NCAA betrays supposed mission by nixing proposal to invest in baseball, softball staffs

It’s no secret that basketball and football have long been the top priorities of the NCAA and its member institutions; after all, those college sports are consistent money-makers and the biggest draws for fans.

Other sports have made legitimate claims that they should receive more financial support. After all, the NCAA operates under the guise of supporting amateur athletics and the mental enrichment of student-athletes over monetary gains.

A proposal to add a third paid assistant to baseball and softball staffs, however, was shot down this week. It cannot be brought back up for a vote until at least 2021. That means college programs will continue in a system of two paid assistants and a volunteer assistant.

This may seem like a minor development — and, in truth, it does pale in comparison to larger issues the NCAA faces — but it’s representative of the NCAA’s continued downplaying of the importance of college athletes who do not play basketball or football.

Baseball and softball coaches, even ones in successful programs, are paid a fraction of what basketball and football coaches make. Adding a coach to staffs would, at a low cost, give players additional on- and off-field guidance they can carry with them once they enter a field that does provide real monetary benefits beyond a scholarship. That supposedly is the whole point of college sports, at least according to the people who run the show.

This decision, then, can only be interpreted as a cost-saving move by schools within a system that does not let athletes cash in on their own likeness, let alone pay them any wage, while making administrators wealthier.

It’s not surprising. It’s also disappointing.

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