perspective that will be virtually impossible to make equal.

    The scholarship was the equalizer because in theory it costs the same for either M or F to attend (and I use the word attend loosely for UNCHeat) classes and get a degree. But if we start paying additional funds for likeness and image no way we can do it equitably. Imagine PR or RW and what we could/should "pay" them. Now how do we make that equal?

  • choppack1choppack1 Posts: 2,578

    MP89 - Personally, I don’t think it’s fair for an athlete who is a starter on a team a team that earns millions in revenue receives the same compensation as an athlete who barely contributes on a team that costs the university lots of money. People have a funny definition of fairness. (I am not saying you do. You seem to understand that some athletes earn lots of money for the school, others do not.)

    Look, we have 2 ethical choices here: (1) Treat these athletes like all other students other than an athletic scholarship and create a system that doesn’t result in tons of money generated or (2) Compensate the college athletes their worth as determined by a free market.

    It’s become clear to me the NCAA hopes to avoid the justified wrecking ball of their “business model” by allowing athletes to make money by NIL.

  • Vawolf82Vawolf82 Posts: 1,208PFN Referee


  • AdventurooAdventuroo Posts: 3,858

    Name Image Likeness…..or that is what I think it means…..as in MJ’s jump

  • TexpackTexpack Posts: 3,491

    Hookers and blow come to mind as previously unreimbursed expenses. This is the beginning of the end. D1 football will be back to around 45 schools in 10 years. Other schools will go all in on hoops. The rich SEC and BIG will get richer. We’d better win in Omaha this year, because any chance we have at winning a Natty is rapidly disappearing with the money model on the way in. Look for pay toilets at CF to cover the costs of “transportation “ for the starting QB.

  • ryebreadryebread Posts: 2,980PFN Referee

    Ehh... That goose got killed a long time ago for the eggs. The NCAA and the member institutions not only allowed it to happen, but made it happen -- and that includes NC State. I honestly could not care less if the whole thing blows up.

    I agree with the Supreme Court's ruling as well as the language in the Roberts' write up that so many places are citing. Show me another centralized, tax exempt, multi-billion dollar industry in the USA that is allowed to exist based entirely based on virtually free labor. The only things you'll come up with are all in some way illegal or tied to religion.

    Heck, if I were the NCAA and the pot got too hot, I would petition to make sports recognized as a religion. I would bet there are many in this country who are more zealous about their football teams than they are their religion.

  • Vawolf82Vawolf82 Posts: 1,208PFN Referee

    It’s become clear to me the NCAA hopes to avoid the justified wrecking ball of their “business model” by allowing athletes to make money by NIL.

    The NCAA business model is straight communism....take from those that can generate income (FB and men's BB) and give to those that cannot. Everyone here knows that FB and men's BB pays for the entire athletic dept budget....both scholarships and salaries for AD personnel (including unbelievable salaries for even mediocre coaches). Increasing "educational" scholarship expenses for the schools (which is all the recent SC decision covers) will have to be offset either by increasing revenue (ie collecting more from FB/BB fans) or by cutting expenses.

    NIL issues (thanks 'Roo) are a battle for another day. The ramifications from NIL payouts aren't on us yet, but will dramatically shift things....but I'm not sure exactly how.

  • turkeydanceturkeydance Posts: 239

    well, we now have an NC EDUCATION Lottery, and gambling will rescue colleges.

    if the NCAA survives, they will need to move the HQ to Las Vegas.

  • choppack1choppack1 Posts: 2,578

    VaWolf - it’s PRC’s version of communism. You have lots of folks making fortunes. But it relies heavily on fixed labor costs and regulators.

  • ryebreadryebread Posts: 2,980PFN Referee

    I tend to agree, and think that Title 9 was one of the things done to try and keep that corrupt business model going.

    The reality is that the dawn of the modern day version of the amateurism push was done to deny people the ability to sue from permanent physical damages (e.g. paralysis) from playing football. It is less about the labor than the massive liability that comes with that game. And like gladiatorial combat 2000 years ago, football is the most popular thing.

    Blow the whole thing up, shut down football and get back to real students having intramural competition. The pros can develop their own minor leagues like they do everywhere else.

  • whitefangwhitefang Posts: 158


    Probably I’m crazy, but this may be the end of college athletics as we know it today. I found it hard to argue with the SC’s ruling, and I think Justice Kavanaugh’s concurring opinion was particularly telling for the future. “To be sure, the NCAA and its member colleges maintain important traditions that have become part of the fabric of America…But those traditions alone cannot justify the NCAA’s decision to build a massive money-raising enterprise on the backs of student athletes who are not fairly compensated. Nowhere else in America can businesses get away with agreeing not to pay their workers a fair market rate.”

    Here’s where I’m coming from. We have heard increasing rumblings for the last few years of college athletic money vastly outweighing college academic money. Coaches making millions more than deans, assistant coaches more than professors, NCAA executives more than academic accreditation auditors, athletic facilities’ upgrades and dorms run down, athletes not really part of the student body, etc. I myself have, perhaps due to the decades long ineptitude of my alma mater’s athletic programs, pondered what is the purpose of a university - education or entertainment? Should I really care more about State’s football team than I do it’s engineering program?

    If this opens the door for paying players, heck recruiting them with guaranteed $s based on talent and ability, this will truly make the Power 5 just divisions of an NFL, NBA minor league and that will become impossible to “hide.” How long will the “academic” side of supposedly top universities-Stanford, Duke, Cal, UVa, Michigan, and even our beloved NC State allow the name of an EDUCATIONAL institution be plastered all over a PROFESSIONAL sports franchise?

  • skitchwolfskitchwolf Posts: 123

    I started this thread but I confess that I am not sure where college sports will end up. Clearly, it's going to change. As Whitefang noted immediately above, it seems the logical conclusion that we will end up with (effectively) professional sports teams that are attached to the colleges by name only. OH, I guess the kids might still attend some classes if they want to since the vast majority of them will never draw a paycheck in the NFL or NBA - but they will not likely be the "stars" of the teams.

    Personally, I would like to see the ACC walk away from the new "professional" model and just have kids playing who were admitted to the school under the same rules as every other student and they would have to abide by the same academic rules, as well. Further, there would be no athletic scholarships, etc. It would, effectively, be sort of like "club" sports. The Ivy League has operated like that forever. I don't really care that the quality of play wouldn't be up to what they do in the SEC or the B1G. It's always been about "bragging rights" anyway.

    Do I think that will happen? NOPE. Way too much money on the line...

  • Vawolf82Vawolf82 Posts: 1,208PFN Referee

    How long will the “academic” side of supposedly top universities-Stanford, Duke, Cal, UVa, Michigan, and even our beloved NC State allow the name of an EDUCATIONAL institution be plastered all over a PROFESSIONAL sports franchise?

    This is an easy one....as long as the AD at least breaks even. A successful sports program is an unbelievably effective advertising program for the school. Don't believe it? My VT co-workers talk about how applications there took off after the Vick years (and pre-dog apocalypse). Or even Appy State on my end of the Old North State.

    Here's one last example. In my day, when you submitted SAT scores to a school you found out where you would have placed into the previous year's freshman class. I was accepted at both NC State and UNC and my ranking was much higher at UNC. After Michael Jordan, the applications at UNC soared thus letting them take only the higher ranked kids. So for a good while, UNC has had the highest average SAT score in the UNC system.

    Bottom line....Sports sell.

  • choppack1choppack1 Posts: 2,578

    Rye - I agree with a lot of your post, but don’t necessarily agree on the motivation being to avoid liability.

    Regardless of the motivations of Title 9, it basically required that these programs turn into the revenue generators they are today - and reinforced the “amateur “ myth of ALL college sports.

    WF - like you, I see a reckoning coming. The reality is that P5 universities and their cronies were happy to collect this “blood money” and redistribute it to programs won’t generating as much revenue. Now, those same programs complain about their weight room and accommodations. There’s a price for not living to the values they espouse (education and true amateurism) while embracing a flawed money making model.

    It’s a shame because things like the CWS and the women’s ACC tournament and practically every other college sport have it - and it’s present in almost ALL of of athletes in ALL oof our programs.

    Again, the fix is easy. These universities need to decide what they really are. I am afraid they already have.

  • I don't have a problem with the revenue sports helping fund the nonrevenue. Ultimately, the schools decide if they can afford or not to operate X number of sports and offer scholarships in those. And I think what COVID has taught us is that there's plenty of fat that can be cut, including salaries.

    The problem is a simple one. Too many athletic departments overspend on operating cost and not services. The benefits accruing to the consumers (fans/alums) and operators far exceed what's given to those the programs are intended to benefit, the students and student athletes. Rule 1 of nonprofit management: if your operating costs are way out of proportion to your services and mission, you got problems.

    I think we ultimately will see some type of federal legislation. I don't know what it will look like or when it will come, but I think its on the way. Too many hands in the cookie jar to blow it up. Too many problems not to try and address. The courts cannot fix it.

  • choppack1choppack1 Posts: 2,578
    edited June 23

    GHG - they overspend because they are flush with money. This is the type of behavior that happens when you can’t profit from your product. You pay those whom you can legally.

    This isn’t a case where the consumer is getting outrageous benefits - they aren’t. I actually can’t think of anyone who gets screwed over more in the current system than someone who pays for season tickets for the revenue sports.

    Title 9 also restricts what a school can do.

    I don’t mind using some of the money to fund non-revenue sports at all. I do mind a model that compensates one’s biggest producers roughly the same as those whose efforts don’t have nearly the same effect on the bottom line.

    Now, if a school wants to turn around and treat everyone as students first and foremost and not maximize their profits in athletics, then by all means, funding should be equal. This means doing things like charging paying customers much less. It means scheduling your games when it’s best for your students. It means less national travel, and it means severing TV contracts.

  • TexpackTexpack Posts: 3,491

    I know that the references above regarding athletes not being fairly compensated are about revenue sports. I would argue that athletes in non-revenue sports aren’t being “fairly” compensated either. There are a whole lot more of those athletes than there are on the other side. The model was developed to cap costs for revenue sport athletes in order to fund non-revenue sports and at least try to avoid athletic department subsidies directly from the taxpayers in the case of public universities. Private schools obviously don’t have to worry about that. Title 9 doesn’t work well at all in the dollar bill model. Lots of minor sports are going away for good in order to fund the “full cost” of the revenue sports. I’d be fine with going Ivy League rather than trying to hire cheaper prima donnas than everyone else.

  • MikePack89MikePack89 Posts: 248

    Yes we are in agreement. A starter bring in far more revenue/notoriety to the school and should be compensated more than the bench warmer. BUT.......where do you draw the line? Bama can afford to pay more, Klempsun can afford to pay more - will little ol' NC State ever again get a 5-star recruit? In this system the rich will get richer and the poor will slide even further.

    This is why for years I have said we go back to Ivy and hold tryouts for all student. We will still root for the Pack, they're still our team even if the competition and quality level goes down a notch.

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