The longtime former head of the NCAA says it’s time to end what he calls an outmoded system of amateurism in college sports and pay the athletes.
Walter Byers, who retired in 1987 as executive director after 36 years with the NCAA, said “dramatic changes are necessary to permit athletes to participate in the enormous proceeds” produced by big-time college athletics.
He said Wednesday that a “neo-plantation mentality” exists under the present system, where coaches and administrators act as “overseers and supervisors” who “own the athlete’s body.”
“I believe the athletes should have the same access to the commercial marketplace that the supervisors and overseers as well as other students have,” he said.
Byers is writing a book titled “Unsportsmanlike Conduct--Exploiting College Athletes.”