Steve Davis: Should NCAA Pay Athletes?
This was the question on Meet the Press Sunday and they had a star studded panel. Mark Emmertt, NCAA President, Arne Duncan, Education Secretary who played hoops at Harvard, and Reggie Love, who played at Duke and served on Obama’s staff.
No one came out and said, yes, the players need to make money since the NCAA is cashing in, although Love and Duncan thought there was more that the NCAA can do.
I think the fundamental question comes down to this: should the haves feed the have nots? By this I mean, is it okay to have a system where the best programs in men’s basketball and football basically pay for almost all of the other college sports, including the lesser football and basketball programs. To some extent, it’s like the wealthy paying the majority of the taxes in this country. That’s the way the system is set up.
For all the talk about whether players at Kentucky or Duke should get paid, remember this: the programs at Morgan and Towson and Loyola aren’t self-sustaining. They don’t make enough money to support themselves. My point is, this isn’t just football and basketball propping up golf and track and wrestling. The big programs in football and basketball also support most of the most other football and basketball programs.
If they decide to pay football and basketball players, they will have to wipe out not only a lot of other sports, but potentially other football and basketball programs that can’t afford to pay their players. The system may stink for the biggest and most successful programs, but it actually is good for probably more than 90% of the programs.