So California passed a law that said college athletes can make money off their likeness. I am not exactly sure of the name of the law, as I am not a lawyer. The NCAA has threatened to ban California colleges, at least according to someone I was casually talking too about this. I wasn’t really paying attention to details, because I know where this all ends. Think of the dog in the cafe meme with fire all around. I want to believe “This is fine.”
However, Jason Candle chimed in, and he is right. This came off of Toledo media magnate Jordan Strack’s twitter feed. So now I felt compelled to throw in my 2 cents, though not to any current players.
"I don't think it's right that a young man's jersey can get sold for millions of dollars, and he doesn't get a dime for it. I don't think that's right."— Jordan Strack (@JordanStrack) September 30, 2019
-Toledo Football Coach Jason Candle pic.twitter.com/rRm0j0PRPV
First off, let me say I agree with coach Candle. It is not right that billions are being made and the kids are receiving very little. Second, it was inevitable that this was the route college athletics would take. Third, it starts the domino effect that will kill college athletics as we know it.
The simple fact is legal adults making millions of dollars are no longer kids. Even though they technically are not being paid to play, that is not how the little voices in most people’s heads will see it. All the sudden, little Johnny doesn’t get a pass for having an off game because he is just a college kid. The fans will call for him to be fired before he boards the plane back home. The fans will not longer be content to watch a bunch of lopsided contests. You’ll hear people says things like, “We don’t pay these kids to lose by 45 to Michigan.” Of course “we” aren’t paying anyone, but again that is not how it is going to play out in most people’s mind.
Meanwhile, the NFL is watching and waiting. As the mood of the nation shifts to NCAA football being seen as professional football, they will make sure everyone knows it is inferior professional football. That old gentlemen’s agreement made to keep the best players in college, at least for 3 years, as been a thorn in the NFL’s side ever since they felt compelled to do so, because college football was king. Times have changed.
Just look at the MAC if you want to see how it all plays out. There was a time when all the colleges were kind of on the same playing field. Nebraska played Lincoln High School as late as 1905. Ohio State lost to Oberlin in 1921. Eventually, there was a shift that separated college athletics, and the minor schools are now struggling financially. They generally need to line up for the slaughter of their superior brethren for a million dollar paycheck just to keep solvent. If it wasn’t for conference affiliation, even some of the little big schools would be in a world of hurt. Sure, some of the “little” schools with bigger fan bases are doing just fine, but overall the picture is bleak.
And that is what is going to happen to major college athletics. The NFL will get the minor league they have always wanted. The very best and brightest will be offered deals that will mean many of the best of the future will never see a college field. The lesser major schools will dwindle and die, and only the biggest and best will be clinging to the old memories. I hope you fans of the Michigan/Ohio State rivalry enjoy watching it on a Tuesday night in 2050.
As for the MAC, I really don’t know how it is going to play out. Will the million dollar paydays dry up because the major powers are trying to get more big name match-ups to compete with the NFL? Will there be a surge in talent because players on the bench will only be paid at the top colleges, and not the Purdues and Minnesotas of the world? Will some fans flock to “real” college football where the players still don’t make much? I am not sure, but I am sure the times, they are a-changin.