By Leo Haggerty


Senator Cory Booker

I just finished reading, in the February issue of Sports Illustrated, an OpEd article by Senator Cory Booker.  I encourage all my readers to take a few minutes and read what the honorable legislator from New Jersey, and former scholarship athlete at Stanford, because he makes some great points.

The gist of the piece is that it’s time for the NCAA to start compensating athletes above and beyond the normal scholarship.  This is especially true in football and men’s basketball where the players are making their institutions as well as their conferences along with the governing body obscenely wealthy.

The one section of the article that got my attention was that Senator Booker plans to initiate legislation labeled the College Athletes Bill of Rights. This bill is designed to allow collegiate athletes to reap the rewards when their name or likeness or image is used plus a revenue sharing agreement as it applies to the profits being made from athletic events especially from television.

Memo to the NCAA.  You need to sit up and take notice quickly because, once the government gets involved, you are at their mercy.  Need I remind you of Title IX?

The powers that be in collegiate athletics need to immediately come up with a plan to address all of the above issues.  Then, they need to get in touch with Senator Booker’s staff and present their plan to see if this would be agreeable to him.

It’s easier to make changes when you are in control as opposed to being dictated terms from an outside organization.  Let’s hope the NCAA realizes that and quickly comes up with a realistic and viable plan to fairly compensate players for their athletic endeavors.

If they don’t, look for the federal government to “drop the hammer” on the NCAA and tell them what they will specifically do as it applies to payment for services rendered by collegiate athletes.  That, more loyal readers, will not be pretty.

For all the above reasons, this looks like an easy decision.  50% of something is better than 100% of nothing. Either share the wealth or lose the wealth.  For the NCAA, it’s that simple.