The hypocrisy that permeates big-money college sports takes your breath away. College football and men’s basketball have become such huge commercial enterprises that together they generate more than $6 billion in annual revenue, more than the National Basketball Association…And what does the labor force that makes it possible for coaches to earn millions, and causes marketers to spend billions, get? Nothing. The workers are supposed to be content with a scholarship that does not even cover the full cost of attending college.

The New York Times has entered the discussion about the future of big time college sports. Joe Nocera wrote this lengthy piece two weeks ago, and has followed it up with a couple smaller op-eds since. Nocera presents a five point plan to change how football and men’s basketball are run:

  • Schools will bid on players
  • Each school will operate under a strict salary cap
  • Each player that stays in school for four years gets an additional two year scholarship to complete or extend their education
  • Each player receives lifetime health insurance
  • An organization would represent player interests for collective bargaining

There are flaws in the idea. While Nocera suggests a plan like this would eliminate recruiting violations, I could see it making things worse as coaches find ways to get around the salary cap.

But every plan to revamp college sports has shortcomings. I like that this addresses more beyond sharing revenues with the athletes. The fact it is in the Times, where it will be seen by university presidents and administrators, is important.

I think it’s worth the time to read and consider.