Tim Crone: It's a new day, new way for college athletes

The Examiner
Tim Crone

Most of the buzz around Kansas City over the last month has been about the fast start for the Kansas City Royals and 2021 draft choices for the Chiefs.

The Royals have hit a rough patch in the road. It seems the offense, relief pitching, and defense have taken a leave of absence.

The Chiefs added quality depth in positions of need. The 2021 Chiefs offensive line may become the strength of the team behind quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

College athletes have also been a focus this last month. I am trying to come to a middle-of-the-road solution for college athletes to receive pay to play. I was previously wrong to believe that adequate payment for college athletes was scholarships and a college education.

It is not enough to play for the glory of the school. The NCAA and the Power 5 conferences have proven time and time again that the No. 1 recipient of revenue should be the NCAA, followed by the big-time football and basketball programs. Those two sports are an industry by themselves.

Beginning as soon as the 2021-22 academic year, NCAA student-athletes will be able to profit from their names, images and likenesses. This follows years of debate over whether they should be paid or continue to be treated as amateurs.

People talked about the good old days and the need for the student-athlete to just shut up and play. During that whole time, the NCAA and schools lived off the backs of college athletes.

To this day the NCAA maintains some nonsensical eligibility rules. The student-athlete was taken advantage as they were taught to play without complaint. The lure used to keep them in line was the promise of a professional career.

Currently the student-athlete is not allowed to receive payment for playing a sport, funding to offset training expenses, accept prize money based on performance, be represented or marketed by a sports agent or professional, promote or endorse commercial products, and a heck of a lot more restrictions which can be found in the NCAA eligibility mandates.

Just a few years ago the NCAA allowed athletes meals after games and other snacks. The rule read that the college athlete could only have three meals a day. Come on, man – can you imagine no allowance for student-athletes to have food provided after a major athletic event? The administrators of the NCAA and universities were able to enjoy food and beverages in suites before, during and after games paid for by the players participating on the field of competition.

There must be a fair and equal way to allow the college student-athlete to receive a fair cut of the revenue generated. They advertise that they work only for the good of the student-athlete.

I think it is important to know that it is exceedingly difficult for college athletes to go pro following college. Fewer than 2% of NCAA student-athletes go on to become professional athletes.

Most prepare themselves for life after college. A college education is still especially important for success in life. There are more than 480,000 NCAA student-athletes, yet most of them will become successful outside the sporting world.

New rules in states like California, which allow college athletes to receive compensation for their hard work, will become a part of the new college makeup. People may still like the old way, but those days are over. Both sides of the discussion will need to meet in the middle for college athletes to excel with equality for the involved parties.

• The quote of the week comes from former Illinois Governor and presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson: “All progress has resulted from people who took unpopular positions.”  

Tim Crone, a William Chrisman High School graduate, is a former activities director and coach for Blue Springs High School. He writes a weekly column for The Examiner. Reach him at t.crone@comcast.net.