For NCAA, year of upheaval leads to need for tranformation

The NCAA had a rough 2021, from court cases, to the continuing debate on athlete compensations. Name, Image, and Likeness was passed to help collegiate athletes profit off their names but more work is to be done.

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Sports

January 4, 2022 - 9:46 AM

The Supreme Court rejected the NCAA's argument that it needs the freedom to restrict compensation for student-athletes to distinguish college sports from professional sports. Photo by (Christian Petersen/Getty Images/TNS)

From court losses to political pressure to questions about how — and if — athletes should be compensated, the NCAA and college sports have faced all sorts of potential existential threats for more than 100 years.

The difference in 2021 was volume. It was as if a century’s worth of issues fell on college sports all at once.

Lawmakers took aim at the NCAA, undercutting its ability to govern. The Supreme Court issued a scathing rebuke  of the so-called collegiate model. Internally, a new era of athlete empowerment was clumsily ushered in with all sorts of unintended consequences. Another wave of conference realignment swept through college sports, causing disruptions and distrust among its leaders.

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