There was an announcement today that EA Sports isn’t going to produce NCAA Football 15, so it seems 14 years of trading on college kids likeness and capabilities is enough. I didn’t read the entire thing but apparently they’ve settled a lawsuit or two. Good for them.
The announcement and lawsuits have brought up pay for play in college, yet again. The academic answer is that these kids are getting an education and that answer isn’t wrong. However, in that equation the University is extracting way more value from the kids than the kids are receiving. It’s not a 100% but take the average amount an undergraduate should make in their career, less the average amount they’ll give as an alumnus/ae and subtract that from the total brand value of each university and the difference will be staggeringly in favor of the Universities. Especially major Universities who sell a lot of jerseys and have the big TV rights.
Paying them to play seems wrong. It’s the purest answer but it is still college.
Why not a compromise? Pay the kids a good salary based on some developmental league amount, BUT it’s banked in a trust minus a living wage / stipend. The athletes can then take from the trust once they’ve left college and the amount they can take is based on the percentage of classes they’ve passed. Finish with a degree – you get 100%; finish with an advanced degree – maybe you get 110%. Leave after your 1st year you get at most 25%.
The solution solves a few issues. First, it encourages the kids to stay in school and actually go to class. Second, it encourages the schools to actually teach them rather than scheduling the kids 12 hours of PE. I’m sure there are some issues with this plan, but it’s a hell of a lot better than what I’m hearing suggested today.
Long run, the kids are going to get their money so why not setup a system that encourages them to participate in college while rewarding them for their skills? We should try to manage the issue, rather than putting our heads in the sand.