Yesterday, the NCAA finally decided to join a fair market structure by unanimously voting to allow "student"-athletes to be compensated for their likeness, ingenuity, or sponsorship. To deny them was never credible for me to begin with. However, to continue to deny them at this point after the California bill and the growing intrigue across the country at both the state and federal levels, would have been needlessly stupid.
The model currently employed by college sports to generate billions of dollars without having to compensate anyone, in my opinion, was paramount to fraud or theft. This was indentured servitude in the 21st Century. For years, I have maintained that both College Football and Basketball were the equivalent of either baseball's minor league system or lower tier soccer leagues in Europe and South America with one big distinction: none of the workforce, talent, or entertainment was compensated for their value. Now, with one fell swoop, we start to look at a better future for college athletes.
Imagine former athletes like Johnny Manziel, Marcus Mariota, Ron Dayne, Ralph Sampson, JJ Reddick, etc., who are huge college stars with lackluster professional careers. Why were they unfortunate that all their best performances were at a different level. Shouldn't they have gotten at least a part of the value they brought to their respective schools, conferences, and the NCAA even far after their playing days are gone?
Moreover, I truly believe this is actually healthy for college sports especially football and basketball. It takes away the scandalous crap that was dragging on some of the biggest programs, and made us wonder which big school was next; it may bring back the few stars that decided to go abroad for monetary reasons (although I concede this was not a huge number), and it gives potential stars more options to possibly stay in school longer to develop. Obviously, Zion Williamson is going to take the league by force because he was clearly NBA ready. However, do we really believe that Cam Reddish and RJ Barrett couldn't have used another year or two under one of the greatest coaches in any sport in Mike Krzyzewski? Imagine last year's Duke basketball team with Zion, RJ, Reddish, Gary Trent, Trevon Duval, Luke Kennard, Frank Jackson, and Harry Giles if they didn't need to go immediately to the NBA for financial reasons. Now we would get the real titanic matchups that were legendary in the 80s and 90s. The same could go for Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma, or Ohio State football.
Thus, kudos NCAA, you finally started to get this right!