It’s no secret that revenue-generating players want their fair share. No fan base should know that better than Orange nation. The Darius Bazley wound still has not fully healed. But Syracuse and the NCAA might have ammunition to keep high school players from foregoing college, and in other sports like football, for example, encourage them to stay longer.
The NCAA’s top governing body announced Wednesday that it supports a plan to allow college athletes to sign endorsement deals, and profit from other work, as long as their schools are not involved in the payment.
That means, should this proposal pass, fans still won’t have an official Buddy Boeheim or Tommy Devito jersey, but kids can go to a Devito QB camp and fans might see Boeheim endorsing a local car dealership on TV.
It’s not much, but it’s something. It shows that the NCAA is finally realizing that their business model is not sustainable. The ongoing prep-to-pro trend in basketball ignited this development because the NCAA can’t afford to lose star players.
College basketball is the sport in the most immediate danger. However, Carolina Panthers’ 2020 fifth round pick Kenny Robinson might have blazed a new trail for elite high school football players across the country. Robinson was expelled from West Virginia due to academic violations after two seasons with the Mountaineers. While he didn’t leave school for the money, it only took him one season in the XFL to catapult to the NFL. This opens the door for short lived collegiate football careers if the players can’t get paid.
NCAA president Mark Emmert says he is determined to keep player profits from developing into a recruiting tool. In other words, he is trying to keep UCLA in Hollywood from being more attractive to a recruit than a smaller market school like Syracuse. That is impossible. There are more opportunities for star college players to make money outside of Central New York.
However, this development can help Syracuse in player retention. The elite players from blue blood programs will go pro as soon as they can. For a school like Syracuse that doesn’t typically land immediate stars, this will entice the fringe-pro players to stay an extra season.
Another year, and March Madness run, would help Elijah Hughes’ draft stock. Maybe he would have been more willing to stay for another year if he could make some money on the side. Trishton Jackson went undrafted after foregoing his final year of eligibility. An endorsement deal couldn’t have hurt in keeping him at SU for another season.