NCAA loosening grip on players to fatten their wallets

By Ed Peak

What is the NCAA doing? Deciding to allow players to make financial deals. Advertising spokespersons. Pitchmen and women. You name it. Not what college athletics needs. But if something doesn’t change, the cheating and coverups by schools will only continue to get worse.

How do the NCAA schools monitor this? Do they know what they’re getting into? What if Bill Collins auto dealership wants to have University of Louisville receiver Tutu Atwell  to peddle automobiles as its spokesman. No problem.

What if AllSouth Applicance Showrooms in Birmingham wants Malik Cunningham to be its spokesperson in Alabama and outbids Chenoweth Appliances in Jeffersontown for his services. Don’t be surprised if the athlete leaves UofL for the Crimson Tide.

When my nephew was in eighth grade, a friend had a birthday party at his home. His father was friends with Louisville wide receiver Josh Tinch and quarterback Stefan LeFlors. Tinch and LeFlors showed up at the party for a few minutes. Signed autographs. Took pictures and left. They might have had ice cream and cake. Or just did it as a favor.

The players dedicate a lot of time, energy and hard work to be Division I athletes. Is the price of an education, free books and tutoring, three square meals, the best medical treatment and nicest living quarters not enough? Add on attendance stipends and all kinds of gear.

The agents, advisors and greedy relatives are the ones will rob these players of what they should be getting in full. What you do with your money is your business. Only a small number advance to the professional level.

There is not an athlete at the University of Louisville or any other school  that hasn’t had a favor granted in the form of a job after using up his or her eligibility. People have contacts in other cities and help former players.

School presidents, athletic directors, head and assistant coaches. All make salaries way out of line. The players do most all the work. The coaches have a heavy influence on these athletes in training for the next level. Pro sports uses the college game as their minor league feeder system. No problems there.

There are two things that have helped cause this. The federal investigation into college basketballs scandal a couple years ago. And the G League where players now can jump directly to the NBA out of high school. The NCAA is admitting, in essence, that it has lost control.

The NCAA is, in essence, opening the floodgates to allow players to barter for money. Not what the schools, teams and fans need. Fans are already taxed with absorbent ticket prices, seat licenses and donations.

The rich will only get richer at a time when many programs are struggling to get over the negative economic impact of the corona virus. Competition between schools is only going to become even more fierce. No longer any pretense of amateurism. 

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Author: Ed Peak

Ed Peak has covered UofL sports since 1973, as a student reporter, as a correspondent for the Courier-Journal, a freelancer for the Associated Press and United Press International, as well as ScoreCard, Fox Sports and CBS radio.