Well shit just got interesting. Players from the Pac-12 came up with a list of demands, published them and are threatening to boycott seasons this fall. That's no small matter. The list of demands fall under these categories (h/t Players Tribune):
I. Health & Safety Protections
II. Protect All Sports
Preserve All Existing Sports by Eliminating Excessive Expenditures
III. End Racial Injustice in College Sports and Society
IV. Economic Freedom and Equity
All things that we have been talking about for what seems like years because the NCAA is so outdated with rules and definition of amateurism. Essentially the Pac-12 players (we don't know exactly what players are involved here) want protection with coronavirus and the threat of losing scholarships if they opt out of playing for safety concerns. They want Larry Scott and coaches to take a paycut - honestly, Larry Scott is the most overpaid man in America - along with the stopping of building expansion so Olympic sports stop getting cut. That makes sense to me. They could save a few programs with a simple thing like that while coaches and Larry Scott are still paid more than enough.
But the one that everyone will get talking is number 4 and these are their demands:
Guaranteed Medical Expense Coverage
- Medical insurance selected by players for sports-related medical conditions, including COVID- 19 illness, to cover six years after college athletics eligibility ends.
Name, Image, and Likeness Rights & Representation
- The freedom to secure representation, receive basic necessities from any third party, and earn money for use of our name, image, and likeness rights.
Fair Market Pay, Rights, & Freedoms
- Distribute 50% of each sport’s total conference revenue evenly among athletes in their respective sports.
- Six-year athletic scholarships to foster undergraduate and graduate degree completion.
- Elimination of all policies and practices restricting or deterring our freedom of speech, our ability to fully participate in charitable work, and our freedom to participate in campus activities outside of mandatory athletics participation.
- Ability of players of all sports to transfer one time without punishment, and additionally in cases of abuse or serious negligence.
- Ability to complete eligibility after participating in a pro draft if player goes undrafted and foregoes professional participation within seven days of the draft.
- Due process rights
First things first before people freak out. This is a negotiation tactic. Do you really think players from the Pac-12 think they are going to get 50% revenue distribution? No, of course not. This is how they are going to start to get a number they agree with. That's the only one to me that sticks out as outlandish right now. You simply can't do a 50% revenue share and keep so many of the smaller sports alive. You swing big and settle if you think 20% is fair, or whatever number they have already discussed.
Everything else? This is all doable and should be done. I've said it so many times, but the fact we limit what these people can make is insane. Yes, a scholarship is awesome and I'm cool with the school 'paying them' just in the form of a scholarship. But, let them make money in the free market with name, image and likeness. Why do we care about that? No one actually gives a fuck if a college athlete gets paid $10,000 for an ad deal. We cheer for laundry. If you complain about that, you're just complaining that you're average and not worth $10,000 to someone. It shouldn't be limited who can pay them either. Spare me the 'booster' argument. It's been happening for years and it's not going to change recruiting. What's going to happen? Alabama is going to get the best football recruits? Can't imagine that world!
So shout out these players, whoever they are. If they truly are threatening to sit out this year and if they do, it just shows they're willing to walk the walk. I know people will bitch and moan but college athletes have every right to speak up and issue demands like this. Again, the NCAA rulebook is the most outdated thing in the world. It doesn't make sense in 2020 like it did back in the 1950s. The NCAA needs to change and if this gets just a handful of things done it's worth it.