The war over the soul of college athletics has quieted down over the past few weeks, but on Monday, more than 300 college athletes--from UCLA, Kentucky, Purdue, Arizona, and more--signed a petition demanding a cut of television revenues from college sports.
From the AP:
The document urges the NCAA and college presidents to set aside an unspecified amount of money from what it estimates is $775 million in recently acquired TV revenues in an "educational lock box" for football and men’s basketball players. Players could tap those funds to help cover educational costs if they exhaust their athletic eligibility before they graduate. And they could receive what’s left of the money allocated to them with no strings attached upon graduating—a step that would undoubtedly be seen by some as professionalizing college sports.
But that's just a meaningless petition.
Dan Wetzel at Yahoo! Sports thinks it's time to take things a step further.
It’s too much to ask a player to sit out a Final Four or a BCS title game – as has been plotted before. Even regular season games are difficult. Players want to play. They work too hard for the chance to compete. Having guys give up a shot at a championship isn’t realistic. No one wants to let down coaches and teammates.
Calling off some minor bowl – where the bowl executive is still pocketing $400,000-plus – isn’t such a sacrifice. It is, however, high profile enough to rock the system.
No one will remember who won the game anyway. The team that sits out for more equitable treatment will be hailed both immediately and forever – books will be written, documentaries will be filmed, history will lionize.
It’s the drastic move that’s desperately needed – going beyond the petition and demanding that they won’t just earn someone else money without having their voice heard at the table.
It's only a matter of time, isn't it? The longer the charade of amateur sports continues, the more likely it becomes that the amateurs themselves will have to shock people into action.
And on that front, we can only say... DOOOOOO ITTTTT.
It would be so great. Imagine if a team like, say, Clemson boycotts the Orange Bowl later this year. It'd be outright chaos, costing the BCS millions of dollars when they have no game to run on television, nothing for sponsors to sponsor, and nothing to for paying customers to see. Then there would be the massive heart attack the NCAA suffers right along with 90% of the sports media and college football fans, forcing everyone to take a closer look at Clemson's season and say hey, since he's single-handedly won multiple games and made all this money possible, maybe a guy like Sammy Watkins should get paid.
Or, maybe the traditionalists will lash out at ungrateful players and a coach that lost control and the NCAA will double down and launch an investigation into Clemson football. That's how we'll find out that Sammy Watkins was getting paid. Then everyone will pretend that Clemson football was some rogue outfit that was up to no good all along. Nothing to see here, move along, etc.
OR MAYBE ALL OF IT WILL HAPPEN.
Whatever the consequences, though, we're due for the next step in the gradual progression toward NCAA anarchy, and if the inmates are going to boycott the asylum sometime soon, then... Well I sure hope it involves Sammy Watkins, because that guy's totally awesome. It's not really relevant here, but whatever Sammy Watkins is-or-isn't getting paid isn't nearly enough.