NBA commissioner Adam Silver is in a precarious position with the NCAA. He has no obligation to support the bylaws it upholds, however, the team owners he represents are dependent on the NCAA’s system to scout prospects more meticulously against a higher level of competition. It’s a symbiotic relationship where both organizations prosper.
During an interview Friday with CNN’s Ahiza Garcia, Silver questioned the system in place and what the side effects of the NCAA allowing athletes to be paid would entail.
“If you try to compare it to a pro model, do players on this team all make the same amount? Or is there a scale?” he said. “You have Title IX issues, so do the women—where the television contract may not be as lucrative—do they make as much?”
However, in a stark departure from Mark Emmert and the NCAA’s position, Silver also said he has no issue with college athletes being paid, which makes sense considering the NBA and its contingent of veteran players’ shared support for keeping athletes in college as long as possible.
A bemused Silver also questioned whether scholarships would be affected and if athletes could be waived for not performing up to expectations.
“We all know the price of an education right now at these schools for the students who aren’t playing or aren’t scholarship athletes. $50,000-$60,000 in certain cases, plus living costs, so that scholarship in itself is a form of a payment.”
The NCAA has been under siege since the FBI arrested a bevy of runners, agents and assistant coaches in September, who were engaged in an alleged widespread pay-for-play scheme. Coaches have lost their jobs and payments to athletes have been exposed, but the NCAA remains firm in its puritanical commitment to amateurism.