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The Weekly Open: Josh Rosen is Here to Fix the NCAA

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NCAA Football: Texas A&M at UCLA Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the Weekly Open, a new weekly thread we’re trying here during these long summer months.

The goal of the Weekly Open is to provide you, the savvy reader/commenter/smart person who came to this website a place to just hang out. Most of our comment sections are directly related to the article in question, and usually stay as on-topic as possible, so we wanted to create a space where you can just hang out for the week, talk about whatever you want to talk about, regardless if it involves UCLA or not.

Remember, as always, adherence to both the Bruins Nation Community Guidelines and the larger SBNation Community Guidelines will still be required.

In the larger sports world, we’ve officially hit the dog days of summer. The Greatest World Cup Ever* finished up on Sunday with Les Bleus hoisting the trophy, which means we can all stop paying attention to soccer until next summer when the Women’s World Cup kicks off. Baseball is now in the All-Star break, and all eyes are now turned to the trade deadline. Summer League basketball is as boring and inconsequential as ever, unless you’re a Lakers fan in which case HELL YEAH BACK TO BACK SUMMER LEAGUE TITLES ARE COMING AND LEBRON CAME TO SUPPORT THE TEAM WE’RE WINNING IT ALL THIS YEAR! There’s the Tour de France, which at the very least has given me options for what to watch on TV. Football doesn’t kick off for a few more weeks.

In short, it’s now hot and there isn’t much going on.

Which means we can take our time and talk about things that actually matter, Like Josh Rosen’s proposal to fix the NCAA and pay the players.

There’s a lot in the proposal, which is on a 39 page PDF which you can find here. The video above gives a basic outline of the plan, however, which to bullet point, looks something like this:

  • Individual student-athletes are able to profit from the use of their names and likenesses. This would enable the use of student names and likenesses on jerseys, trading cards, video games (aka bringing back the NCAA Football and Basketball series), and the like. Theoretically, this would also include sharing in TV revenue, which makes sense.
  • All the money earned through this system goes through a separate entity, which for now is called the Clearinghouse. The Clearinghouse acts as an intermediary between agents/brands that want to use the player’s likenesses and the players themselves.
  • Players do not get access to this money until they graduate. Note that this is not leaving school, but actually graduating with a diploma. This is meant to incentivize student-athletes to stay in school longer and earn a degree, and acts as a good head-start for many athletes who go pro in something other than sports. The theory continues that if you’re leaving school early, it’s to immediately sign a million-dollar+ contract that would make your earnings from this system unnecessary.
  • This system would keep student-athletes as amateurs under the NCAA model, and actually works within that model. Athletes would become ineligible for receiving money for things such as becoming permanently ineligible to compete in NCAA athletics (such as for working directly with an agent) or committing various felony offenses.
  • Finally, the system is designed to take some of the money from these endorsements in order to create a general scholarship fund, which will be used to funnel financial aid into the communities that produce the athletes, many of which tend to be lower on the economic spectrum than others.

There is more nitty-gritty that I left out, but that’s the general idea, and there’s a lot of well thought-out ideas in here, which should come as no surprise considering the source. During his time at UCLA, Josh Rosen demonstrated that he clearly belonged to one of the best traditions of UCLA athletics: that of the articulate, smart student-athlete looking to create a better world for others. That Rosen is still looking for a way to help student-athletes after graduating and leaving for the NFL is just the latest sign that fixing a broken system is important to Rosen.

As Rosen noted, this is still not a perfect system. I can already see how this system would leave non-revenue sports out in the cold, as it was designed with football (and basketball) in mind, though the Title XI section does essentially state that one other women’s sport would get in on the plan alongside football and both men’s and women’s basketball. The allocation of funds may also be tweaked at a point depending on feedback, especially with administrative costs taking up 25% of all income from deals, and there is a potential for corruption with the Clearinghouse that isn’t addressed in the proposal. But as a first step, this is a very good idea.

The biggest downside is that there is no way the NCAA ever seriously considers this proposal. As-is, the NCAA has no financial incentive to even consider doing business differently or treating student-athletes fairly, but at the very least presenting a coherent and mostly non-objectionable plan puts more pressure on the organization to do something of substance. The tide has turned on the paying-players debate; Josh Rosen just presented an option that theoretically would make both sides happy.

This is your weekly open thread, have fun.

Go Bruins!