Except it is only a scam for the highest Division 1 level basketball and football programs.
For all the other programs in other sports and other divisions, the NCAA rules make complete sense. You have colleges who have true amateur sports teams consisting of student athletes. They compete against other colleges for fun. Schools might want to give scholarships to particular students, who are primarily going to college to study, but also participate in competitive athletics on the side. Just like they give scholarships to other non-athletic students for similar reasons.
However, it would be competitively unfair if colleges hired professional athletes to be on their sports teams. It would be just like the Simpson’s episode where Mr. Burns hires the pro MLB players to join the company team. That actually happened in the past, and that’s where all these NCAA rules came from in the first place. Therefore, it is against the rules for players to be compensated directly or indirectly. If a pro level player really wants to go to a college team for them to win, it must be because they are at the school primarily to get an education.
The problem is that they are applying all these same rules to the few top level programs that are clearly professional leagues that rake in billions of dollars from various sources. The main inconsistency is that if these are truly amateur leagues and amateur players, why are they on television in the first place? nobody should be allowed to make money off of them, players or otherwise. They should only be allowed to be broadcast on the local school networks for no money. No advertising. No shoe deals. The school should not be allowed to generate income from the sport beyond covering the cost of running the program itself. The coaches should be paid about what the professors at the school are paid, and not millions.
Either that, or they should just become professional teams in a professional league. Why does the Duke basketball team have to be an amateur team of student athletes participating in the NCAA? Why can’t there just be a professional minor league team of players, who might not even be students at all, but simply is owned by the school and uses the school’s name and logo? Imagine if instead of having a team of student athletes a school simply owned and operated a professional minor league team. Nothing wrong with that.
The other problem is on the professional side. The NBA rules say that a player must be 19 or one year removed from US high school to be eligible for the draft. Basically, it’s the “one and done” rule. To be eligible for the NFL draft a person must be three years removed from high school.
Those rules must be changed so that any 18 year old adult who has the legal right to seek employment must be legally allowed to seek employment as a professional athlete. Imagine if my company had a rule that said nobody could seek employment here unless they were 3 years removed from high school. Isn’t that age discrimination?