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Fixing the Player Compensation Issue of College Sports

06/28/2011, 8:00am CDT
By Nicholas Kartos

Once again the issue with money in college sports is heating up again.  The big story this summer was all of the issues with players selling memorabilia at Ohio State.  Then just yesterday, John Calipari upped the ante and suggested that 72 teams split from the NCAA to form Super Conferences.  The purpose of this being to make more money to be able to pay the athletes “laundry money”

Now, I won’t go into why someone who has had two Final Four appearances stripped for cheating shouldn’t be coming up with ideas to fix things.  Instead, I will offer my two pronged solution to the issue.

Part 1: StubHub Model    

I’m still amazed that there is a website where people can scalp tickets, that is endorsed by schools and professional teams around the country.  But if you can take something that is done on street corners and legitimize it like that, why can’t you do the same for memorabilia sales?

So part one of my plan is to create a website where players can list memorabilia to sell to the general public.  Seems to me to be a little better than some of the under the table stuff players around the country have been doing.  Plus, I do agree that it’s their stuff and if they don’t want to keepsake it or if they really need the money they should have the right to do so.  

You could also divert a royalty from jersey sales of that players number into the players account

Here is the kicker though.  Give them 50% of the money right away and the other 50% when they graduate.  That would help emphasize the student in student-athlete.

Not only will this idea make what currently goes on less shady and encourage players to graduate but it could also be a revenue generator for the universities through a processing fee on these transactions.

I officially trademark this idea and any investors or NCAA administrators please contact me directly.  I could have this site built in two weeks once we get my plan going.

Part 2: Student-Athlete Loans

Unlike college athletes, when I went to college I had to pay for tuition, room & board and meals.   Furthermore I had all the other laundry money type expenses that college athletes have.  Like the majority of the college going public, I had to take out student loans to help pay for these expenses.

So, if these college athletes need money so bad, why can’t they take out Student-Athlete loans?  If schools like Kentucky can afford to pay coaches $8 million a year, I’m sure they could fund such a loan program.

Standardize it so there is a set amount an athlete is able to borrow across all division one institutions and have a very favorable interest rate for when they stop playing.  Perhaps, again, have it be even a more favorable rate if they graduate college.

My kicker on part two of my idea is that if a student-athlete becomes a professional athlete they pay back the loan 3 to 1.  This would help the universities keep the loan programs going and help fund eventual defaults that may happen.  Furthermore, there is so much emphasis on how these premier athletes are being used by universities, but a lot of them have these very universities and coaching staffs to thank for their player development and getting them ready for the big time.

Your move NCAA

This two part plans allows players some flexibility to do what they want with their keepsakes.  It encourages graduation.  It doesn’t hurt the VCUs and Butlers of the world like Calipari’s idea.  It can be used for all sports (granted I realize a football jersey might go for more than a cross country tank top).

And it gives all of these struggling college athletes money for laundry, I can only imagine what the their locker rooms must smell like.

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