Basketball fever will soon be unleashed, as college basketball's annual "March Madness" tournament nears. Nearly 70 of the best NCAA Division 1 (D1) teams will play in the "big dance" elimination tournament, where anything can happen — and often does.
Only this year, college basketball finds itself in a precarious place. An FBI investigation that was revealed last month rocked the sports world. The details uncovered some of the most well-known, highly respected programs participated in a pay-for-play operation filled with allegations of widespread bribery and corruption.
For years, there have been calls for reforms to college sports, amid pleas by players to receive compensation for efforts that have earned millions of dollars for schools and universities across the country. While universities are currently permitted to provide a free education for student-athletes in the form of scholarships, the NCAA model is based on the idea of amateurism.
The NCAA has established a committee to fix college basketball. Last October, NCAA president Mark Emmert announced former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will lead the committee to clean up college basketball.
It is a situation where nearly everyone wins – except the student-athletes, some say.
Patrick Rishe, director of the sports business program at Washington University of St. Louis, told CNBC recently that student athletes should be allowed "under the supervision of an NCAA clearing house (or conference clearing houses if more manageable), to earn endorsements for their name, image, and likeness from corporate endorsers. The clearing house would work as middle men or agents between student-athletes and corporations looking to work with these athletes."
Rishe said that to receive their full endorsement earnings during their sophomore year, they must maintain a minimum grade point average (GPA), and complete their sophomore year in its entirety.
"These payments aren't coming out of the university's pockets...so it does not raise costs for schools, and does not impact Title IX," he said, adding that such a system would entice some student-athletes to stay in school longer than they otherwise would.