The NCAA has drawn up a piece of legislation that will allow college football players to be compensated for working on campus during summer football camps, according to an anonymous director of football operations who spoke with Pete Roussel of CoachingSearch.com.
Roussel elaborated on how the arrangement would work:
In the past, college coaching staffs have mainly relied on high school coaches and even lower-level college coaches to assist with summer camps. …
At the moment, coaches suspect that the compensation will be very similar to the way in which high school coaches are typically paid for working camps – either hourly or by the camp session.
No colleges will be allowed to advertise that a star player will be serving as an instructor during a summer camp. For example, if Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston were to serve as part of the staff for Jimbo Fisher’s football camp, the Seminoles staff is prohibited from advertising that Winston will be present and/or coaching a group of quarterbacks.
It is hard to say for sure, but this—more much than the Unlimited Pasta Act of April 2014—feels like it should be a seminal moment in the movement for labor reform in college athletics.
Even if the payment is small, the gesture is large. College football players will be paid money for doing football activities on a college campus, and the NCAA would not find it impermissible.
On principle alone, that is remarkable news. If it forges and flows down a slippery slope, it is potentially paradigm-shifting.
If college players are paid for doing something—even something as small as coaching high schoolers during a positional workout—and the world does not promptly explode, it might only be a matter of time before the NCAA is forced to pay them for more.
Of course, the rule also brings with it some questions. Roussel wonders how coaches will go about employing this provision—whether they will invite the star players to coach at camp or the players most in need of financial support.
Personally, I wonder whether the rule is just for football players. And if that is indeed the case, I wonder how long it is before high-level basketball players start lobbying for the same privilege.
Note: A previous version of this article stated that the rule was in its proposal phase, when in fact it was passed last year. This summer, however, will be the first when it takes effect.
The story has been changed to reflect that.
Follow Brian Leigh on Twitter: @BLeighDAT