If you stay up to date on economic news then you’re aware of the biggest financial story of the last year; cryptocurrency. It is a decentralized way to process financial transactions that is taking the world by storm. The idea is simple: take away the government’s control over the valuation of money and put it in the hands of the public. In fact, this idea stretches far beyond the financial world, with new industries like cloud computing, looking to become more decentralized each day.
So, is it time to decentralize College Sports and remove the NCAA’s full control over student athletes?
According to NCAA president Mark Emmert, the recent supreme court ruling allowing student athletes to profit off their names and likeness opens the door to potentially “rethinking” how college sports are governed. During a short interview with a group of reporters, Emmert said, “We need to be ready to say, 'Yeah, you know, for field hockey, field hockey is different than football. Wrestling is different than lacrosse,' and not get so hung up on having everything be the same,”. Referring to how all college sports are governed by the same set of rules, and how they deserve more autonomy in determining their own restrictions.
Emmert also mentioned that the individual schools and programs themselves should be allowed to determine what their players and teams can and can't do. He stressed how sports programs mean different things for different schools and therefore they should not be limited to the views of a third governing party like the NCAA.
Emmert is not the first to speak out about removing the NCAA’s controlling power over college sports, although his position as NCAA president makes his statements all the more compelling and potentially impactful. In fact, there is an ongoing effort, led by the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, to remove college football completely from the NCAA’s scope. Following the recent supreme court’s decision on NIL(Name, Image, and Likeness) laws, it may be the time to begin seriously considering decentralizing the land of college sports.
Given the NCAA’s long history of rejecting reform and fighting to preserve more than “considerable” control over student athletes, it is fair to say that we are a long way from a decentralized sports landscape. Even President Emmert was careful to stress he was not mandating nor even recommending that the NCAA make these changes, simply that the idea of offering schools more freedom over their programs is one worth considering.
With the world trending towards a more decentralized society, led by the movement in cryptocurrency, governing bodies like the NCAA must consider their roles in the future of their industries. It is only a matter of time until the major schools across the country begin demanding more control over their multi-million dollar sports programs. The uncertainty lies in which schools will be brave enough to lead the charge towards a more decentralized landscape.
Which programs will lead us into this new era and serve as the metaphorical Bitcoin of decentralized college sports. Only time will tell.