In a move that would change the way the entire college sports business ecosystem works -- including TV networks that air their content -- the NCAA is pushing new rules that would allow schools to directly pay college athletes for the first time.
In a letter to colleges, the NCAA proposed a $30,000-per-year “trust fund” for at least half of a college's eligible student athletes. This would be for institutions with the largest financial and other resources.
The move for direct payment to athletes would be another step toward college athletes receiving compensation for their efforts on the field.
Two years ago the NCAA lifted a ban on allowing students to get paid when it comes to third parties and others using athletes name, image and likeness -- so-called NIL deals -- for advertising promotion. This included non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which are digital assets coming from video, photo, music and other content.
For many years, students have been limited when it comes to compensation -- limited to scholarships and reduced educational costs.
TV networks CBS and Turner collectively spend $870 billion a year in rights fees for its high-profile three-week-long NCAA Men's Basketball “March Madness” event.]
For all sports, the NCAA -- which regulates student athletics among 1,100 colleges and universities -- generates around $16 billion to $17 billion in yearly TV rights fees/revenues.
Benefits from the proposal, per the NCAA letter, would be to enhance “the NCAA's ability to provide world-class educational and athletics experiences to the most elite student-athletes”, as well as enabling “the continued investment in women's sports and women student-athletes at a level that compares with future investments in men's sports.”
The long time “amateur” status of college sports would change dramatically if college athletes would now get paid directly from schools.