It feels like the walls are closing in on the NCAA. At the very least, it feels like the end of the outdated ideals that have underpinned college sports for decades is near. And 2023 is shaping up to be a pivotal year, with multiple dominoes poised to fall. and each has the potential to completely upend your business model.

What will the college sports enterprise look like five years from now, and who will decide that? The next calendar year will begin to answer that question.

Multiple lawsuits aimed at the economic structure of collegiate athletics are moving through courts in a legal environment that supports athletes’ rights more than ever. We are moving forward with the unfair labor practices complaint filed against and are pushing to classify athletes as employees. Also, a new Congress will be sworn in next month, a new NCAA president with a political background will be sworn in in March, and perhaps a new Big Ten commissioner in the new year.

It’s also the final year of the four-team college football playoffs before the bracket expands to 12, the first and possibly only school year for the bloated 14-member Big 12, still in Texas and Oklahoma, and in transition. in other leagues. Also for reorganizing meetings. There is uncertainty around every corner.

“2023 is the year to set the table or set things up for the next step,” said Kenny Hertz Perry attorney and former Division I college basketball player Mitt Winter.Johnson vs. NCAA) case. I don’t know if there is anything that will lead to resolution in 2023.

“But with how all these different things play out, the leaders of the sport are going to think about the new model and, instead of acting hard, deal with everything that’s hanging out there in a holistic way. It may be time to get more serious about how a mole when things go wrong.

This is PG’s way of explaining how the NCAA has handled the last decade or so. But the best example of the NCAA’s failure was its handling of the Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) reform. The NCAA created multiple working groups, drafted legislation, and wasted years of administrator time. All the while, President Mark Hemert has waged an unpopular propaganda war against pushing for change. A state legislator pressured his NCAA to allow an athlete to monetize her NIL, and in June 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of the student-athlete. . Alston vs NCAA, prevent the NCAA from limiting the education-related compensation an athlete can receive. This his 9-0 loss, combined with Justice Kavanaugh’s scathing concurrence of Brett’s opinion, upset NCAA leaders, who all but welcomed the challenge of antitrust violations. Now it’s a largely unregulated venue, awkward and frustrating for everyone involved, and the ramifications for fans of college sports in 2022 were impossible to avoid.

Because the NCAA has just hired Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker to replace Emmert and wants to draw on his political experience and past bipartisan work to get real help from Washington, D.C. and possibly medical insurance). SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey and Ohio University Sports Director Julie Cromer, co-chairs of the Division I Transformation Commission, said to better explain how college sports work today: I have made numerous trips to the U.S. capital. Athletic directors and other commissioners have also traveled to DC to educate those who may shape the future of college athletics if they choose to attend .

“I don’t think it’s a very good strategy to let all these outside forces, be it the courts, the NLRB, the state legislature, somehow dictate what you’re doing. I must,” said Winter.

Now weaving the court Johnson vs. NCAAThis case focused on whether student-athletes should be recognized as employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The next step in this case is planned for early 2023. If the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit rules that the student-athlete is an employee, the case will be returned to the court of first instance to determine whether the FLSA has been violated. By the end of 2023, a first-instance court-level decision (with the possibility of appeal) may be possible.

in the meantime, House vs. NCAA seeks damages for NIL money that athletes failed to earn before the rule change in 2021. House Plaintiffs filed a motion for class certification in October, so the lawsuit is still in a relatively early stage, but if the class is certified, the lawsuit could result in billions of dollars in potential damages. increase. “This is like the most direct attack on the university model,” says Winter.

Also in 2023, the NCAA’s governance structure will change to implement the minimum expectations and experiences that a school must meet to be considered a Division I, per final recommendations from the Sankey and Cromer Transformation Commission. increase. These changes may not be as transformative as the group’s name once promised, but they will also affect how the NCAA moves forward.

Winter feels it is inevitable that the collegiate sports model will transform into a system in which athletes are paid directly by schools, conferences, and/or national governing bodies. is the tipping point.if Johnson If the case reaches the finish line first, the first change to be addressed will be that athletes will now be paid hourly to their employees. If the NLRB initiative is successful, it is likely that certain athletes will be unionized throughout the school. it all depends.

That’s why 2023 is such an important year for college sports. It may not be the happiest New Year for anyone working in college track and field, but it’s a reality.

“This year will be the year that more administrators – schools, conferences, the NCAA, etc. – wake up to the fact that the model they’ve run for as long as they’ve been involved in college athletics probably isn’t going to be around much longer. “It will be a model,” said Winter.

(Photo: Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

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