Monday, January 25, 2021

Wrong move

NCAA rule changes could college athletics

The National Collegiate Athletic Association should not allow high school athletes to play professional sports and then return to college.

On Jan. 9, the NCAA approved Division II pre-enrollment amateurism legislation, paving the way for a pay-for-play environment.

The package allows athletes to accept prize money, sign contracts, enter drafts, be drafted, accept compensation for athletic participation and compete with professionals before enrolling for college. Previously, an athlete’s participation in these activities would have violated their NCAA eligibility.

The package also includes an “organized-competition rule,” in which athletes who compete in organized competition after high school will lose one year of eligibility for every year of professional play. Those individuals who decide to return to college after the pros would also have to fulfill a year in residence at their institution before becoming eligible to play.

MSU could be affected by this in the future, as the NCAA is currently working on a similar type of legislation that would apply to all Division I schools.

If athletes want to return to college after playing professional sports, it should be on their own time and their own dime. It should be the opportunity for an education, not paid tuition, that draws them back. Going back to college shouldn’t be a backup plan if an athlete fails in the pros.

College coaches could be forced to hold off on awarding scholarships. They would have to wait to see if players who opted for the draft would in fact be drafted in order for them to know if a roster spot would be available.

The college athletes who work hard from day one will pay for a pro-turned-collegiate athlete’s greed. They will suffer because someone could not live up to his or her decision. Lessons the college athletes will have learned by going through the ranks of collegiate sports will be lost on the ex-pro player. Team unity will be affected by the disruption of adding players who failed in the pros.

The commercialization that turns some off to pro sports could make its way into college sports. To allow the egotistical and money-driven attitude of the pros into the college arena could be disastrous.

Athletes are trained in staying motivated, working hard and always fighting to the finish. This system takes away all of those components and tells athletes that if their decision to turn pro doesn’t pan out the way they hoped, they don’t have to tough it out and are free to leave. No hard work or mental toughness is necessary because these athletes now have an easy out.

The NCAA is disregarding all of its previous efforts to keep such influences out of college sports. This new system ruins the sportsmanship, competitiveness, and heart of college athletics.

While there is room for improvement in the existing amateurism rules, this decision sets a bad precedent and leaves athletes with the expectation of being paid. Commercialization is the root of professional sports and should be kept out of collegiate play.

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