Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick and university president John I. Jenkins called for several major changes to college sports Thursday in a New York Times editorial.
The editorial warned that “College athletics is in crisis,” blaming the uncertainty surrounding NIL regulation, and the possibility that college athletes will be classified as employees, which Swarbrick expects will happen soon.
Swarbrick and Jenkins suggested two groundbreaking changes they say can help save college athletics: They say the NFL needs to create a minor league, and that the NBA needs to ends its “one-and-done” rule prohibiting high school players from directly entering the league.
“Professional athletics must play a role, too,” the editorial states. “Though baseball and hockey allow players to go pro right after high school, the NBA age requirement for draft eligibility forces most of the highly talented players to attend one year of college. The NFL offers no alternative to intercollegiate football until a player has been out of high school for at least three years. Both policies push talented young players to enroll in college regardless of whether they have any interest in the educational experience it offers.
“To ensure that players arrive at college only after making an informed choice — and a real commitment to learning — we urge the NFL to establish a minor league alternative for young players. Similarly, we hope that the NBA and its Players’ Union, in accord with the 2018 Commission on College Basketball, use the upcoming contract negotiations to eliminate the “one and done” rule and allow 18-year-olds to proceed directly to the league.”
Swarbrick and Jenkins mentioned several other possible changes at the collegiate level, including a policy to limit teams’ travel, and thus disruption of class time; the creation of a medical trust fund to help injured college athletes; and honoring scholarships of players whose eligibility has expired.
Sports fans reacted negatively to the suggestions.
Seems hard to believe NFL owners would fund a minor league when they already have one that doesn’t cost them anything: college football. Also not sure minor league football would be profitable; non-NFL pro football leagues in U.S. haven’t thrived and NFL Europe was not a success. https://t.co/vedZBoJk7l
— Michael McCann (@McCannSportsLaw) March 23, 2023
So silly. There already is a NFL minor league. It’s called the SEC.
— Ray Salomone (@RaySalomone) March 23, 2023
Seems hard to believe they said this with a straight face.
— Darren Heitner (@DarrenHeitner) March 23, 2023
“They also believe the NFL should create a minor league for young players”. You mean they said that with a straight face? That’s laughable, the NFL already has a minor league at no cost. It’s called NCAA College Football. #NIL #NCAA # https://t.co/siszpiTxl7
— Tom Greisch (@tjgreisch) March 23, 2023
While it may shift the competitiveness landscape, I fail to see evidence that NIL is having serious negative impacts directly upon athletic departments and their budgets.
— Robbie Jay (@Robbiejay84) March 23, 2023
This is like when the police do internal investigations on themselves
— 2 Birds and a 3rd (@2birdsand3rd) March 23, 2023