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NCAA Takes Unprecedented Steps Against the G League

An Unseen Gesture of Fairness by the NCAA
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The NCAA’s Unprecedented Steps Forward

2020 has started with a bang for sure, and the coronavirus has hit hard. No one took it seriously, and it came back to bite us like a rattlesnake waiting in the Alabama shade. The number of things that we never expected to happen have hit us one after the other, so it’s only fitting that we would get one more surprise, right? Well, here it is: the NCAA is taking unprecedented steps toward fairness… sort of. But top recruits are telling them to stick it where the sun don’t shine because it’s too little, too late.

I will again say that the NCAA’s latest moves are anything but a coincidence after the founding of the JBA. This, paired with Gavin Newsom signing a California bill that allowed student-athletes to profit off their names. While the NCAA will keep most of its power, it seems there has been a significant shift in recruitment leverage as top high school recruits head for the G League.

A Public Display of Integrity

Here’s what top recruits like Jalen Green are passing up. The NCAA has heralded, “The NCAA’s highest governing body has taken unprecedented steps to allow college athletes to be compensated for their name, image, and likeness.”

Unprecedented steps, they say! It sounds like they want a pat on the back for doing the bare minimum. Attitudes like this are pretty common from those accustomed to being in a position of absolute power. Look, we gave you poor souls some crumbs, y’all be grateful now. That’s the NCAA for you.

The funny thing is, the NCAA is not paying them. They are simply permitting these talents to “receive compensation for third-party endorsements both related to and separate from athletics.” Wow,  student-athletes can profit off of the personal brand they built through their own hard work and sacrifice. Those are unprecedented steps, guys. It’s brilliant! I don’t know why they never thought of it before.

Opportunity Costs

This announcement would not be so dramatic if the NCAA had actually handled student-athletes like student-athletes. Everyone knows that these young talents have to change and base their class schedule around practices and workouts. The NCAA has no problem denying their athletes an unadulterated education. So no, they are not being “paid with an education,” as the mantra goes. The NCAA has been cheating them out of an education and their worth. Say what you want, but that there is talent. That is SoCal girl levels of fake affection.

The NCAA asserts that they support compensation for student-athlete opportunities within the guiding principles outlined in October 2019. The NCAA makes clear “…the distinction between collegiate and professional opportunities.” Many top recruits are not interested in being rewarded as a student while having the responsibilities of a professional. Players like Derrick Rose would not have stepped foot on a college court if they were given the opportunity the G League is offering today. These young guys know that and are holding themselves to the same standard.

Top Recruits to Date

Jalen Green is the No. 1 basketball recruit, according to ESPN. He is set up to make about $500,000 with the option of pursuing endorsements and higher education if he chooses to. Honestly, how much longer will top recruits thank the NCAA for throwing them crumbs when there are offers like this out there? Yahoo Sports reported that five-star recruit Daishen Nix told UCLA to shove it and “rescinded his commitment to the Bruins” to sign with the G League. Isaiah Todd, the 13th ranked recruit, is also going to the G League. Both of them could clear six figures here, and that really is something beautiful. Honestly, I wish I could type out a round of applause.

The Future of College Stars

After this small step forward, hopefully, the NCAA will not regress and start suing or coercing high school players to not back out of their commitments.

College football players will not have the same opportunity as the sports are very different, and the physical development of the athletes requires a longer stay at the amateur level. However, players in states with no professional teams could get paid like superstars. The next playmakers at Ole Miss, Bama, and Auburn are going to be immortalized in ways that most of us city-folk could never imagine. Some of them are PG, and some of them will probably only be covered in a 30-for-30.

Even though most of them will not make it to the league, whatever they can make in the four years as a college player is money they deserve. Imagine the money and opportunities Johnny Manziel missed out on while he was in college. The same stands for any legendary college player whose professional careers never worked out.

Improving Their Financial Futures

When they fill all of those seats and draw all of those television ratings, they should have something to show for it that is free from politics. A Heisman is literally and figuratively worthless, considering it’s an award you get for playing for free. At least Super Bowl rings have diamonds in them… my Lord.

A Heisman will barely get you a free meal after graduation. Autograph money could at least pay for graduate school or a business endeavor.

Over time, the G League will probably completely reform itself. Instead of being filled with old rejects, it just might end up being dominated by young, electrifying talent that fans will pay to see, just like in the NCAA. It will never replace college basketball completely because everyone is not good enough to go pro, and not everyone necessarily wants to. What matters here is that athletes who are worth something will get something. And that is all any of us can ask for.