Serving Franklin County, WA

Worst Seat - Now I'm listening

Last year, the NCAA approved student-athletes being able to earn money for their name, image and likeness or NIL.

I think that a lot of fans thought it was a good idea since colleges and the NCAA were making huge amounts of money from the big time athletes showing off their talent in playing arenas and stadiums. So, if an athlete makes a few bucks doing a commercial, good for them.

With the transfer portal in place — certainly an offshoot of the COVID-19 pandemic — there have been a fair amount of athletes looking for greener pastures and one of the things they are looking for is NIL money and more perks. One athlete in particular was asking for a car, which one school said they couldn’t provide, so the young man transferred to a school that would provide one.

So now, the NCAA needs to rewrite the rules to keep booster money out of the NIL benefits. But what if a car dealer is paying an athlete money to do advertising for their business and just so happens to be a booster, is that a problem?

I’m sure most people can figure out that some athletes will do real well with the NIL and others not so much.

I’m okay with athletes making commercials for businesses. But the recruiting should not be negotiating what they can earn, but rather what course of study the student-athlete should follow.

I also believe the schools should teach these athletes the importance of saving and investing wisely.

Gonzaga’s Drew Timme signed with a popular casino in the Spokane area and made several hundred thousand dollars. But Timme is smart and is utilizing his mom’s expertise in the saving and investing realm which will bode well for him as he approaches professional play.

There are many others that won’t get that type of help and will splurge and spend on their friends and family and forget about having to pay taxes. It is vitally important to educate those athletes that have had very little in their lives to save for when they aren’t making big money because a lot of these athletes won’t finish their studies or receive a diploma that may not be worth very much.

And not all of them will have long professional careers.

We have come a long way since the NCAA allowed freshmen to play against anyone other than other freshmen. And it has also been a long while since the NCAA allowed players to enter the basketball and football draft without completing their senior year of eligibility. And yes we can argue if one and done is good for student-athletes. Certainly, making money beats having to complete an essay for American literature or doing a chemistry lab. So, today’s athletes put their name in the draft to see what they need to work on or what the interest level is and if it is more beneficial to come back to school.

Today’s student-athletes have a lot of choices to make and the rules have changed to the student athlete’s benefit. But these choices can also be detrimental for coaches trying to build a stable program.

In the last couple of years, we have seen highly successful coaches retire and not just because of age. Several have figured out that they may have trouble recruiting and keeping high profile athletes for 2-4 years.

They will often lose an athlete after one season if they are ready to play with the grown ups or not. Most of these coaches’ fun was watching a kid grow up and develop into a great athlete. Those days are mostly gone now.

The NCAA will need to rework these rules so that the major money making programs don’t always end up with the talent because there is big NIL money to be made. The NCAA needs to rework these protocols so that fans can get excited about a season of sports and not just the athlete’s next commercial.

Yes, we are listening NCAA.

— Dale Anderson is a sports columnist from Ritzville. To contact him, email [email protected].


Reader Comments(0)

Rendered 05/18/2024 18:33