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Amateurism is done. Everyone can shut up about it now.

Amateurism is done. Everyone can shut up about it now.

The unathletic people in the athletic departments, power conferences and NCAA offices have made enough money. You did it, suits. Congratulations. What a run. Your system was making bank for decades and the fans fell for it. We all bought in, even though it never really made sense in the first place. Why can’t they make money on their own name and likeness again? Because they take classes? What does that even mean?

BuT tHeY gEt fReE ScHoOl aNd FrEe RoOm aNd BoArd!

Shut up. They should already get free school and free room and board because the program and the players before them literally built those buildings. They bought a shitload of boats and vacation homes for people with zero career minutes played, too.

It’s time we stop pretending there is some sanctity of college athletics to protect. That went out the window when the NCAA Tournament started bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars per year. Now we’re watching the system beg for its unpaid talent (its ONLY unpaid talent) to save everything. We have the media companies and universities on their knees begging for a way to get at least 22 student-athletes on a field to roll around chasing a ball, but it is too dangerous for students who can’t run, jump or read a blitz.

New ESPN story warns of “a devastating circumstance” if football isn’t played

But I thought they were just regular student-athletes, like everyone else their age on campus? Why not ask the freshman forestry class to come back and save everything? Can the art school not do it? Surely the science students can come back and keep the university afloat. After all, they’re scientists. No?

Oh wait… you need the athletes and ONLY the athletes. How ironic. Football players and basketball players just wanted a little slice of the pie (and it was a huge pie) before, but you couldn’t share. Now you need them for your budgets (and in some cases, your boat).

What a turn of events. This is quite a plot twist we’re witnessing. A “Look at me, I’m the captain now” situation.

Everything rides on getting the amateurs to amateur again for the fans’ entertainment before the well runs dry. There’s a virus trying to take down the world, and to save these athletic departments nationwide, administrators are going to ask the ones without money to make the money.

So who should be getting paid here?

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

75 Comments for Amateurism is done. Everyone can shut up about it now.

  1. dkcr96
    12:06 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

    Well done!

  2. JTHinton
    12:07 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

    Lot of fallacies here, but two things of note:

    1) As Aaron Torres always says, these guys already get “spending money” checks from the NCAA.

    2) Elite athletes benefit from this system just as much as the administrations; there’s no way Zion Williamson signs his massive $75 MILLION shoe deal if he doesn’t play at Duke! As for those who aren’t playing professionally, this system gives them an opportunity to escape generational poverty by getting their degree. Not everyone is an elite, D1 pro-going athlete!

    Athletes deserve to have their NIL rights, don’t get me wrong. And the NCAA has whiffed on this issue for years. But we cannot act like players get nothing out of this.

    • Drew Franklin
      12:09 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

      I know the basketball and football players aren’t walking around hungry but why is there a restriction on what they can do with their own name when they’re funding the whole damn thing? It worked for long enough.

    • JTHinton
      12:10 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

      Oh, I agree that they should be able to profit off their NIL as they see fit.

    • BallDontLie
      8:43 am May 22, 2020 Permalink

      Right. Some of these kids now are getting millions of views on youtube and Instagram before ever setting foot on a college campus. If they want to endorse a protein shake or whatever and get paid because their skills bring people to their page then why shouldn’t they be able to do that. There is not one legitimate argument against it. Not one.

    • hal9944
      7:43 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

      That check you are referring to is NOT a spending money check. Its a check that helps the players with the cost of living because they cant have normal jobs during college like other students who are non-athletic students.

      Its not a bonus check.

    • Middy
      3:18 pm May 22, 2020 Permalink

      That’s BS… Zion was going to get paid no matter what. Duke had nothing to do with. He had plenty of exposure playing NIKE EYBL. His Twitter following alone him high school would’ve gotten him paid. Zion went to Duke because he had to go somewhere. He didn’t get much out of it except a couple more highlight clips to an already impressive archive. Hell… he missed a good chuck of the season.

  3. 859bornandraised
    12:09 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

    Nice article

  4. IrishCat
    12:09 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

    Great perspective Drew. The end of college spirts as we know them has been on the horizon, now it might be in front of our faces. I’m not excited to see that happen, but it’s the inevitable outcome of a deeply broken and corrupt system.

  5. satcheluk
    12:17 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

    True dat!

  6. crazycatfan65
    12:19 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

    When did a FREE college education become worthless? How many of these student athletes leave college in thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt like most college graduates? College athletes get the best medical care money can buy, personal chefs, first class travel and 4-5 star hotels yet these “student athletes” are basically they only ones leaving college without student loan debt. Guess that doesn’t count for anything either huh?

    • IrishCat
      12:23 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

      It became worthless when ppl w/ bachelors degrees were expected to work for wages that can’t pay basic bills in most cities.

    • Drew Franklin
      12:25 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

      That line worked for decades but it’s done now. Justifying a personal chef and sharing a room with a teammate at a Hilton Garden Inn in Auburn as payment doesn’t work anymore.

    • UKFanSC
      12:31 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

      It isn’t exactly worthless, but nor is it commensurate with the financial benefits derived from the student athlete…. specifically football and basketball elite players and teams. These imbalances should self-correct in a free capitalist society. Value produced = value gained. Only self-serving NCAA rules prevented “the market” from correcting this long ago.

    • Han
      1:06 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

      There do have to be some rules, as the “free market” will always be abused by those who can.

    • UKFanSC
      1:51 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink


    • tncatrn
      1:36 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

      Scholarships arent worthless. Athletes work their asses off to get them. But there is no difference in them making money off of their likeness and my wife who worked at a bank and simultaneously went to WKU on a full accounting scholarship…No difference dude.

  7. satcheluk
    12:32 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

    The ideal of amateurism is based in racism/classism from Victorian England and came across the pond to early America. I studied it when I was in school and it’s quite interesting if you care to read up.

  8. Lip Man 1
    12:38 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

    Very well written piece.

  9. kentuckybackupplayer
    12:40 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

    It’s time to dump the NCAA, conferences should leave and have their own governing body and just work it out with the other conferences on the tournament and rules etc. Put all that money back into the students and schools instead of paying Emmert millions to promote greed.

    • JTHinton
      2:00 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

      There has to be some broader governing body but the NCAA just ain’t it.

  10. Lyle Evans
    12:48 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

    Scholarship athletes DO get compensation for their services: they get a college scholarship. Although the abundance of college degrees from all sorts of non-traditional providers has devalued the degree somewhat, it’s still true that college graduates earn significantly more in their lifetime than non-graduates. The problem is, and the cause for outrage is, everyone makes exactly the same amount of compensation. Price is not set by supply and demand. The Heisman winning QB is compensated exactly the same as the 3rd string Linebacker while the SCHOOLS make obscene profits. What the NCAA is saying now is, the schools are now RELYING on their huge athletics riches just to get by. As soon as schools are not free to unilaterally set the price of labor, most of them will not be able to compete where the market sets the price.

    • desertCard
      2:00 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

      Football and basketball make lots of money so other athletes can compete in so called minor sports. I played soccer at UK but without funding I wouldn’t have.

    • kykid16
      5:07 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

      I guess high school players will be next!

  11. TPACAT
    1:05 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

    You leftists enjoy your back-slapping party. When you destroy the very thing you claim to cherish you may pine for the good ‘ole days of “amateurism”…

    • MrPioneer
      1:16 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

      Nope. Conservative here. It’s well past due that these athletes start getting what they deserve. How can you justify these athletes not getting paid when they are the majority of the reason that their entire athletics program is staying afloat?

    • Gogh Big Bleu
      1:22 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

      And it’s not taking money away from the departments who make money off of their athletes… it’s allowing the athletes to create even *more* revenue by using their NIL. It’s not robbing Peter to pay Paul. It’s Paul creating another revenue stream… for himself.

    • JTHinton
      1:23 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

      I’m not sure this is a partisan issue; rather, an age issue. I know many, many young conservatives who are for paying college athletes.

    • IrishCat
      1:23 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

      Pretty rich when a conservative slams liberals for believing in a free market. I’m neither, by the way, and that ridiculousness right there is why.

    • justaregulardude
      1:27 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

      How is this a “leftist” issue? This is free market principles at work – as conservative as it gets. Those who can profit from their name and likeness, should and will. Those who can’t, won’t. Pretty simple economics.

    • tncatrn
      1:31 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

      Yeah conservative here too…big time. But this isn’t destroying anything. Now the “free college for everyone” schtick…yeah that’s a blackhole no one climbs out of and completely kills the job market and the value of education. But here is my point. My wife had a free ride to WKU. Board, meals, everything. They could…not…care…less if she made money on the side as long as it was legally gained. Tell me how that is different? She had no school debt. She worked hard in school. She makes good money now because of her education. The only difference is she was there for accounting and didn’t make the school a dime…these folks make the school millions! How is their scholarship worth so much more than hers that they are held to such a high standard for an “amateurism status”?

    • satcheluk
      1:40 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

      “You liberals seem to love a free market, so as a conservative’ I’ll choose to be against because I don’t have the mental bandwidth to process this logically.” Pick a philosophy, then stay consistent.

    • BellCat
      11:47 pm May 22, 2020 Permalink


    • BLUEDOUG65
      2:48 pm May 23, 2020 Permalink

      I love KSR and I really respect and appreciate what Matt and Drew and the gang have done in providing us a great forum for our passion of UK Sports. I don’t think this is an issue of liberal or conservative but wrong or right– I have no problem of said player having 1,000 jerseys sold with his number and name and him making some actual money off of it I just don’t know where or how you draw the line and they will blurr between pro and amateur’s and man a college education fro free is nothing to sneeze at I had to work my way through and then ran into hardship and couldn’t finish- but this is complicated . It could ruin college sports? I just don’t know what is the correct thing to do?

  12. UKLugo
    1:24 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

    Ouch. Scorching review.
    But a lot more people have made money off of college sports than ADs and the NCAA. It takes a lot of money to run the NCAA and fund so many programs and all that it entails, including the athletes. ADs and NCAA employees are not living glamorously because of it. They probably make what they deserve. The rest goes to keeping the machine running.
    If this is the end of amateurism, then I’d say it’s probably the beginning of the end of the NCAA. The equivalent of the the Holy Grail’s Black Knight getting his leg cut off. There will be blood and there will be no controlling it. I’m not sure how it will turn out… for better or for worse, but we won’t have the ADs and NCAA to blame for the “end of amateurism”. They are the easy scapegoat for those with the platforms- the dorks with journalism degrees that really haven’t played a minute of meaningful sport since the 8th grade who have the platform and use it to push to the masses what they believe is right and wrong. The media.

    • Cletis75
      11:23 am May 22, 2020 Permalink

      True! A lot of people have made more money off off these sports other than ADs and the NCAA. Most of them will continue to make money from it. The problem is that the NCAA is the group that has fought long and hard to keep the players under their thumbs and control.

  13. Golfnow11
    1:35 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

    The school should be paid for keeping 90% of these kids out of the system ! If they could not run, jump, kick they more then likely would be shooting in the hood and headed to prison! Sick of hearing how these athletes have life so, so tough !

    • MrPioneer
      3:22 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

      I think I speak for everybody here when I say that you are the absolute scum of the earth. What a miserable excuse for a human being.

    • satcheluk
      10:27 am May 22, 2020 Permalink

      Hopefully you are sterile Golfnow. We don’t need you in the gene pool any longer.

  14. eyebleedblue
    1:37 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink


  15. TonyMontana
    1:47 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

    The crazy part about it is the schools dont even need to pay the athletes. They athletes earn their own money, so its not like the schools will lose anything. If anything this will only help the schools. This has been a long time coming and this is the perfect time to start to fix everything. Good job Drew. A+

    • T-Town Cat
      3:06 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

      What happens when a player tells a coach he doesn’t have time to go to practice or class because he has to go cut a commercial or attend an autograph session? If he is getting paid well for his NIL, what leverage does the coach have?

    • justaregulardude
      3:32 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

      T-Town, the coach has the same leverage he’s always had. Sit his ass or cut him.

    • T-Town Cat
      5:52 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

      I’m just saying if all he cares about is making as much money as he can before he goes pro, he might not care what the coach does. What if it had been Davis or Wall or KAT, who knew they were going to be Lottery picks?

  16. herm89
    1:49 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

    Holy heck Drew cool it with the S-words, Matt’s mom could be reading this.

  17. Mc12
    1:50 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

    Should players on teams that cost the school money receive a full scholarship?

    • desertCard
      1:56 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

      And if they don’t don’t wouldn’t that just ace all programs except the elite Power 5 conf? So we whittle down the entire country to what 50 football teams that make money? Not everyone plays sports to go pro. A scholarship gives an opp to an athlete to get a degree he may not otherwise be able to afford.

  18. chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
    1:54 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

    This is news? Water is wet, the sky is blue.

  19. secrick
    2:34 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

    Drew, You need to be the one to shut up. Talking about ruining the game. If you want to be paid go to the NBA. If you want to play because you love the game go to college get your degree and let us enjoy watching because you do love the game. You don’t like the NCAA because they have rules, you want things to run amuck, kids doing what they want. Louisville lost a title because of NCAA rules and you loved it, now you want the kids to do what ever they want and it’s fine.

    • Drew Franklin
      2:46 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

      I’m not sure we’re even having the same conversation.

    • T-Town Cat
      3:03 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

      I think he is saying that basketball players have plenty of options to college if they want to be paid to play ball (NBA, G League, overseas, etc.). Let them do that and leave college to actual student-athletes that want to be there. To be fair, Football players don’t have as many options.

  20. kentuckybackupplayer
    2:54 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

    The people who are against players making money off of their image/likeness are the ones who don’t have a buyer for theirs.

  21. Headhurts
    3:00 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

    Me personally, I don’t pay for teenagers signatures but for those that do have at it, also This paying players will effect recruiting good and bad, trouble won’t be far behind just wait.

  22. T-Town Cat
    3:10 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

    Schools like USC, UCLA, and St. John’s will become relevant again because they will be able to offer many more NIL opportunities due to the size of the markets they’re in. Lexington can’t compete with Hollywood or the Big Apple.

  23. backbeatcat
    4:14 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

    T-Town – In those larger markets the college players will be competing with pro athletes for dollars and attention. A sports star in Lexington will have plenty of opportunity. They are literally the LARGEST celebrities in the area.

    • T-Town Cat
      5:54 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

      I hope you’re right. I just see this as becoming a recruiting tool for big city schools and places like Oregon (Nike).

  24. Ipeeblue
    4:29 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

    Dollar Store is hirig

  25. Ipeeblue
    4:30 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink


  26. nocode96
    4:35 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

    Well said. Great article.

  27. NOLAcat
    6:17 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

    lol, this is like one of those facebook posts that pops up from your weird anti-vaxxer friend that you read and think “that’s literally one of the dumbest things i’ve ever read,” and then you scroll down and see it has 30 likes.

  28. NOLAcat
    6:21 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

    including the one moron who always chimes in to say “well actually it all goes back to racism!” lolol.

  29. danielscott52
    10:10 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

    An opinion piece from someone who literally never has anything to contribute to show or here . Last time I checked a college education is pretty damn expensive and most of these d1 athletes are not going to make it professionally

  30. Shagaris Sock Puppet
    11:36 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

    Well done Drew! Not going to lie man your writing has grown over the years. Brilliant points and couldn’t agree more!

  31. KentuckyBoy
    8:04 am May 22, 2020 Permalink

    I have to be honest Drew, most of the time your writing comes of smug to me, but on this particular piece, I feel like you are spot on. These players put it all on the line, for very little in return. It’s time we took care of them.

  32. reedwizard
    9:00 am May 22, 2020 Permalink

    That’s a no. What’s room and board cost at UK? Tuition? Medical, textbook, workout gear, trainers, etc..? These players get upgraded accommodations and food and travel, this is what this money brings in. 40 years ago they had none of it. If you want to pay football and b-ball players MORE (because they already get $100k a year easy now) then end all other sports that don’t make a profit. Take it all away, because this money funds those experiences/programs. This seems like what a school should do huh? Provide experiences for as many people as possible

  33. Swizzle
    9:03 am May 22, 2020 Permalink

    Well they should probably get a little something. But let’s not act like most these dudes arent benefiting from college. Because let’s be honest most of them major in barely speaking english. Employers wouldnt be lining up for them without the opportunity. Both of getting a degree in some made up nonsense. Or auditioning to be a pro in a sport.

  34. CPACAT
    9:13 am May 22, 2020 Permalink

    Nail, meet hammer.

  35. claydwildcat
    1:00 pm May 22, 2020 Permalink

    Here is the issue. The QB, running back, WR will get checks and the guys blocking for them may not. It’s set up where you could have the best oline in college football yet the rb gets paid. The guy on the defensive line drawing the double team may not either.

  36. crazycatfan65
    1:01 pm May 22, 2020 Permalink

    Due away with all athletic scholarships and only give out academic scholarships. Let the athletes pay for school with the money they earn from the new NIL. People seem to forget that if it wasn’t for football and basketball, several other college sports wouldn’t be offered to people. Lets see how well this new G-League thing works out for Jalen Green and others. Lets see if the G-League helps build the players “brand” as well as college does.

  37. Middy
    3:22 pm May 22, 2020 Permalink

    Your argument might make sense for someone like Obi Toppin… he at least got some development and exposure that didn’t exist for him before. Unfortunately there aren’t too many Obi stories in the one and done era.

  38. bhb71
    6:50 pm May 22, 2020 Permalink

    The players NEED to unionize if they’re gonna get the compensation and protection they deserve. I agree with all of your points, but they only way they can take advantage of their position is if they have the ability to coordinate action amongst themselves, and you can’t effectively do that without a union.

    • BellCat
      12:05 am May 23, 2020 Permalink

      So you want an 18 year old kid to sign up to pay union dues?? Let’s stir the pot some more and allow agents to set up tables at Orientation!

  39. BellCat
    11:58 pm May 22, 2020 Permalink

    If the student athletes are going to be able to get compensated for NIL, who’s going to determine the where this money comes from? Is it going to be wide open? Since UK is a Nike school, what’s to stop Under Armor or Adidas from coming in and paying the more well known student athletes-at UK? How would Nike respond to that? I’m concerned that opening up this Pandora’s box is going the change college athletics for the worse.