This past Thursday, the NCAA approved legislation which would reclassify about 20,000 Division I student-athletes to be classified as “players” under new policies that award a certain amount of compensation to student-athletes. The total amount of compensation will be determined by regulations placed on athletic conferences in the coming weeks.
The new rules will be in place for all student-athletes during the upcoming academic year, and will apply to members of at least 40 major athletic conferences. This development, ironically, was touted by NCAA president Mark Emmert as a “setback” for student-athletes.
In the American Association of University Professors publication The Daily Pennsylvanian, Danielle James & James Skelly explain that not much has changed for student-athletes under the new proposal. Under the new proposal, student-athletes would only receive a $2,000 stipend, about the same amount they were receiving before, and that is presumably more than what student-athletes currently receive in additional stipends for off-campus medical expenses, as well as the $1,000 that student-athletes currently receive for a summer academic program as opposed to receiving a full year.
Nevertheless, the legislation moves student-athletes from being employees to being students and this development will likely be scrutinized by higher education administration as they try to increase income on the basis of a wage.
This development is not out of the ordinary for the NCAA as the organization has also resisted the idea of reclassifying student-athletes to full-time employees in the past.