Josh Rosen is pushing a plan for compensation for NCAA athletes.

Submitted by Mr Miggle on July 16th, 2018 at 8:44 AM

It sounds very sensible to me, without the the obvious drawbacks of some other ideas that have been kicked around. It doesn't ignore Title IX and doesn't aim to blow up college athletics. While it doesn't address everything, that would be too much to expect of any single plan.



July 16th, 2018 at 9:03 AM ^

Totally for this. With the provision (I'm picky like this) that we call it giving athletes more compensation, since they get quite a lot now, particularly any football player that isn't a giant star. 


July 16th, 2018 at 12:15 PM ^

that's cool and I get that. I see red when people state, with zero actual evidence, that athletes are taken advantage of and not compensated. And that is objectively untrue. 
Until they stop doing that, I'll keep pointing out the facts that football athletes are treated as kings on campus, get tons of free benefits, and actual compensation. 

Still totally on board with Rosen's proposal.


July 16th, 2018 at 4:58 PM ^

Not all the athletes are treated as kings, and in fact most aren't.  They get some benefits, yes, but as has been documented in many places, even leaving out school they have more than full time jobs in football as well as risking their health every week.  Oh, and also the vast majority are not compensated.  Much like top draft picks, pretty much only the highly skilled get compensated.

I love it when people base their opinions on assumptions and personal bias....


July 16th, 2018 at 2:52 PM ^

The whining about how worthless a Div 1 scholarship package is will never cease to make me see red.  Ask all the parents who plot and scheme and pray for scholarships of any kind how "worthless" a full ride is.  Yes, there are some programs that steer their athletes into choices that will merely keep them eligible and do nothing for their education.  (Footnote Dexter Manley graduating from college while remaining a functional illiterate.)  That's on the school and on the athlete.  If you're "too cool to play school" (and even Cardale Jones wised-up before he left for the NFL), you're the one whol pissed away the opportunity.


July 16th, 2018 at 5:01 PM ^

Straw man.  No one sensible is saying it's worthless, they're saying it's not enough based on how much revenue is generated by student athletes in the big sports.  It's out of whack, it's been well documented here, and I'd rather see athletes better compensated than more meaningless jobs created and CEOs, commissioners and coaches making millions and millions more over time (most of them lacking equivalent skill).


July 16th, 2018 at 7:13 PM ^

The point is that the education is not the compensation that a lot of the athletes are actually looking for. 

For one, an intensely rigorous education is less valuable to a person who has way less time to spend on academics because they are playing a sport.

For two, the academic requirements for D1 athletes is lower than the average student. There are therefore going to be many athletes that don't have the necessary knowledge base to succeed in that kind of academic situation. So for many, the education is inherently way less valuable. 


July 16th, 2018 at 9:05 AM ^

Its a plausible plan with a lot of details that ave to be sorted out.  But it seems doable.

This plan would remove some benefit of paying recruits up front, and thus even out some recruiting battles a little bit - so I have no doubt that a lot of southern (ahem) schools won't be in complete favor.  There will be lots of hemming and hawing about it, with coaches, ADs, and NCAA officials pontificating rather than sorting out details.  But I really doubt anyone will come straight out against it.  That would be a public relations boo-boo...

And then one considers the NCAA's bent on total control of everything, and its glacial pace of change. Maybe in 10 years we can have a real conversation about this.  I really hope it doesn't take that long, despite whatever plan might be put in place.

Pay them, somehow, already!!!

Mr Miggle

July 16th, 2018 at 9:48 AM ^

On big issues like player compensation I think it's important to realize that the NCAA has no real independent say. It's completely up to their member schools, where there has been a big split between the haves and have nots. The big schools pushed through cost of attendance payments.  

I don't think there is widespread opposition to players earning more money, per se. There is widespread opposition to proposals with unknown and possibly enormous long term financial obligations like free medical care for life. There is a big split between Power 5 and non-Power 5 schools on directly paying athletes more. There is widespread apprehension about any proposals that could blow up the current competitive balance or that gives the players real power. There is widespread opposition to anything that runs afoul of Title IX rules.

A viable proposal that avoids all of those concerns will be popular with schools. I think most ADs are pragmatists, not ideologues. The less drastic the solution, the more support it will have.


It's Always Marcia

July 17th, 2018 at 1:36 AM ^

One thing that better not happen if the players do get paid, is ticket prices better not go up to get money to them. It's all about video game profits right now, I'm seeing. If that is the case, then get laws passed to make the video game makers pay them---NOT THE FANS WHO GO TO THE GAMES AND WATCH ON TV. 


July 16th, 2018 at 9:21 AM ^

As someone who has been stubbornly against paying the players I like this idea.


It reads like an interpretation of the NHL rule for drafted players who stay at the amateur level. While obviously being different I think the most important aspect is the compensation being delivered AFTER college.

I dont see how there is anyway to give compensation based on an individuals ability to generate revenue however. I dont think this plan states that but I think that is when the "college" football feel leaves the game.

I think this would jump start the process of the super conferences. 


July 16th, 2018 at 9:23 AM ^

This actually isn't a bad start.  I'm just afraid that it opens the door for athletes to sue their coaches for lack of playing time, or sue their professors for bad grades.

The idea of keying payment to graduation would be a huge incentive.  But what about the fifth year players that are currently given the firm handshake rather than their fifth year.  The SEC would have to guarantee the opportunity to graduate like the B1G and other conferences do.


July 16th, 2018 at 10:54 AM ^

The problem with a Clearinghouse like this is that the Clearinghouse has too much power to direct lucrative endorsement deals to particular athletes. I think that students should be allowed to choose between the Clearinghouse and getting their own agent -- who would be required to put any deals consummated through the Clearinghouse.

I'm guessing that most agents have a fiduciary duty to their clients. Given the many clients the Clearinghouse would be serving -- and the fact that their salaries are paid by the NCAA -- I cannot imagine that the Clearinghouse would be able to live up to a fiduciary duty of loyalty.

I Like Burgers

July 16th, 2018 at 11:00 AM ^

Fifth year players have typically already graduated.  That's why they get the handshake.  They've already gotten their degree, they aren't really needed on the team anymore, so it makes sense.

And I like the idea of a Clearinghouse.  As long as its setup correctly and fairly it can also ensure that the athletes are getting proper and fair deals.

Mr Miggle

July 16th, 2018 at 11:38 AM ^

Unrenewed 5th year players shouldn't be much of a problem. Most have already graduated. Most of the remainder transfer to another school and finish the requirements to graduate from their former school.  5th year players that haven't graduated could be given the option of a one year academic scholarship, similar to the medical ones offered now. It wouldn't cost much. Most would still choose to transfer and play.


July 16th, 2018 at 9:27 AM ^

Players are compensated so much already this is ridiculous. Free education is just the start...... the benefits are vast. Healthcare, trainers, tutors, networking, gourmet meals, nutrition plans.... the list goes on. Compensation of players anymore than they already are is ridiculous. 


July 16th, 2018 at 1:00 PM ^

Something like 80% of D1 schools LOSE money on their football program.

Something like 80% of players, even on teams which turn a profit - are compensated well beyond their value added to the team.

Probably less than the top 5% of players are under compensated. If the top 30 teams were all making money, and we assumed 22 players per team were undercompensated - that would be about 5% of D1 players.

Mr Miggle

July 16th, 2018 at 4:24 PM ^

I'd question those assumptions. First, I'd be absolutely shocked if any Power 5 schools were not making money on football.

The accounting to back up profits and losses in college athletics is questionable, at best. There are no uniform standards for how revenues and expenses are attributed. Nor is there any incentive to show a profit.

In fact it's quite the reverse for ADs that do bring in a lot of cash. If their bottom line shows a big profit, then the school and players want a bigger share. And donors might cut back. A lot of Group of 5 schools carry D1 football programs with putative losses because they believe that having D1 football brings in more donations and valuable publicity.

If they were forced to show a profit in order to continue their existence, I'd bet the vast majority of D1 football programs would be able to.



July 16th, 2018 at 9:41 AM ^

I don't agree with you because of the time commitment. To be a successful student athlete in a sport like football, you basically need to be a machine.

I'd take some of that out of the equation. I'd make it so that any scholarship athlete is free to attend school, for as long as they want (Schedule and terms subject to approval) until they earn their degree. That way, those that sacrifice academics for athletics, and there still are a lot of those, can end up with a degree that is meaningful to them. 

As someone who tutored student athletes, I can tell you that almost all of them would benefit from a longer education track than they can qualify for under the current system.

I Like Burgers

July 16th, 2018 at 11:04 AM ^

Yeah, along with this clearinghouse idea, I'd also like to see the idea of them being able to defer their education.  Since sports like football require such a massive time commitment, and don't really allow you to chase whatever major you'd like, give the athletes an option of deferring their education to after they are done playing.  So 1 season of playing a sport = 2 semesters of education when you actually have time to focus on that.

For the whole "their education is their payment" crowd, allow them to actually use that payment to the fullest if they choose to do so.


July 16th, 2018 at 9:47 AM ^

I have to agree that the idea that they are some terribly exploited group with no return for their effort is ridiculous. I read an article that said the services the average power 5 program providers would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. They aren't getting paid, but their experience of college isn't exactly like everyone else's. That said, I do think pooled endorsements are a good idea.


July 16th, 2018 at 10:09 AM ^

I think you are generalizing greatly when saying they are not terribly exploited. The top 10-15% of student athletes in the revenue sports are absolutely exploited (think how much money Denard could have made during his time at UM if he got a portion of what the school made off him). However, I think the players who will never play professionally and have the opportunity to earn a degree are not exploited similar to the top guys. 

I agree with you on the endorsements. How hard would it be for the NCAA to allow all student-athletes to make money from their namesake? Title IX wouldn't matter because anyone is able to make money from it; but it would give power to the students, which the NCAA would never go for. I think this model allows the players to make that money while also not gaining power as they have to graduate to actually receive it - plus, bring back the video games!


July 16th, 2018 at 10:42 AM ^

I think it’s much more complex than you think. For starters, only about 2% of college football players end up going pro so the likelihood of 15% of the players being exploited is, more likely than not, inflated. Using an exception like Denard doesn’t necessarily disprove the rule. 

One issue that you will run into is that you’re essentially legalizing bagmen. So you allow players to earn money based on their namesake and earn endorsements. Is that going to be unregulated? If not, who regulates it? Is Phil Knight allowed to sign every 5 star prospect out of high school to a $2 million dollar Nike endorsement deal? If not, why? If he offers it to them while they’re in high school do they receive the money up front since they aren’t yet under the NCAA purview?

My point is that there is an incredible amount of uncertainty and unintended consequences of this stuff. I’m not necessarily against compensating them in some way but I also realize that people will undoubtedly try to game the system in any way they can. 

Lastly, to say that these kids aren’t compensated currently is a complete misnomer. And I know that for a fact. I used to intern for the University of North Dakota program in the operations department. I’ve personally balanced the books and collected the receipts associated with these programs. You would not believe the perks that they are afforded, particularly the hockey program there. The hockey team for instance, only high end restaurants. Only high end hotels. Chartered flights. Gear? Here’s a magazine, pick whateber you want. After the season you keep everything and you can reorder next year. 


July 16th, 2018 at 10:58 AM ^

You bring up good points and I can I see what you're saying with boosters steering kids based on endorsements. However, those should be strictly regulated by the NCAA to ensure the student-athlete can sign the endorsement contract prior to picking a school or that it is not offered until after they sign with a school. Obviously, back channels are available but with no agents I assume dealing directly with parents and students would be a much more high-risk venture. 

I think the other side of the coin is to strictly enforce severe punishments on schools not playing by the rules. If a coach has the ability to have a booster pay kids now, there are almost no consequences for it. In this model, the consequences of kids receiving money in return for playing at specific schools should land the coach a show-cause penalty plus fines, as well as a similar punishment on the booster (maybe the company is barred from signing athletes who go to that school for 3 years or so). These punishments would make it so high risk that the reward is not worth it. There is no perfect system for this. If the people with money want the kids with no money to play at their school then it is generally going to happen - not paying players because of it doesn't solve the issue. 

I am sure these kids get compensated with things other students don't; but its a business. If a company is sending 85 of their most important employees to a conference, they go all out and pay for a bunch of frivolous stuff - why should we treat athletes different when they are pretty clearly employees of the team/athletic department? 


July 16th, 2018 at 11:28 AM ^

Here’s the problem though, they aren’t employees. You can’t just call someone an employee but only offer them the benefits of employment without any of the consequences. If the players are employees can their employment be terminated? 

If a player receives an endorsement deal and 2 years later commits a crime can the company then sue the player for a breach of contract? Can the company force a player to miss school to make an appearance at a company event? If a player signs an endorsement deal with Nike but the team is sponsored by Adidas can Adidas sue the school if the player wears Nike gear during the games for breach of contract? Would the player be sued or lose his endorsement deal from Nike if he didn’t wear the Nike gear? Could the school sue the player or terminate them if he didn’t comply with them to wear the adidas gear? 

i know I’m being critical and I’m honestly not a “get off my lawn” type.  I think the players should be compensated in some additional way but I also don’t think there’s necessarily a good answer to this problem. 

The only fair way I can see this working is if you required every school to give X percentage of their revenue into a pot and each player on every roster would see a pro-rata share of the fund if they complete their education and graduate. Outside of something like that I think you’re going to have a ton of unforeseen problems come up that you have no solutions for. 


July 16th, 2018 at 11:59 AM ^

All these points are simply things that Rosen's plan doesn't call out specifically but could very easily be discussed and a consensus agreed upon. So bringing up points that haven't yet been discussed and painting them as "flaws in the plan" is a bit disingenuous.

The problem with giving every college player X percentage of revenue is that 99% of college sports don't actually generate positive revenue. They simply cost money. Why should a lacrosse player get paid when they aren't generating revenue and only the men's football and basketball teams are? Plus, a lot of the revenue generated by these "big" sports are used to pay for all the other non-revenue generating sports, so having schools pay players removes funds that would go toward other sports.

Rosen's plan solves this problem because it eliminates the schools from the payment process. It also addresses the argument that players are "employees" of the school athletic department and deserve a share of the general revenue. Just let each player earn personal gigs based on how good at the sport they are. This way schools don't have to say that all athletes deserve a share of the pot (when they clearly don't) and schools also don't have to say that athlete A deserves money but athlete B doesn't. Schools get to stay neutral. No "participation trophies". And money gained is heavily earned by hard work and skill plus study time and attending class. 


July 16th, 2018 at 12:07 PM ^

All good points and I don't have the answers to those questions, though I would argue that calling them employees or not is mainly semantics. They do a job for the school who provides them with exceptional benefits but also profits greatly from their work. Them not being able to terminate under performing players for four years is the difference; but they also won't lose exceptional players for at least 3 years. 

I assume the NBA  & NFL have similar issues that they have dealt with - but I would say it would work similar to employee upgrading their equipment at work. The company provides a standard set of equipment, if you upgrade, its on your dime - the players would just have deals so their upgrades are covered. The school has a deal with a company (obviously not as ludicrous as the deals they have now) and the school will provide everything for the players through this company. If a player has an endorsement, they can wear that gear (excluding jerseys due to uniform rules). You're basically talking visors, gloves, wristbands, socks, & shoes - those are up for grabs for the players to get from companies they sign with.

Yes, the endorser should be able to treat the player just as any other person who endorses their product. Players are already forced to miss school because of athletic events, but no I don't think so - the player will have to work it into their schedule without detracting from school - they can't play if they aren't eligible. 

I appreciate your input, I used to be on the other side of the scale and think college athletes should be happy with what they were getting. Then I graduated and wasn't a poor college kid anymore and could empathize with players not making as much money as possible for their skills. I think most people agree that the players should be paid for their abilities but currently no one has come up with a way how that everyone can agree on; probably due to the issues you rise here. 


July 16th, 2018 at 1:38 PM ^

Yeah I hope they can find a way to make something work for these kids. My point is just that the devil is definitely in the details on these things. I think Rosen has the framework of something that could work but it’s true viability won’t be realized until those details are settled. 

Very good discussion though. Nice to be able to discuss these things without people jumping down others’ throats. 

It's Always Marcia

July 16th, 2018 at 10:08 AM ^

I wish I had a free nutritionist. Ben Herbert isn't cheap either. And they get all that free teaching from Jim Harbaugh, Don Brown, etc., and now, Ed Warinner, who might get a few of them into the pros that wouldn't have. Not cheap either. Honestly, I don't think they are being shortchanged in any way.

And they won't have the burden of paying off student loans for years. Things look pretty good for them already.


July 16th, 2018 at 1:21 PM ^

I always feel like people with these type of opinions either have zero competitive bone in their body or have never really competed at a high level in anything physical. Athletes yes, they do get compensated greatly for going to a university, but they aren't there to go to school.


I don't care what degree a 6 foot 4 300 pound African-American with dreadlocks and Tattoos gets, or where that degree is from, the business world isn't exactly going to accept them.


if you want to see young student-athletes who are there to go to school and play football, then watch a D3 every Saturday.


College football is similar to greyhound racing. We use those players up and get the most enjoyment, the most wins out of them, and then when their time is up, we forget about them and they're thrown back into the world where they typically are left to be forgotten and wanted.


I watch sports to see athletes compete at the highest level. I want to see the biggest fastest strongest guys, maybe not the most intelligent guys, I don't want to see you and murderers and rapists, but I want to see athletes. I want to be entertained. Football players basketball players, whatever, they're strictly there for our enjoyment. They bringing incitement to the school as far as atletics, and competition, but they are there solely for my enjoyment, your enjoyment, or anyone's enjoyment, who pours money into watching them. That is what they are there for, so they should be compensated for providing entertainment for all of us.


July 16th, 2018 at 9:33 AM ^

Not a bad idea, though as noted it has some flaws that would need to be ironed out.  For example, I get nervous when guys aren't eligible for money they earn unless they graduate; to me, that money has been awarded already and players should be able to get it as soon as they leave school regardless of the circumstances.  But I think any option that lets athletes receive a piece of the money they generate, that works for me.


July 16th, 2018 at 9:36 AM ^

Wouldn't this only benefit big schools with lots of appeal? The smaller schools with less athletic appeal would never get big time recruits. Kids would see where the money was being doled out and continue to filter there. 

Mr Miggle

July 16th, 2018 at 10:05 AM ^

No and I'm curious as to your reasoning.

1. Big schools with lots of appeal already have a big advantage. Suggest a proposal that doesn't favor those schools.

2. Anything involving revenue sharing or Power 5 schools breaking away would tilt the balance more in their favor..

3. Who would make more under this plan, a star at San Diego State or a depth player at Alabama? This would actually give a financial incentive for recruits to consider smaller programs.


July 16th, 2018 at 12:44 PM ^

I'm not talking small schools, I'm talking about your Oregon St, Minnesota, Kansas St, Vanderbilts, etc.... Star players don't typically stay 4 - 5 years, so those guys wouldn't be an issue. The issue would be those guys getting the ad space, and notoriety, and by association to the school getting more visibility. These schools would then get the other kids who become 4 - 5 year grad's because they are behind the studs who leave after 3 years. If you are very good and go to your top 25 programs, which really name recognition wise are only a consistent 15 teams, they would benefit the most. Top 4 or 5 schools from the power 5 conferences would benefit the most, thus creating a bigger gap. Look at Michigan for example. We are a name brand, and we honestly haven't been great in a long time, but look at State, who has had some success the past 10 years, but which school has a better ad revenue potential for a budding star player? 

Mr Miggle

July 16th, 2018 at 12:50 PM ^

Have you looked at recent recruiting classes? They are already tipped very strongly in favor of the top programs. I see nothing in this proposal that would push it any further. If you're a high 4* recruit, your name recognition will probably be higher if you pick Purdue over Ohio State.


July 16th, 2018 at 1:41 PM ^

You failed to acknowledge my example of State compared to Michigan. How many players from that school get any national pub? Winning only matters to an extent. You don't get National appeal from being a top recruit, you get national appeal for being a top recruit at Alabama, OSU, USC, Michigan, or the like. Shea Patterson has gotten more publicity since transferring to Michigan, than he did while playing at Ole Miss. Kids will see this and it will create a bigger divide in the college landscape. JMO, but that is a big hindrance to an idea like this. Big teams in big markets will have another recruiting tool. We can market you better than Arizona St, so come play here. 

Mr Miggle

July 16th, 2018 at 2:02 PM ^

That's because I don't understand your point. Michigan easily outrecruits MSU now, do they not? 

Every Harbaugh QB recruit has been higher rated than any of MSU's under the current system. That's broadly true across CFB. Do you really think this would make it worse? The starter at MSU will be a lot more marketable than the backup somewhere else. Wouldn't this help MSU and similar schools?

Endorsement money for college athletes will be primarily local. What percentage of pro athletes get national endorsements other than shoe/apparel companies? It's got to be far closer to 0% than to 1%. I see no reason to think it would be different for college athletes.

What percentage of Shea Patterson's publicity came from his battle with Ole Miss/NCAA? The starting QBs at the top programs will always be marketable. That's a handful of players. Patterson would have been at one already if not for Ole Miss hiring his brother.

Mr. Elbel

July 16th, 2018 at 10:37 PM ^

This. There's some money to be made, even at smaller schools. They aren't getting the big recruits now anyway without bagmen. If you're a starter at Vanderbilt or even a group 5 school, you can be the man in that region. And though you won't pool in millions, there's still ad revenue to be made. It's not like they don't advertise unless you're a blue blood.


Under this system, at least some money is put aside for each billboard put up with a player on it. If you're a kid who has the choice to play right away and be "the man" in Mt. Pleasant, there's incentive to do that under these rules. If you can't start in ann arbor, go start at a smaller school. That incentive was always there, but now it might come with some actual money behind it.


So maybe it does push the bigger recruits who were already not going to smaller schools even further away, but decisions become murkier for low 4* and 3* recruits without big offer sheets or who are being brought in with top 247 recruits in the same class and might find themselves shelved deep into a depth chart.


July 16th, 2018 at 11:35 AM ^

Well for starters, big time recruits rarely, if ever go to small-time schools with the current system.

I don't see how this plan would alter this dynamic much. It's not the schools who are actually paying players, so it doesn't matter how big the school is or how much revenue they pull in each week. This model is solely about the players earning money based on their own image/likeness. Personal endorsement deals, being included in a video game, placed on the cover of a magazine or something, etc. So it would only really target a small percentage of college players each year while leaving the door open for technically anyone to participate, assuming they're good enough to earn some kind of endorsement deal or whatever.

Plus this type of plan eliminates the issue of paying ALL student athletes at the same rate since the school itself isn't the one paying the players. 

If you're good enough to earn an endorsement deal, or be included in a game, then you should be able to get compensated for it. If you're not good enough, you don't get paid. Simple. Plus the graduation incentive would actually help the NCAA backup their rather dubious claim of "student-athlete".


July 16th, 2018 at 12:12 PM ^

I mean, that's how life has been for smaller programs for decades now.  But as noted, this would allow guys in smaller towns with smaller programs to benefit from their likeness on a smaller scale.  Like, if you are the star player at Ohio U, you could still get access to some local marketing and notoriety.  


July 16th, 2018 at 9:52 AM ^

I don’t really see how this changes the issue of funneling players to major programs and major sports.

 It also adds another question of how long does this money get locked up for?  Whatever company the money comes from has to have it available for the athlete upon graduation but do they have to graduate within a certain number of years? Or could they come back 70 years later at 90 years old and want their money?

I Like Burgers

July 16th, 2018 at 11:10 AM ^

Who said funneling players to major programs and major sports was a concern?  The vast majority of top players have always gone to top schools, and they will always continue to go to top schools.  No amount of legislation is going to change that.

And the payment part is pretty simple.  A company has to pay the athlete like they would normally per the terms of their agreement.  Instead of that money going immediately into the athlete's account it goes into some sort of general bank account, gathers interest, and then when the athlete is eligible for the money upon graduation, they get whatever they've built up in their account.

If they don't graduate, then that goes into a general scholarship fund.  Pretty straightforward.