Both the College Athletes Players Association and growing support for the Ed O'Bannon lawsuit are in the news today. As someone who has long advocated allowing players to take money from whoever wants to pay them as long as it doesn't affect the integrity of the results of games, I am happy to see this.
To me, this raises a question: "What if players were allowed to take money?"
In Ann Arbor, this question is most relevant to basketball fans due to impending player decisions, the current structure of the NBA draft and NCAA rules. Players who are guaranteed first round picks are giving up a lot of money to come back to school. But what if they didn't have to give up that money?
Imagine Nik Stauskas being allowed to accept booster money and endorsements. Does anyone here think he couldn't make more endorsement money next season as an elite colelge athlete than as an NBA rookie?
Stauskas could sign an individual apparel contract with Adidas. He could appear in regional commercials for national businesses such as Dick's Sporting Goods, which would present an opportunity for wordplay such as, "Nik's Sporting Goods." Toss in a restaurant or two, an automobile dealership and a few appearances at corporate outings during the summer, and Nik could do just fine in Ann Arbor next season.
This step alone could convince a lot of college players to stay around for four years, realizing that their level of fame will probably never be as high as when they are elite players in an elite program.
Iti will be too late for us to see what would have happened if Nik had stayed, but I think it will happen within the next five years. AFAIC, it can't happen soon enough.