[ESPN] - It started eight months ago with a tweet: Chris Murphy, a Democratic U.S. senator from Connecticut, told the world how much he enjoyed Draymond Green's op-ed in The Washington Post labeling the NCAA "a dictatorship" and calling for increased compensation to college athletes.
Green reached out to Murphy's office to thank him for the tweet. Murphy is a huge sports fan -- the Boston Celtics are his NBA team -- so he was thrilled to hear from an All-Star on the three-time champion Golden State Warriors. They have been collaborating since.
I never thought I'd really say this, but here is Draymond Green and a senator from Connecticut making nothing but great points. They are working together to try and change the NCAA. I've written about Chris Murphy before:
You know it's almost like this is what the NCAA should have done when they created the Commission on College Hoops led by Condi Rice. But instead of getting players like Draymond (why he's a right player in a second), they went with Grant Hill and David Robinson. Not only are they two older players that are in the modern game, Hill came from a dad who was an NFL player and David Robinson went to a service academy school. Not remotely close to the normal background of college athletes.
Why Draymond makes sense here is the fact that, yes, he's made a ton of money int he NBA, but it wasn't expected. Everyone kinda assumed he was going to be a bigger star in college when he was an All-American and dominated at Michigan State. He was a second round pick. What he's been able to make isn't the common thing here. So he knows what life is like as a star at a major program that isn't a projected lottery pick.
So what are they proposing?
Murphy said he would support a system in which universities pay athletes a direct salary. "It wouldn't be what you get paid as a pro athlete, but you'll get paid something decent -- with the school writing the check," Murphy said. He called such a system a form of simple "revenue-sharing." Murphy acknowledged such a system might widen the gap between power schools and everyone else. "That has kind of happened already in college football," Murphy said.
Green appreciated that Murphy's reports offered concrete solutions: guaranteeing four-year scholarships; providing health coverage for athletes that persisted beyond their college years in cases of life-altering injuries suffered during participation in sports; establishing safeguards that guarantee athletes enough time to focus on classes; instituting tougher crackdowns on universities caught in academic fraud scandals.
The revenue sharing is the one that's going to draw the most eyeballs. To me it's a no-brainer to add health coverage, guaranteeing 4-year scholarships across the board for every sport. I don't really care about the enough time to focus on classes/tougher crackdowns. That's not the biggest things for me. But the revenue sharing is an intriguing idea. I still think opening it up to a free market and letting that dictate what you're worth is the better play and just common sense. BUT if you want to avoid the 'what if a player gets mad at a teammate for making more money' or preventing the NCAA from tripping over itself, then this is the way to go.
According to the reports from Murphy's office, among the Power 5 NCAA conferences, only 12% of revenue generated by college sports goes into scholarships for athletes -- less than the amount directed into the salaries of coaches.
What if they take another 5% and distribute that to athletes? Would that really ruin college departments. Obviously I'm not sitting here doing a study and took an arbitrary number but that report seems fairly massive. You can't only have 12% go back to scholarships. That should be added somehow someway to truly benefit the players from a financial standpoint.
I've said it before, but I don't get why we care if a college kid gets paid. Save me the fact that they have a scholarship and not having student loans is a huge benefit. There are scholarships available for so many different things - just be worth a damn to get one. I know it's easy to make fun of Draymond and we do it a lot, but this is actually awesome to see. He's coming up with solutions, working with people to try and make the change that I would say the majority of college fans want to see too.