Landmark ruling alters NCAA landscape for football and men’s basketball

The era of the term ‘student-athlete’ is over.



Thanks to a ruling on Thursday by U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken, we as fans can now start thinking (finally) of the NCAA games we attend and watch as ‘athlete-students.’

Rather than get into the gritty details, here are the basic things that we do know:

  1. Players could be compensated as much as $20,000 when their eligibility runs out for use of their names, images, and likenesses in all forms of print and electronic media.
  2. The per year trust fund established by the Power 5 conferences (ACC, SEC, Big 10, Big 12, and Pac 12) will be capped at $5,000.  Obviously, each school will have some different needs.  With the mid-majors still hoping to have some autonomy as soon as the 2015-2016 school year, the archaic model that the NCAA enjoyed for several years is no more.
  3. Think of the NCAA going forward as a mini version of what we see every two years during the Olympic Games.  There, athletes usually get endorsements after taking their place on the medals stand.  Yes, college athletes cannot still endorse products while enrolled at school.
  4. Getting back briefly on the second point, the mid-majors lifeblood is of course helping fund the NCAA Tournament.  Will this mean the greatest tournament of the world could resemble that one hilarious scene in the movie Baseketball where 256 schools and four zany named regions took up way more than space than what Dan Patrick and Kenny Mayne were trying to describe to cable audiences?
  5. Look for trial lawyers to bring up Title IX.  I hear you loud and clear, ladies.  You deserve a fair piece of this pie as well.
  6. Football and basketball players could still be paid with a stipend to help defray with part of their tuition, room & board, and costs for books, but the traditional model that the NCAA enjoyed for many decades has gone the way of most of your favorite print magazines that no longer have a wide subscriber base.  Everything is all about online/social media and getting instant gratification.
  7. The Power 5 has greater autonomy, to a point.  When it comes time to enact revised or newer legislation for each school and conference, a few students and faculty members will be a full part of the process instead of just the usual school presidents and athletic directors.  You can learn more about the revised models here:
  8. In a separate ruling, the remaining states who have Confederate symbols on their flags like Mississippi and South Carolina can officially host NCAA tournaments in three sports:  baseball, softball, and lacrosse.
  9. Although an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court appears unlikely, most legal and political experts feel that maybe someday Congress again could enact more tightening and regulations regarding how athlete-students will participate in NCAA sanctioned events to be on, “a level-playing field.”
  10. Yes, it is a shame that the rest of the student bodies at large are all going to be crying foul about this ruling:  “What about us?”  “Where is our fair shake?”  In the end, folks–as Neil Diamond reminded us years ago in his famous “Forever in Blue Jeans” song:

Money Talks

It don’t sing and dance and it don’t walk

It will also be very interesting to see how CBS and the cable networks, in particular ESPN, SEC Network, BTN, Pac 12, and Fox Sports One handle key moments when there might be a natural stoppage in play and there is no commercial playing.

Will we as fans come 2015-2016 and beyond simple perceive this watershed moment as a new chapter, or the biggest change not seen in over four decades?  One thing that will happen, expect more conference realignment.  At least, it is comforting to know that at least keeps their alphabetical lists of each school in every conference for easy, one-stop access.

The rest of the story, stick around and find out.


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