The Answer to College Basketball’s “The Kids Need to be Paid” Problem Is Simpler Than You Think

williamson-zion-11152018-usnews-getty-ftr_1a9o0zyfrwo111k5994pdy93bu-01For a very long time, I was on the side of fighting for collegiate athletes to be compensated in some way. It’s a grand notion and let’s face it, universities across the nation are profiting from these young kids. It seems right for them to be cut in on a piece of the pie. But how do we figure out how much they get paid? Someone will cry foul no matter what. So I have come up with a solution to rectify all of this. If you don’t want to be victimized by the greed of the NCAA and waste time playing in college for free the answer is simple, don’t go.

I know what you’re thinking. “Where else can they go?”. Ummmm anywhere else. They can go overseas. They can go to the G League. There are a bevy of options for a top recruit coming out of high school to continue playing basketball without playing in college. It would be nice if someone started a league precisely to fill this void *coughs* Lavar Ball *coughs* but I digress. Can you imagine if Zion Williamson said “I’m taking my talents to the JBA.”? What do you think his 2.1 million followers on Instagram would have done? You guessed it, they would have gone to see him wherever he decided to play. The NCAA isn’t the only option for these guys. We have been conditioned and trained to believe that is the only avenue to reach the NBA. Let me tell you something, if some of these Blue Chip athletes and 5 Star recruits decided to pursue alternate routes to the league we’d see a shift. I believe ultimately we will start to see a change in this regard. Due to social media, players are becoming cultural phenomenons before they even sign a letter of intent. As soon as they all realize these schools need them much more than they will ever need the school, the revolution will come. And it will be televised, streamed, retweeted and downloaded. Coach K is the highest paid employee on Duke’s entire staff. How do you think that came to be? Why do you think coaches recruit? Because they NEED the players. These players do not need these schools and coaches at all. If their ultimate goal is to make it to the NBA then what do they need a school for? Why would they willingly participate in a system that minimally benefits them while others enjoy the spoils of their labor? Instead of continuing to admonish the NCAA for not changing maybe they should just disregard it altogether.

Now before y’all go off the deep end, yes I understand this isn’t an option for EVERY college basketball player. And I’m not talking about every college basketball player and neither are you when you say “These guys need to get paid.” When you say that, you are talking about a heavily recruited kid who is on magazine covers and packing out gyms. Nobody is thinking about the starting PG for North Southwest San Diego State College University when this topic is brought up. You know why? Because Johnny McNobodyknowsme who plays for NSSDSCU isn’t worth millions. This is partially why the subject of pay for college guys is a topic that goes nowhere. You can chop up the proceeds from those games if you want. Their players will get New Edition checks (for reference, the members of New Edition received checks for $1.86 after the release of their first album). But I’m sure those numbers will look much different if we open up the books for Cameron Indoor, the Dean Dome or Rupp Arena. If the top guys from the top schools abandoned the NCAA this thing would look much different. You would truly have student athletes out there. Try getting 20,000 people to come out and watch that about 15 times throughout the season. We have to stop lying to ourselves and continue to push the narrative of education being a focus for these players. If education was the driving force behind making it seem like these guys have to go to college then the rule shouldn’t have been “One and Done” it should have been “Four years, a degree and done”. But alas, here we are. Their ultimate goal is to get paid to play basketball so they should go somewhere that presents that as an option.

We have to be realistic in all of this. College players will most likely never be paid. And honestly, they shouldn’t be. They knowingly agree to the terms when they decide to enroll at these schools. Whom amongst you has signed an offer letter for a job then when you got your first paycheck stormed into your boss’s office and said “Hey I know we agreed on this but I deserve more money.” No one? Oh ok. The guys that need collegiate hoops to raise their stock and get on the NBA radar, I’ll see you on campus. But the high school senior who everyone knows is just doing his mandatory internship before he goes to the NBA, he needs to read this article.

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