The NCAA sports programs play a big part in the development of elite young athletes and open up the door to making it to the professional leagues. The majority of players that are drafted to pros are selected based on their performance in the NCAA. The MLB, NFL and NBA draft almost all of their players form NCAA teams with the exception of a few that come from international leagues and the very rare high school player in the NBA that gets an exemption. Players like Lebron James and Kobe Bryant but they are few and very far between. In fact, the high school player can no longer be drafted based on draft eligibility rules changing in 2005.
The NCAA has long been the focal point of some very serious debates. The sports programs have been filled with controversy, corruption and endless allegations of wrongdoing by athletic programs and players. One of the biggest debates in recent years is the argument about whether or not NCAA players should be compensated. The argument is based on the fact that the NCAA and the school make an incredible amount of money through these sports programs. The amount of money brought in through ticket sales, TV contracts and merchandise sales is astronomical. Many feel that the NCAA is taking advantage of its players because that money is not being shared with the players.
There are many people that feel that NCAA players should be compensated for playing. If the schools and league are making that much money then the players should get a piece of the pie since they are the ones that are the product. There is also the flip side of the argument where people talk about the fact that players get compensated with a free education. Athletic scholarships allow players to go to school without paying the high priced tuition that comes with a college education. Unfortunately, the reality is that only a very small percentage of players get any type of scholarship or assistance with tuition at all.
the odds of winning an NCAA sports scholarship are miniscule. Only about 2 percent of high school athletes win sports scholarships every year at NCAA colleges and universities. Yes, the odds are that dismal. For those who do snag one, the average scholarship is less than $11,000.
Full-ride sports scholarships are scarce. There are only six sports where all the scholarships are full ride. These so-called head-count sports are football, men and women's basketball, and women's gymnastics, volleyball, and tennis. In these Division I sports, athletes receive a full ride or no ride. Source
This means that 98% of the players on NCAA teams are paying their own tuition and fees. It is only the elite of the elite that are getting the benefits of any type of compensation from the universities. Making matters worse is the fact that these NCAA players are not allowed to get paid in other ways either. They are not allowed to sign advertising deals or sponsorship deals with companies. The NCAA holds all the rights to these players and the profits that can be gained using their names. Players are willing to give this all up for that chance to make it to the next level. Getting drafted and signing a pro contract will make up for all the lost opportunity while they played in the NCAA.
It is just this issue that seems to be at the root of much of the corruption and shady dealings in the NCAA. There have been so many cases of teams being caught paying players through gifts and other means in order to secure the best players for your program. Having the best players means bringing notoriety and success to your sports program. Coaches, team sponsors and players are trying to find ways to get some type of financial remuneration for the efforts they are putting in for that school. The rules have put all parties involved in a situation where they are forced to look for ways to circumvent the rules to build teams.
The NBA has said on several occasions that they are not overly pleased with the shenanigans that seem to be a staple of college basketball. There have been lots of NBA players and officials that have said the NCAA should adopt a pay system for its players but nothing has changed. Since the introduction of the "one and done" rule for players to be draft eligible there are more and more underclassmen getting drafted to the NBA. These players are not even finishing anything close to a college degree and as stated above, very few of them are getting any kind of scholarship at all. The one and done opportunity for players to get into the NBA has created some lack of talent with upperclassmen in college programs and there has been concern about the quality of the college game. This week the NBA development league turned the knife a little more and the NCAA better take stock quickly.
Starting next year, the NBA's development league known as the G-League will now be offering a professional route for elite players coming out of high school. This means that those best of the best players that go to college and do the "one and done" will now have another option. The G-league is going to offer contracts to these young players as big as $125K per season. They will get to play with other elite players and develop in a league that will help them prepare for the rigours of the NBA. This is a massive development in the opportunities for elite young athletes and one that could spell the end of the NCAA as we know it. March Madness might never be the same. Imagine an NCAA where the absolute best players in the country just never enrol or play a single college game. The vision isn't pretty.
These contracts will be available to elite level prospects that are at least 18 years old meaning they will be draft eligible within a year. Now let me think about this for just a moment and I can tell you right now that it won't even take a moment for these kids and families to decide. I can't see any player who is offered this opportunity turning it down. They would be absolutely crazy to turn it down. These are the same players that are doing the one and done college experience and the reality is, it's not about the education that these guys will get. They are going to college for one year because they need to be 19 or have played a single NCAA season to get drafted. Now to have the chance to put $125K in their pocket and play with pro level players and actually be developed specifically for the NBA? Ummmmm YES YES YES!!!! They are going to be learning NBA style schemes and coaching. They are going to develop faster and get paid to do it.
The NCAA is at a crossroads here and the NBA has put them there. The long-fought argument about whether college players should get paid has come to a head and the NCAA is going to lose. The reality is, the NCAA is not going to start paying its players and they can not compete with $125K contracts for elite players. The sad part is that the NCAA has had more than enough time to deal with this issue and they have refused to budge. They could have come up with some way to start compensating players in order to build that trust and they chose not to. At his point, even if they do make the change, it is likely too late. This is not about education, it is about money! The NCAA is merely a stepping stone and one that players no longer have to engage with. This could spell the end of NCAA basketball as we know it.