This week The Daily Show mocked the NCAA for ruling a wrestler on a 10% scholarship ineligible for selling rap music. NCAA athletes are not allowed to profit from their own names. It seems crazy because it is crazy. And the NCAA is utterly unsympathetic. If you don’t know why, check out Taylor Branch’s 2011 article in The Atlantic, The Shame of College Sports.
If you think like a security professional, though, the NCAA rule makes perfect sense. Players are not allowed to receive gifts or compensation for playing sports. If they were allowed to be compensated for other endeavors, it would create a loophole big enough to drive a truck through. Top ranked football recruits could just self-publish e-books on Amazon.com with titles like, “Buy This If You Want Me to Attend the University of Alabama” and rake in the dollars. Given a rule that disallows fans from compensating players, lots of other rules follow.
Being in the rules enforcement business is rarely fun. You start out trying to keep people from manufacturing crystal meth, and the next thing you know you have to show your driver’s license at the pharmacy to buy cold medicine.