Mark Emmert says paying athletes would result in schools cutting non-revenue sports. Evidence suggests otherwise.
There’s over a million reasons for Ohio State football head coach Urban Meyer to be happy today, and those same reasons make what NCAA president Mark Emmert recently said about NCAA-member schools paying their football and men’s basketball players look erroneous.
According to Scooby Axson of Sports Illustrated Meyer has received an extension to his contract to coach the Buckeyes. On top of keeping him in Columbus through 2022, it makes Meyer the highest-paid coach in the Big Ten. His total raise is $1.2 million, which brings his total compensation for 2018 to $7.6 million.
This news comes less than a week after Emmert did an interview with ESPN’s Andy Katz in which Emmert spoke about the possible effects of NCAA-member institutions compensating their athletes above and beyond the current NCAA-imposed cap of “full cost of attendance.”
Emmert’s “logic” here is fallible because greater compensation for football and men’s basketball players wouldn’t have to come from the athletic department coffers. If the NCAA removed the ridiculous by-laws which make athletes ineligible for profiting off their own images, likenesses and names the athletes would be able to capitalize on their talents like any other legal adult in the United States without it costing the schools a penny.
Even if additional funds went to athletes in revenue sports from the athletic department as opposed to third parties, like Emmert argues, Meyer’s extension is proof that it wouldn’t force schools like Ohio State to cut other programs. The raise that Meyer just got is proof that the money to compensate athletes in revenue sports better while maintaining the full complement of non-revenue sports exists, the schools simply currently choose to spend that money on things like coaches’ salaries, $10,000 lockers and amusement parks partially because NCAA rules won’t allow them to just give it to the athletes.
If Emmert’s doomsday scenario for sports like field hockey and volleyball does indeed play out after schools begin paying athletes better, it wouldn’t be because schools’ hands are tied in the matter. Meyer’s extension is proof that it would be simply because schools chose to take that course of action.