Potential major changes for college athletics in the United States….so how could those changes affect local college athletes??

Good Thursday morning. Nothing of note going on newswise today, so we wanted to discuss this morning a piece of news we discussed a bit on our Twitter feed yesterday and delve into the subject in a little more detail for you. Check out our Twitter page, @snovalleysports, throughout the day for news and tidbits from inside and outside local sports.

The subject we want to discuss is the move by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) toward allowing college athletes to earn money from so-called “third-party” compensation which would be given for such things as endorsements based on their status as college athletes. The association yesterday announced its support for the rule change. NPR has more on what is being proposed here.

As the new rule, if passed, would cover all NCAA Division I, II and III schools, a large number of Valley athletes will be impacted, perhaps positively, by this rule change. According to the NPR story, it will allow athletes to make money on personal appearances and also form their own businesses. So what could such a rule entail for local athletes?

While it can be expected some higher-profile athletes, especially in football and basketball at the Division I level, could land national endorsements under such a rule change and make money from that, the great majority of all NCAA athletes, including most if not all from the Valley, will see the benefit at the local level. An example: Mount Si High School’s boys’ basketball team as you all know won the state 4A boys’ basketball title back in March, and three of their top players – Tyler Patterson, Hayden Curtiss and Jabe Mullins – all landed opportunities to play at the college level. In two years time, as this rule is not expected to start until all three are sophomores academically in the 2021-22 school year, a local restaurant or other business decides to contact all three guys and asks them to jointly endorse that business based on their success and visibility locally from that Mount Si championship run. As they would be NCAA athletes at that point, currently, such a deal if compensation is involved would not be allowed.

However, the change that is being proposed not only would allow for the compensation, but allow themselves to identify the colleges they play for, perhaps providing the colleges additional exposure they otherwise wouldn’t get. Official team logos, etc, would not be allowed, but still, the idea the college could get that small amount of extra exposure in a community may be valuable for them in the long run.

Some athletes could receive strong endorsement opportunities in their campus communities if they are highly visible on their teams; a local athlete that could fit this bill would be Duvall’s Aaron Davenport, a baseball pitcher at the University of Hawaii. The Cedarcrest High School grad will be a junior come the 2022 season, and could be at that point a highly-touted pro prospect based on his success this past spring before it was cut short due to the season being canceled over COVID-19 related issues. With the university’s teams being the primary sports offering in the Honolulu market – which covers most of the state of Hawaii – and baseball among their more highly visible sports, Davenport could position himself for strong local endorsement opportunities in that part of the country, with business sponsors of the Hawaii baseball program likely to be the first to call about that.

And that could also be the landscape here in the Valley as well. With a good number of local businesses sponsoring both Mount Si and Cedarcrest High School athletics, it can be expected that those would be businesses most likely to take advantage of such rules to help promote their brands in the community. While the financial impact for local college athletes will likely be fairly nominal, in this current economic environment we’re all in thanks to the pandemic, that extra couple hundred dollars, especially if the economy remains rough long-term, could make the difference between a student-athlete staying at school or having to transfer elsewhere.

The change being supported by the NCAA comes amidst a longtime, and growing, call from many for college sports to financially compensate their athletes, a call which takes on even bigger meaning nowadays with the challenges facing both athletes and schools financially as a result of COVID-19.

This issue is not the only major one facing the college sports body currently; a second major issue, and this has cropped up in the past couple of weeks, has been a proposal from mid-major conferences that would reduce the required minimum number of sports offered for a school to attain Division I status. This proposal has received stiff criticism from many smaller, so-called “non-revenue” sports, fearing their programs could be cut as a result in the wake of the financial situation for schools resulting from the outbreak. This is a proposal that we feel directly impacts the futures of many local athletes, and is one you should educate yourself about. You can do so by going to this website.

Busy times for sure in college sports, and if you are a parent of a current Valley college athlete or a prospective one, it is important you educate yourself about both issues so that you can take steps to protect your son’s or daughter’s future if that becomes necessary to do so.

Rhett Workman

About Rhett Workman

Rhett Workman is the editor of the Snoqualmie Valley Sports Journal. Workman is a veteran sports journalist, having covered Snoqualmie Valley sports for nearly a decade with the Snoqualmie Valley Record newspaper before starting up the SVSJ. Workman's coverage has earned the support and respect of Valley coaches, players, parents and fans, and the SVSJ continues the standard of coverage that Workman brought to the Valley Record.
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