NCAA college basketball rules are first step but don't address compensation


On Wednesday afternoon, the NCAA's Board of Governors and Division I Board of Directors dropped the mic on college basketball and the sports world.

After coming off a season that included an FBI investigation into the ugliness of the sport, the firing of a hall of fame coach (Rick Pitino), and investigations and subpoenas into multiple programs, an announcement was made that will see groundbreaking changes implemented into the sport.

People are happy, and the NCAA is taking a bow.

But don't get it twisted, because while this is awesome, the elephant in the room hasn't been addressed.

These kids still ain't getting paid.

While the announcement addresses an array of topics, here are the major things you should take away from it:

Basketball student-athletes can make up to 15 official visits which are paid for by colleges the summer before they begin their junior year of high school. However, they can only make one official visit to a single school per year.

Elite high school basketball players can be represented by an agent beginning July 1 before their senior year in high school. College basketball players can be represented by an agent after any basketball season if they request an evaluation from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee.

Agents can now also pay for meals, lodging, and transportation for players and their families if the expenses are related to the agent selection process.

College basketball players that participate in the NBA combine and aren't drafted can now return to school as long as they notify their athletics director of their intent by 5 p.m. the Monday after the draft.

Division I schools will be required to pay for tuition, fees, and books for basketball players who leave school and return later to the same school to earn their degree if they were on scholarship for at least two years and fewer than 10 years have passed since they left school.

Coaches and athletics staff must report income of more than $600 from any source outside their school. Examples include endorsement or consultation contracts with apparel companies, manufacturers, television or radio programs.

All of these things are great and will help clean up the sport in a major way. It's even fair to say that this should have always been the model since the 90s when players started to leave college early.

But, for as good as all this feels right now in the moment, it still doesn't put any money into the pockets of the people who have made the NCAA a billion-dollar nonprofit organization.

The schools make money.

Coaches get paid.

Fans can bet on games.

And shoe companies make fortunes.

But yet, the players are still without the proper compensation for their services and aren't being allowed to be paid for the use of their likeness or make money off of their names.

Back in May, former Wisconsin star Nigel Hayes shared with the New York Daily News his two-step program that could fix the majority of the NCAA's problems.

"I would do away with the term impermissible benefits, and with that term no longer in use, these athletes are now allowed to accept money from any party that would like to give them some. If a booster wants to give them $5,000 because they had a great game, they're allowed to do that. If a local restaurant wants to give them dinner, they'd be allowed to do that. And by the same token, if they don't there's no harm, no foul."

"And through the use of that, colleges aren't looked at to try to finance this because you can no longer say, 'where's the money going to come from?' " Hayes explained. "If no one wants to give any player money, then they don't have to. If someone does, then they can and now the NCAA doesn't have to get involved. It wouldn't hurt small schools because the boosters and restaurants there could do what they want, or choose not to."

Under Hayes' plan, a student-athlete would also be allowed to make money by using his/her own image or likeness, which is something that should be a priority for the NCAA.

Ironically, the announcement was made a day after former McDonald's All-American and Louisville commit Brian Bowen signed with the Sydney Kings in Australia.

Coming out of high school, Bowen was the No. 14-ranked recruit in ESPN's Top 100 in 2017. However, Bowen's recruitment was a centerpiece of the FBI's early findings because his father allegedly was going to receive $100,000 to ensure he attended an Adidas-sponsored school like Louisville.

Bowen wound up never playing a game for Louisville and was ruled ineligible. Since then he has been cleared of all wrongdoings by the FBI and transferred to the University of South Carolina. But, he never played for the Gamecocks because he was still without an answer from the NCAA about his eligibility, which led to him putting his name into the 2018 NBA draft, where he went undrafted.

Somehow, Bowen wound up being the poster child of the FBI's investigation, along with Pitino, and the face of everything that's wrong with college basketball. All the while, it was the adults in the room that did the dirt, leaving a kid to be the one to suffer the consequences.

Bowen's situation, like countless others, involved money. Which is why as "great" as the NCAA's announcement is, I can't find the energy to celebrate it.

I'm not the type of person that applauds people for fixing a problem that never should have happened in the first place.

So, until the NCAA figures out a way to compensate student-athletes, I'll withhold any praise.


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