Paying College Athletes: How the NCAA's Rulings Could Affect You and Me

In a recent decision made by Judge Claudia Wilken of the United States District Court in Oakland, California, it was ruled that the NCAA must allow colleges to pay athletes. The repercussions of this verdict could be devastating.

The courts rebuked a long-standing pillar of the NCAA when they issued an injunction to allow schools to compensate athletes for their names and images being used in video games and television broadcasts.

Wilken's decision will effectually pay college athletes with money generated from television contracts that will be stored in a trust fund and then given to the players once they graduate.

This ruling comes on the heels of the NCAA Board of Governors' vote to grant autonomy Thursday to the five biggest revenue-producing FBS conferences—the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC—and Notre Dame (just join a conference already, Notre Dame, c'mon). The move is expected to give increased benefits to players, and marks a historic day in intercollegiate athletics for all intents and purposes.

Enough of that silly pandering. If you have read this far I laude you and your moral courage. Let's try to break this down from the perspective of your average student.

Money comes from TV deals. TV deals come from a team performing well enough to earn TV contracts. And performing well enough to earn TV contracts comes from players.

So, the NCAA ruled that college athletes can be paid. It is estimated that some college athletes could earn hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of their four years of eligibility.

Cool. I'll be over here wondering if my lousy summer job can help me look less unattractive to potential employers someday. Maybe I too can make hundreds of dollars. Oh wait, these athletes would be making hundreds OF THOUSANDS of dollars.

Andre Williams, #44. Photo courtesy of flickr / Ken Kraetzer.

Andre Williams, #44. Photo courtesy of flickr / Ken Kraetzer.

Yes, I understand that my situation is far different from that of someone like Andre Williams, who, despite his Heisman-worthy season that put BC football back on the map, will never reap the benefits of this new system.

However, many of these kids are already at school with full scholarships and do not have a care in the world about making ends meet to help pay for their education, medical costs or meal plans. So now, on top of all that, they're going to get stipends from their schools.

I am not a college athlete, so this doesn't really affect me... Or does it? Comparing the landscapes of college recruiting before and after the NCAA rulings may say otherwise.

Before, a highly touted high school athlete who was guaranteed a full scholarship to college used ancillary factors like "campus size," "geographic location," and "sense of community" to determine where he would play his four years of eligibility.

Do those factors sound familiar? They should, because until now they have been staples of the college decision. High school students of every level of intellectual and athletic ability have considered these dynamics and more when deciding which institution to attend.

Photo courtesy of The Gavel.

Fulton - a possible factor for prospective CSOM students to consider. Photo courtesy of The Gavel.

Now, these prospective college athletes will have one more thing to consider, and that is their potential monetary payout after four years of playing for "X" College. I don’t know about you, but I'm pretty sure another $50,000 would help me change my mind on just about any decision.

Let's say that Texas Tech offers you a full football scholarship and the chance to live in apartment-styling housing all four years. But, Texas A&M is offering an extra boatload of cash after your four years, along with everything Texas Tech offered. I'm pretty sure that decision makes itself for just about any high school athlete contemplating where to spend his college years.

To review:

- The NCAA has allowed FBS football programs of the top five conferences to make their own rules.

- The NCAA has allowed colleges to pay athletes.

You don't need an economic statistician to help you realize that what the NCAA has just created is an all-out bidding war among these FBS programs. The schools with the most money will be able to attract better players more easily than they could have before any of these rulings. So the rich plan to get richer thanks to Judge Wilken.

Let the school with the most funding devoted to college football win... That's how the saying goes, right?

The NCAA is going to "enforce abuse in the payment system," but that will be awfully hard to do in any of the five conferences that now have the ability to make their own rules. Nice move, NCAA.

We must remember that tuition goes up every year, and that the onus as to how that money is divvied up is on the school. So, BC's English Department won't lose funding to help Coach Addazio recruit players by promising them a nice payday after four years. They just might not gain funding, with the school electing to spend their increased funding towards helping secure the next Robert Griffin III.

The trickle-down effect of this means that our increased tuition is going towards funding a better football team at the possible expense of academia.

So now, all of a sudden, this does affect me. And it affects you.

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Jake Miller