Big Ten’s Delany on athlete pay, likenesses
by Bob Kravitz, USA TODAY Sports
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — The challenges are coming. It’s Johnny Manziel allegedly selling his autograph, raising questions whether the NCAA should go to an Olympic model that lets athletes make money off their fame. It’s the Ed O’Bannon court case, which, with billions of dollars in the balance, will almost certainly be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court.
Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany hears the loud drumbeat for massive reform, notes the threats internally and externally, but after 25 years of running the conference, he remains a steadfast adherent of the larger status quo.
True, he’d like to see some tweaks in the system, notably a rise in the cost-of-attendance dollars athletes receive, but big picture, Delany, like most big-conference commissioners, wants to see the system maintained.
That is, a system that enriches the schools, the administrators and the conferences and pays its athletes with a scholarship.
On the macro level, I agree with Delany, who visited Bloomington on Tuesday as part of his preseason Big Ten tour: Athletes are fairly remunerated with a scholarship. The idea that they are somehow exploited by the big, bad system diminishes the value and importance of a free college education. If these young people are exploited, I wish my two college-going daughters would be similarly exploited, thus saving me the bother of filling out FAFSA and Sallie Mae student-loan forms every semester.
“My line is cost of attendance, and that’s as far as I’m willing to go,” Delany said. “After cost of attendance, then I think you’re into another game, pay for play, and I’m personally not in favor of it.”
Anyway: How much should athletes be paid? Where would the money come from? How would you decide how much to pay the team’s star quarterback as opposed to the third-string long snapper? Or the big-time power forward on the men’s basketball team versus a female rower?
What kinds of repercussions would all this have on Title IX, the federal guidelines regarding equitable women’s athletics?
Show me something equitable and workable. Until then, it’s a non-starter.
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