College Athletes May Not Need Summer Jobs Soon

Playing college football or basketball is often a good way to get a scholarship; that is, if you make the cut. However, colleges and universities are often restricted from giving out cash and other incentives by the rules of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and that can severely limit their options. When pitted against well-established institutions, lesser known colleges find it hard to compete for available talent. Now that the NCAA’s rules on athlete compensation is being challenged, the playing field may soon become much more level.

Long-time sports and antitrust litigator Jeffrey Kessler has had notable success in negotiating reform in the National Football League (NFL) and National Basketball Association (NBA), but he is now turning his sights on amateur sports. College athletic programs can generate a lot of revenue for an institution. University of Texas, for example, generated more than $160 million last year from its athletic programs. Kessler filed a lawsuit against the NCAA to allow colleges to give some of that dough back to athletes for their contributions to the programs.

The NCAA has already received a boatload of criticism from the courts as well as the public for keeping college athletes on a short leash. If Kessler succeeds in pushing for an open market system for colleges to scout out the best available talent emerging from high schools, not only will the colleges become more competitive in sports, but the athletes will no longer have to juggle studies, sports, and a job. Moreover, since a majority of these athletes will never go on to become professional athletes, they will have an opportunity to make some real money now so that when they graduate, they will have a good start in life.

Kessler has managed to get past preliminary hearings, and a trial date is anticipated for 2015 barring any major problems.