Editor’s Note: The following is a satirical article for The DisreGuardian, a series of articles published annually for The Guardian’s April Fool’s issue. Sports will resume publishing normal content next week.
After almost a year out of action, it finally feels like college sports are back. March Madness is in full swing, college football finished its season, and sports like soccer, volleyball, and water polo, which were postponed in the fall, are all rescheduled for spring.
But it’s important to remember that college sports were not able to escape 2020 unscathed. Like the rest of the US economy, the NCAA has sustained serious financial losses due to COVID-19. Because of that, the governing body of college sports has recently announced that college athletes will no longer receive monetary compensation from the NCAA or their university.
The new restrictions are not limited to just the NCAA or universities. In order to eliminate loopholes — and the possibility a university tries to continue to pay their players under the table or tries to gain a competitive advantage — the NCAA has prohibited players from receiving compensation for their play from anyone.
Some in college sports felt this spirit of amateurism would rejuvenate the values of college sports. Dabo Swinney, head coach of Clemson University’s football team, remarked that removing money from college sports would get rid of “entitlement” in players. Swinney made this comment to reporters as he swam in a pool of money made from his $9.3 million salary.
The NCAA seems to have come up with the most ingenious and groundbreaking business strategy of the 21st century (maybe even of all time). If you are a company and need to save money, stop paying your employees, but continue to make them work for you. Such a simple, yet effective approach. I wonder why no other business has adopted this same strategy.
With this announcement, the NCAA has also become the first major sports organization to eliminate the wage gap between male and female athletes. While men’s sport will continue to garner better facilities, more media coverage, and most of the NCAA’s general interest, it’s nice to see them making some social progress. One step back, one step forward.
It seems as though this cost-cutting measure is here to stay for the next few seasons. Hopefully, the NCAA will be able to recoup their losses and once again have the financial latitude to compensate their student-athletes.
Photo courtesy of Tom Woodward