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Share the wealth page 2

Date published: 4/6/2014


The really scary thing for the schools is this: If student-athletes can organize, why not cafeteria workers and graduate teachers, among others? This could get really expensive.

The ruling also could be curtains for the NCAA. That organization, which has grown fat off the athletes' efforts (the TV contract for the men's basketball tournament is now $11 billion over 14 years; the new football playoff scenario will pay $7.3 billion over 12 years for the three playoff games plus four other bowls), could be neutered by this. All it takes is for schools, in a scenario where players' unions have a say in the rules, to go their own way.

Some would choose the professional route, paying players whatever the market will bear. Others might go back to that quaint time when student-athletes were required to be actual students. However that works out, you can bet on one thing: Once they succumb to the inevitable, there will be plenty of universities willing to pay athletes in the big-revenue sports. And there will be no dearth of college football to watch on Saturday afternoon (or just about any other day of the week). It's just that the NCAA might not be getting its cut.

The NCAA and the colleges can be expected to put every penny they can into resisting a world in which the people who bring in so much money and provide so much entertainment get paid something other than a scholarship for their efforts.

(About the scholarships: Many kids who are ill-prepared for college are let in for their "special" talents, then are expected to give top priority to their athletic jobs and are steered to easier courses. For many, this free ride is worth just about what they paid for it.)

It doesn't reflect well on either the NCAA or the colleges that they would resist this so vigorously, but you can count on that happening.

You can count on something else, too: In the end, the athletes will prevail. Await the deluge.

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