California passed the bill allowing student-athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness. It left the NCAA perplexed. Something was going to change. But most people thought it would end with the NCAA trying to sue California over the bill.
The NCAA then shocked the country. Instead of rebelling, it voted to allow student-athletes to benefit off their likeness.
Except it didn’t.
The NCAA’s ruling opened the gates for the three divisions to create rules to allow student-athletes to benefit off their name, image and likeness. It has several principles and guidelines for the division to follow that preach fairness, but there’s one line that sticks out. The divisions must create rules “in a manner consistent with the collegiate model.”
What does that mean?
That’s open the interpretation. Sports law expert Peter Goplerud said it’s the way the NCAA will try to maintain amateurism.
It’s a slippery slope because it brings up the question: how do student-athletes get paid without violating the core beliefs of amateurism?
Here’s one solution: many people believe the “Olympic model” is the best way to go about it.
The Olympic model would allow student-athletes to benefit off their name, image and likeness without direct compensation. In the Olympic model, the money that’s acquired would be put into a trust fund and couldn’t be used until the student graduates and/or heads to the pros.
“The Olympic model seems to be the one that is best,” ESPN college basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla said. “That is to allow the athlete to accrue money for his talent, to do endorsements, the use of image and likeness. And to put it in escrow for when he leaves college so we can maintain some sense of amateurism. Amateurism is a very malleable term these days when it comes to college sports.”
People who are against paying student-athletes don’t have a problem with the money, as much as the effects. It’s not that they don’t want student-athletes to be compensated, it’s the complications it would cause.
Fraschilla said paying student-athletes directly would cause issues that the Olympic model could solve.
“There are so many unanswered questions regarding who will supervise this and coordinate this on each campus,” Fraschilla said. “Are the student-athletes going to be taxed? Are they going to have workmen’s compensation? I think this is all very confusing. I think the Olympic model is the simplest way that student-athletes can benefit from their talent and yet the NCAA can maintain some form of amateurism.”
Implementing the Olympic model is a simple fix, but it’s one that could ease the worries of many.
“I think that’s the best model right now,” Fraschilla said. “And I’m not an expert in this area but I think the NCAA will bend dramatically in the direction of allowing elite student-athletes to benefit.”