Jul. 10—A little over a week ago, college sports changed.
Some say for the better.
Call me skeptical about the regulations forced upon the NCAA by way of the Supreme Court's recent ruling in allowing college athletes to benefit financially from their name, image and likeness, just like the pros do, but with "stipulations."
Yes, now, college athletes, who at one time not too long ago got a generous $15 a month stipend for laundry money and saw that increase to include things like late-night snacks and movies, are now free and open as independent contractors, taking for themselves what was once a revenue stream solely for the benefit of the NCAA institutions.
Nike? What's your price? Don't think for a second the numbers aren't being crunched.
The local campus chicken joint? Let's work a deal. Hey, a 30-second slot fits into the schedule better than a part-time job, which if you know anything about an athlete's dawn to dark schedule, has no room for such unless you're someone like Rhett Bomar. Remember Bomar, the one-time OU quarterback who along with a couple of other teammates, worked as car porters for a Norman area car dealer when it was discovered that time cards didn't really back up hours worked?
No need for that anymore, really.
Those places, and people, over the years, have been brought before the NCAA for irregularities in help for these athletes. Now, it's all above board. Nothing to hide for the five-star recruit who gets the full five-star treatment.
Here's the catch. Not every athlete is five-star.
The fourth-string safety on the depth chart is going to have a heck of a time convincing a sporting goods outlet his name will bring in more dollars from you and me. And yet, we assume he's in the same situation financially as the starting quarterback who already had his brand logo on his Twitter feed within minutes of the new changes taking place July 1.
Oh, yeah, some athletes come from families with adequate resources to send little Johnny a care package of munchies and a movie app subscription, and if they're close enough miles-wise, might even make a trip up to help with laundry.
Most, not so much.
Some of those were already driving cars they couldn't afford.
Now, that's all above board.
Yes, the ruling does stipulate money must be tied to educational benefits. Like, going to a highly-desired vacation spot that happens to be near a historical landmark suitable for the study of history.
When trying to get ahead of the ball down in SEC country, two governors, Florida's Ron DeSantis and Georgia's Brian Kemp, talked about how this would give their state schools an advantage in recruiting the best of the best. Kemp's measure actually played both ends — it would have allowed the school to recover up to 74 percent of the revenue earned by the athlete.
The Supreme Court changed all that. It's all pro-worker now, and "fans" are already seeing it as a way to gain competitive advantage.
So rules will be bent as far as possible. As soon as those are clear.
While it's fair to allow athletes to have the same right to earning unlimited cash as their non-athlete peers on campus, let's be honest about the impact of this.
One, the cash won't be equal among all athletes. Advantage: The stars. Two, it won't be equal among college programs. Advantage: The schools with the wealthiest alums.
The exception to the latter may be the Ivy League schools, which still have enough of an appearance of the academics-first mentality to set aside obsessions about national championships.
If Texas isn't back with the way alums throw money around to buy out fired coaches and replace them with new ones already, watch out now.
Baylor? Outside of Waco's market, the Bears may be challenged. TCU, on the other hand, has Fort Worth, but a small alumni base and an even smaller alumni base within that area that has significant numbers connected to OU, OSU, Arkansas, Texas and Texas A&M.
More than fairness, the change has expanded opportunity. And the ones positioned best to seize that are the ones already richest and strongest.