The . states clearly that athletes are to be like any other student. Yet the association involves the athlete in such a heavily commercialized, multibillion dollar endeavor, that it ends up restricting the athlete from any college benefit beyond a scholarship. No other person within a university community is so restricted. Amateurism provides no benefit to the athlete, neither enhancing his education nor making him a better person. The Olympics began taking amateurism out of its charter in the 1970s, yet the . holds onto it as a cherished ideal. Money is not the problem in college sports. The problem is that the athlete is restricted from making any.
It is not immoral for the . to make money off of athletics. But it is profoundly immoral for the . to restrict athletes from receiving compensation while everyone else profits. Athletes do not need to be paid by the university as employees. But barriers to athlete compensation outside of the university should be removed. There is a lot of area in between strict amateurism and “pay for play.” Athletes should be allowed to operate freely in that area, just like every other student.
I think organizations like the NCAA and universities themselves have to recognize that the world has changed. But it may not be the discussion that you and I are talking about — paying student-athletes. It may be the support systems that we provide, the decisions that we make. Fundamentally, though, we've got to start with the word "student." And my responsibility is to make certain that these students who came here to play sports get quality degrees and have real futures. But at the same time, if we're going to have national sports, national competitions, the playing field has to be even across the country.