NCAA sends mixed message

The NCAA can’t decide whether to treat athletes like amateurs or professionals.

Daily Editorial Board

Less than two weeks ago, the NCAA approved a package that gives universities the option to give a $2,000 stipend to student-athletes with full scholarships. The money would pay for what the NCAA calls the âÄúfull cost of attendance,âÄù outside of tuition, room and board, books and fees for college athletes.

Even though NCAA President Mark Emmert says that university leaders are âÄúadamantâÄù about not allowing students to be paid to play, the new reform certainly sends mixed signals. It is no secret that universities make money from athletic programs and draw in prospective students as well.

The question is whether the University of MinnesotaâÄôs focus is on these student-athletes and their education or on reaping benefits from collusion with professional leagues.

Among the approved package was an increase in the academic eligibility requirements for student-athletes. Formerly, a C grade average was required of incoming freshman and junior transfers. Now it is a C+ grade. This not only shows a lack of emphasis placed on academic performance for athletes, it mixes the NCAAâÄôs message âÄî does the NCAA want student athletes to be students or athletes, amateurs or professionals?

Sweetening the package for prospective students to choose athletics over an academic focus in their education âÄî in programs where few will enter professional leagues âÄî is questionable promotion by the NCAA.

Young men and women must seriously question the values and motives of the NCAA when they make declarations such as these. Are they helping young individuals succeed in forming part of our society or are they exploiting a class of revenue generators for universities?