College athletes have the power to destroy the NCAA.
All it would require is an agreement to join the revolution.
What if three weeks from today, the day before the college football season began, every athlete held an event where every single player signed his autograph and sold it to willing fans?
The NCAA restriction on paying players would die on the spot.
Because the NCAA isn’t suspending every college football player in America the day before the season begins.
There’s too much money at stake.
So the NCAA powers that be would rush back together and announce that there was an exception to the autograph rule when organized protest was involved. Trust me, they would. College football fans would shake our heads at the ridiculousness of the NCAA’s power grab.
You would never be able to put that genie back into the bottle again.
The NCAA’s rules would crumble one by one.
Now, the NCAA’s rules may crumble over the currently pending player likeness suit anyway, but this protest would accelerate the NCAA’s collapse. A collapse, mind you, I’ve been writing about ever since the first class-action lawsuit was filed against the NCAA.
Four years ago, long before anyone else realized what trouble the NCAA was in over these lawsuits, I wrote this:
"Here’s the crux of the (lawsuit) in four sentences: The NCAA prohibits players from being paid anything for their participation in collegiate athletics. Yet if the NCAA appropriated player likenesses on these video games then they must pay something of value to the players whose images they appropriated. Only then they’ll be paying players for their participation in collegiate athletics. Yep, the NCAA will be violating NCAA rules on amateurism.
What’s the end result? If the NCAA follows their procedures, the entire NCAA record book for the past 11 years would have to be wiped clean because every player featured on the video games accepted improper benefits.
You want to go even further down the rabbit hole? How about the NCAA being forced to investigate the NCAA for violating NCAA rules? How delicious would college coaches find this? Fans? Everyone who has ever thought that the NCAA rules on amateurism didn’t make a lick of sense?
So I don’t think the NCAA and EA can settle and I don’t think this case will get dismissed. Meaning gird up for an interesting ride on the class-action express. After all the outrage provoked by their policies over the years, wouldn’t it be the ultimate dose of irony if being greedy over a video game upset the NCAA apple cart? If the NCAA itself became the most egregious violator of NCAA amateurism rules?"
That was written four years ago and since that time the lawsuits have progressed and the NCAA has continued to receive body blow after body blow.
Remember, the reason the NCAA doesn’t want players to make any money off their likenesses is because that means the NCAA and its member institutions have a monopoly on making money off the player likenesses. This is the ultimate in do as I say not as a I do leadership.
That’s why eventually most dictatorships crumble under the weight of their arbitrary and capricious notions of justice.
And make no mistake about it, the NCAA is a dictatorship, taking the fruits of athlete labors, creating a monopoly, and building gilded headquarters on those ill-gotten gains.
For a long time the NCAA has ruled over individual players with an iron fist.
But now we see that fist is made of ice cream, and melting as we speak.
That means the players have the power. Right now the NCAA is a house of cards, an illegitimate governing system that is poised to collapse with the right push.
And the players can provide that push. All they have to do is organize and unite. And organizing and uniting has never been easier. With the power of Twitter and Facebook every NCAA athlete could quickly make a public pledge and encourage other players to join them.
There’s no reason to continue to submit to the governing authority of the Wizard of Oz. There’s no great and powerful ruler sitting behind the NCAA rules, it’s a figment of our imaginations. As "Game of Thrones," taught us, "Power resides only where men believe it resides It’s a trick, a shadow on the wall."
And no one with a functional mind believes the NCAA has power anymore.
The NCAA is a vapid and worthless construct waiting to be destroyed.
Do players believe the NCAA governs fairly? Do they believe that large institutions should make billions off their labor while they receive nothing? If they don’t, the power to end this rule forever is in their signatures.
So will the players ever have the onions to unite and slay the paper NCAA tiger?
I hope so.
Because if every football player sold his autographs on the same day, the NCAA would die.