After thoroughly analyzing the topic of compensating college athletes from every angle, I have come to the conclusion that the NCAA's new proposal to increase scholarships was a long-overdue move to increase scholarship amounts to the actual full cost of attendance. Any worries that the move will have a negative impact on smaller schools are overblown, as those schools are not being forced to implement it, and if they do not, the gap in scholarship amounts should not have a big impact on recruiting. Small-conference schools already had to make due with less "highly-touted" recruits even before the new legislation, so there will not be any new burden on these schools as a result of the new legislation.
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On the other hand, I have determined that student-athletes should not be paid beyond the scholarships they receive. The "pay for play" doctrine would not be feasible from a business perspective because of the exponential increase in costs for the NCAA it would bring that would threaten the financial viability of the NCAA. Moreover, suggestions that only football and men's basketball players should be paid would not work because of Title IX, and even if it were declared exempt from Title IX, it would lead to the extinction of the NCAA. College football and basketball would simply become a minor league system for the pros, and every other NCAA sanctioned sport would not have the funding to exist. This would be detrimental for society, specifically because many athletes who play the other sports and whose only paths to college educations are through the scholarships they would receive as student-athletes would no longer have the opportunity to get a college education, which would have long term negative implications on society as a whole.
However, the issue of compensating athletes after they leave school is a completely separate issue. If the NCAA uses a student-athlete's image after they leave school, the athletes have a legal right to be compensated due to their "right of publicity." The court should rule in the O'Bannon case that either the former athletes are allowed to license their image independent of the NCAA, or that the NCAA may continue to use the likenesses of the players but they must provide the former players with compensation. However the court decides in the case, the ruling will have a profound impact on the future of not only the NCAA but also the NCAA's interaction with business and society. Likewise, much is at stake as pushes for the "pay for play" doctrine grow in intensity. Indeed, the very future of the NCAA hangs in the balance as the decisions are made on how student-athletes will be compensated in the future.
Want to read a more thorough outline of the three main hot topics concerning paying NCAA student-athletes? Check out my comprehensive 3-part series on the topic: