Michael Drake, chairman of the NCAA Board of Governors (286544)

The National Collegiate Athletic Association was founded in 1910, roughly one year after the 1909 founding of this publication. Over a century later, they remain determined to maintain a proverbial stranglehold on the economic freedom of their member school student-athletes.

On Tuesday, Oct. 29, the NCAA did what was inevitable when their Board of Governors voted unanimously to allow student-athletes to profit from their images, names and likenesses.

“We embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes,” said Michael Drake, chairman of the board and president of Ohio State University, in a statement. “Additional flexibility in this area can and must continue to support college sports as part of higher education.”

After a measure was passed and signed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom in late September permitting college athletes to receive endorsement deals beginning on Jan. 1, 2023, the NCAA leadership and many college administrators, as expected, threw a hissy fit, vowing to fight the law all the way to the Supreme Court.

In theory, a plethora of those opponents of college athletes benefiting from a capitalistic economic system that has made them handsomely wealthy is the epitome of hypocrisy. Their argument, they are seeking to do what is in the best interest of student-athletes, is misleading in its fundamental premise and a lie when deeply examined. They have, among other points, repeatedly put forth that paying athletes would in effect hurt non-revenue generating sports such as tennis and water polo.

The fact is that basketball and especially football are the lifeblood of college athletics and by extension the NCAA, bringing in billions of dollars, notably from television contracts. And it is the athletes, mostly Black athletes, who are responsible for the millions of viewers that produce enormous ratings and earnings for networks and the NCAA, as well as piles of money for individual colleges.

The non-generating sports would still survive at most institutions. They have been sustained by football and basketball and in some instances have been cut at many colleges due to budget constrains unrelated to basketball and football.

The farce will finally end and at last college athletes will have the control they should have long held over their own names, likeness and image.