By NANCY ARMOUR
MILWAUKEE (AP) — The structure of the NCAA could look very different by this time next year as members try to resolve the growing disparity between big-money schools and smaller institutions.
What won’t change, however, is the amateur status of the players who make college athletics a billion-dollar business.
“One thing that sets the fundamental tone is there’s very few members and, virtually no university president, that thinks it’s a good idea to convert student-athletes into paid employees. Literally into professionals,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said Monday at Marquette University. “Then you have something very different from collegiate athletics. One of the guiding principles (of the NCAA) has been that this is about students who play sports.”
Emmert and the NCAA have had a turbulent year, with money the source for most of the discontent. After Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel was investigated for allegedly receiving money for autographs — he was cleared — Time magazine put him on the cover along with the headline “It’s Time to Pay College Athletes.” Oklahoma State is investigating whether rules were broken after a series of Sports Illustrated stories that alleged cash payments to players and academic misconduct.