College athletics are undergoing a lot of changes lately, from unions being formed, conferences being realigned on a massive scale, the beginning of a playoff style championship setup on the top level, the changes are massive and they just keep on coming, and that’s just in the world of football. (sbnation) The rumors have been around for ages that certain players were getting paid to attend certain colleges for the sake of playing sports, it’s spawned television shows, movies, and countless articles online about the topic, sometimes even being proven to be fact. (espn) The majority of people are willing to admit that players in college do deserve some form of compensation as the supposed free education that some of them receive is far below the value of what they bring into the school through endorsements, television deals, and championships, it’s hard to argue that someone who is typically part of a group that brings the school millions of dollars a year is only worth a few thousand, especially when you consider all the rules associated with a scholarship athlete. (collegefootballtalk) I’ve said for years that players should at least be paid for their likeness, having the ability to sell such likeness to sports games and memorabilia companies to sell jerseys, shirts, cards, and other items with their name attached, at least marking a percentage of the money made off their work. (polygon)
One big change that’s on the table is the matter of autonomy as it relates to the top five conferences in college athletics and the 65 schools which are counted as members of each of these conferences, essentially the top five want to be the governing body on the highest level of college athletics. (cbssports) While the timing of this can be seen as suspect, coming just before the large lawsuits against the NCAA are heard and a day before the vote at Northwestern University to unionize, if you read through everything it actually makes sense on the surface. The top conferences in sports, those that bring in the most money, will be able to make decisions to supposedly improve life for the student athletes in Division 1 athletics. (providencejournal) I’m sure there are people who will be upset if this passes, but overall I actually see it as a step in the right direction. The biggest thing looming now is the threat from Mike Slive, head of the SEC (college footballs top conference), that if this autonomy isn’t ratified the top five conferences are ready to create a Division IV in college sports which would allow them more leeway to implement the changes they want. (collegefootballtalk) This is a massive powerplay, something that I can’t remember ever being done before, if the conferences are rebuffed, and the follow through with their intentions, things could get very interesting or the NCAA. Let’s hope it doesn’t go that far, especially since we finally have a “playoff” at the top level, but as always be prepared for the worst.