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Two Key NCAA Decisions in Favor of Student-Athletes (Specifically at OSU)

How Spencer Sanders and future Austin Eckroats benefit from these.



Two somewhat quiet (?) decisions by the NCAA over the last week will affect Oklahoma State in both the short- and long-term future. Here they are.

1. Players Get Paid

This is happening. It might be happening quickly. It might be happening within the next year. For whatever reason, it wasn’t talked about a lot last week when it came out, but the Associated Press has the details on it.

Recommended rule changes that would clear the way for athletes to earn money from their names, images and likeness are being reviewed by college sports administrators this week before being sent to the NCAA Board of Governors, which meets Monday and Tuesday.

If adopted, the rules would allow athletes to make sponsorship and endorsement deals with all kinds of companies and third parties, from car dealerships to concert promoters to pizza shops, according to a person who has reviewed the recommendations. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Thursday because the details were still being discussed and debated.

The recommendations are expected to form the foundation for legislation the NCAA hopes to pass next January so it can take effect in 2021. Changes could still be made before January. [AP]

This is fascinating, and it would allow — as that AP article referenced — a college QB to have his own passing academy or Cade Cunningham to host a basketball camp. It would allow Chuba Hubbard to actually represent a car dealership in Edmond or Guthrie or wherever.

The NCAA would create a mechanism to evaluate potential deals for fair market value and spot possible corruption. An athlete could compromise their eligibility for failing to disclose details of a financial agreement or relationship, the person said.

The recommendations also call for allowing athletes to sign autographs for money, sell their memorabilia, and be paid for personal appearances and working as an instructor in their sport. [AP]

It was previously assumed that this legislation would take years to enact. It appears that’s no longer the case. That’s likely going to happen and happen quickly, which is great for college athletes (and will be kind of a nightmare probably for athletic departments to try and figure out).

2. Athletes (and their teams) Protected

The other decision was more straightforward and has fewer long-term effects. As the NCAA considered the fallout from coronavirus economics, a reduction in the minimum required programs within an athletic department got put on the table. The NCAA swatted this away late last week.

After breaking from its Friday meeting, the Division I Council announced in a release that the required minimum of 16 varsity sports will still apply to all Division I members, though schools can request such waivers “on an individual basis.”

The news comes as a welcoming update for coaches and players from Olympic and non-revenue sports, including men’s and women’s golf,  many of whom wondered whether their teams were safe should such legislation pass. [Golf Channel]

Why is this good news for OSU? Well, it excels in non-revenue sports like wrestling, golf and softball. Not that any of those were on the chopping block, but the NCAA has essentially not given schools the easy way out of cutting programs just to save money.

“I think it’s a small win for the Olympic sports to know that there’s not going to be a blanket situation to where possibly sports could get cut,” Texas Tech men’s coach Greg Sands told Golf Channel. “I know the door’s still open for individual waivers to be process, so I don’t think we’re out of the woods necessarily.”

We can argue about the philosophical ethics behind all of this, but it doesn’t change the reality of the situation, which is that the NCAA is doing its best to protect the non-football sports of the world. That’s probably (?) a good thing broadly given the current setup of college sports, and it’s definitely a good thing for Oklahoma State.

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