Mark Emmert

In recent years, major university athletic programs have made millions off the achievements of their student-athletes.  Many student-athletes receive a full-ride scholarship, which covers the cost of tuition and housing, but the university still gets all the revenue from  jersey sales, ticket sales, television broadcasts and collegiate trademark licensing. Some argue that the trade-off is not fair — what the players put into the system (long practice hours, yearly dedication, mandatory workouts, strict diets and on-field success) exceeds the value of their full-ride scholarships, which players contend do not cover all college-related expenses. Others believe that players are compensated enough through their athletic scholarships and should not receive any additional money.

UT’s athletes should receive additional monetary compensation so that all of their college expenses (and even more, if possible) are covered. Not only are they under pressure to do well in class, but they also have to perform well on the field, because their athletic scholarships are not guaranteed for four years. The current scholarship amount is not enough to pay for all college-related expenses, and between school and sports, student-athletes do not have time for paid employment to make up the difference.

Mark Emmert, president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, aims to help, but only to a point. He supports a proposal to “allow conferences to increase grants to student-athletes by $2,000, to more closely approach the full cost of attending college, beyond the athletic scholarships given for tuition, fees, room, board and books.”

However, when asked whether that amounts to monetary compensation for athletic performance, Emmert backed off. “If we move toward a pay-for-play model — if we were to convert our student-athletes to employees of the university — that would be the death of college athletics,” Emmert told the New York Times’ Joe Nocera. “Then they are subcontractors. Why would you even want them to be students? Why would you care about their graduation rates? Why would you care about their behavior?”

This sums up the main argument against paying college athletes — that it would effectively destroy the value of the degrees they’re ostensibly pursuing. However, under the system currently in place, they are little more than an inexhaustible supply of highly profitable indentured laborers.

Universities and television networks have cashed in on society’s fixation with sports. Last year, the University of Texas and ESPN closed a deal in which UT would make even more money (an additional $11 million a year) through a UT-exclusive Longhorn Network to cover its sporting events.

The Longhorn Network deal will give the school  an estimated $300 million over the next 20 years, but it exists only because of the huge popularity of UT’s athletic programs — especially its football team. According to a 2011 Forbes report titled “College Football’s Most Valuable Teams,”  Texas made $71 million in profit from its football program that year, more than any other university. Clearly, people are willing to pay big money to watch amateurs play football. UT does not have a problem with making money off of its athletic programs, so the student-athletes responsible for these profits shouldn’t have to spend their own money on  college expenses.

Beyond the scholarship increase, student-athletes should receive royalties, so that whenever UT uses an athlete’s likeness and makes a monetary gain, the player will receive a percentage of the profit. This would give players extra motivation to perform well and add to an already large fan base, which would increase sales of UT merchandise. When someone buys a jersey with the number 14 on it, they do it because that’s David Ash’s number, so why not let him receive a portion of the sale?

It is time for the players to receive their fair share.

Delafuente is an undeclared sophomore from Palacios.

Kansas' Thomas Robinson and Kentucky's Anthony Davis fight for a loose ball in Monday's national championship game. Davis, the Naismith Player of the Year, scored six points, grabbed 16 rebounds, and had six blocks. Robinson 18 points and snagged 17 rebounds.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

There’s a growing debate in college basketball about what to do with so-called “one-and-done” players — those select few athletes who leave college after one season for a big payday in the NBA.

The Kentucky Wildcats won the NCAA Championship Monday night with a team loaded with “one-and-done” players, beating Kansas 67-59. UK freshmen Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Anthony Davis and Marcus Teague will likely be first-round picks in June’s NBA Draft.

Some argue it’s a problem that degrades the quality of play in the NCAA. Others believe it’s unethical to prohibit young men from pursuing a professional career.

The issue’s roots trace back to 2006: the year the NBA established a new age limit for the draft. Players who completed athletic eligibility at a U.S. high school could not declare for the draft unless they turned 19 years old in the same year as the draft and were at least one year removed from graduating high school.

This rule barred teenagers from bypassing college for the NBA. Since then, college coaches have recruited players that plan exclusively to play one year in the NCAA before going pro.

Texas coach Rick Barnes brought in four “one-and-done” players since the rule change, including Kevin Durant in 2006, Avery Bradley in 2009 and Tristan Thompson and Corey Joseph in 2010. All four were first-round picks.

This June, several college freshmen will hear their names called at the NBA Draft. It’s an issue that’s not going away.
And NCAA President Mark Emmert is not happy with it.

“I happen to dislike the one-and-done rule enormously and wish it didn’t exist,” said Emmert during a CBS broadcast on March 25. “I think it forces young men to go to college that have little or no interest in going to college.”

The NCAA makes millions of dollars in revenue each year from college basketball, so it’s no surprise Emmert wants to get free labor as long as possible (student-athletes aren’t paid).

NBA Commissioner David Stern responded on March 27 to Emmert’s comments.

“A college could always not have players who are one and done,” Stern told reporters. “They could actually require the players to go to classes. Or they could get the players to agree that they stay in school, and ask for the scholarship money back if they didn’t fulfill their promise. There’s all kinds of things that, if a bunch of people got together and really wanted to do it, instead of talk about it.”

Athletes can still bypass college and go to the NBA, though they still must wait one year from high school graduation. Milwaukee Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings played one season in Europe instead of college, then was a lottery pick in 2009.

Jennings is the exception to the rule.

Stern tried to avoid this clash years ago, but the NCAA didn’t play along.

“Years ago I said to the NCAA, I’ve got a great idea. We’ll insure a select group of basketball players. And that will make them more likely to stay in school, because they won’t feel the loss of a big contract,” Stern said. “We’ll designate a pool and those lucky enough to be drafted and make money will pay us back, and those that don’t, it’s our expense.

“The NCAA I think took it to a committee ... and they said it will only work under our rules if we do that for all sports. And I said, I don’t think that’ll work.”

Kentucky is also the exception to the rule. Most teams loaded with talented freshman don’t get far in the NCAA Tournament.

So what’s the big deal? Money. The NCAA wants the best basketball players to play for them. For free.

Printed on Tuesday, April 3, 2012 as: Kentucky holds off Kansas to capture title

Here are three observations from Texas’ victory over Texas Tech.

NCAA president pays visit to Austin

NCAA president Mark Emmert came to Austin to watch the first half of Texas’ 52-20 win over Texas Tech, the first Longhorns football game he’s attended, before traveling to Tuscaloosa to watch LSU’s overtime victory over Alabama. Emmert met with University of Texas president William Powers Jr. and the school’s athletic department. He hopes and expects most football conferences to approve the additional $2,000 stipend for student-athletes the NCAA just approved, aims to cut the NCAA rulebook in half and isn’t opposed to conference realignment as long as it’s done properly.

“It can be perfectly sensible,” Emmert said. “When we have people making decisions for bad reasons with bad information and not considering what this means for student-athletes or in a way that creates animosity for schools, I find that very distasteful.”

Defensive ends come up big again

Jackson Jeffcoat and Alex Okafor each recorded a sack against Kansas last week, the first time that had happened all season. Against Texas Tech, they picked up right where they left off, combining for five tackles of loss and 3 1/2 of the Longhorns’ four sacks. After combining for just two sacks in Texas’ first six games this year, Jeffcoat and Okafor have 5 1/2 between them in their last two contests. That includes Jeffcoat’s first 2 1/2 sacks of the season, possibly because of a simple piece of advice from defensive coordinator Manny Diaz.

“[Diaz] said, ‘Go out there and have fun,’” Jeffcoat said. “Guys that don’t have fun don’t make as many plays. So he said, ‘Have fun. This is a game you know how to play.’”

Texas nearly tops last week’s dominant rushing performance

The 441 rushing yards the Longhorns amassed last week was the most they ran for in 96 games. But that mark was nearly bested Saturday as Texas ran for 439 yards without its leading rusher, Malcolm Brown. Head coach Mack Brown said he could have played if the Longhorns needed him, but thanks to fellow freshman Joe Bergeron, they didn’t. Bergeron celebrated his 19th birthday in style, running for 191 yards and three touchdowns.

“It’s the offense that Ricky [Williams] ran,” Mack Brown said. “Texas ran the ball when we were good. That’s who we were. Then we’d throw deep and play good defense. That’s what we want to get back to.”

Longhorns’ downfield passing game makes a comeback

After going three games without a completion of at least 35 yards, Texas got two from David Ash against Texas Tech. As productive as their rushing attack was, the Longhorns didn’t need much from the passing game. But Ash took his share of shots Saturday, connecting on three of them — two to Davis for 24 and 48 yards and one to Marquise Goodwin for 37 yards.

“He showed us a lot of great things,” said senior guard David Snow. “He took charge. He’s thrown a lot of long balls. He’s doing a good job getting the ball down the field. I was really pleased with him tonight.”

HOUSTON — NCAA President Mark Emmert says university leaders across the country are “adamant” about never allowing student-athletes to be paid for playing.

Emmert spoke Thursday to the Houston Economic Club, a week after the Division I Board of Directors approved a set of sweeping reforms. The move included an option to add $2,000 annually to scholarship offers.

Critics view the stipend as the first step toward eventually paying student-athletes to compete. Emmert said the money is simply meant to close the gap between a scholarship — which only covers tuition, room and board and books — and the “full cost of attendance,” which include other expenses incurred by athletes during the season.