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Following the Money…

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I do not yet have a clear notion of how this will synergize with the NIL system…

The NCAA and its five power conferences have agreed to allow schools to directly pay players for the first time in the 100-plus-year history of college sports.

The NCAA and its leagues are moving forward with a multibillion-dollar agreement to settle three pending federal antitrust cases. The NCAA will pay more than $2.7 billion in damages over 10 years to past and current athletes, sources told ESPN. Sources said the parties also have agreed to a revenue-sharing plan allowing each school to share up to roughly $20 million per year with its athletes.

“The five autonomy conferences and the NCAA agreeing to settlement terms is an important step in the continuing reform of college sports that will provide benefits to student-athletes and provide clarity in college athletics across all divisions for years to come,” NCAA president Charlie Baker and the five power conference commissioners said in a joint statement Thursday evening.

Josh Mandel works through some of the implications, but much remains uncertain apart from the fact that college football will remain big money. The part of me that hates university administration (and to be clear this is a very large part of me) would like to think that much of this chaos could have been avoided if universities and the NCAA (and I appreciate that these groups have very different interests) had approached the monetization of college athletics in a sensible fashion instead of going to the barricades every time anyone suggested that the players should be able to earn a couple of bucks. But I’m not sure that’s true; I suspect that the necessary transition to the financialization of college athletics was always going to be messy and brutal, with the different interest groups fighting bitterly as the terrain shifts underneath them. The system that has developed over the past few years is… really chaotic and absolutely not ideal, but it’s clearly an improvement over the Noble Ideals of Gentlemanly Athletic Competition that the NCAA tried to hold onto for such a long time…

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