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It is a turbulent time in college sports with plenty of uncertainty about the future, but St. John’s men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino offered what he sees as one solution.
Pitino took to social media and suggested there should be a salary cap between $1.5 million and $2 million for the Big East and Power Five conferences when it comes to basketball. He also said the other conferences can establish their own salary cap and admitted things would likely be different for football:
Rick Pitino @RealPitino
Ok – we all want solutions to preserve our great game. Today I’m going to suggest solution one:<br><br>For basketball – have the Power 5 & Big East conference commissioners get together and create a salary cap between 1.5 n 2.0 million. All contracts delivered to the league and school…
As ESPN’s Myron Medcalf noted, Pitino’s comments come after the National Labor Relations Board ruled Monday that Dartmouth men’s basketball players can be considered employees of the school and can vote to unionize.
A union could pave the way for athletes to have bargaining rights when it comes to salary, working conditions, time allotted and other variables. Conferences creating a sport-specific salary cap like Pitino suggested could, theoretically, be something that is collectively bargained with a union down the line.
Pitino even joked about the Dartmouth ruling:
Yet there are still steps that need to be taken toward unions and collective bargaining becoming a reality in college sports, especially since schools have largely pushed back against that notion.
Dartmouth can appeal Monday’s ruling, which is what happened in 2015 when Northwestern football players were granted a similar ruling just for it to be overturned nationally upon appeal. An approach in the Ivy League, where Dartmouth plays, would also likely be different than the ones schools in the power conferences take.
Still, the world of college sports is quite different than it was in 2015 when the Northwestern situation was under the spotlight.
The creation of name, image and likeness rules allow players opportunities to make money. There are also looser transfer restrictions that have created situations where plenty of players in football and basketball switch teams every year.
The SEC and Big Ten also created a joint advisory group to approach changes in college sports, although they were adamant it wasn’t a move by the two richest conferences to break away from the NCAA.
Perhaps there will be some type of salary cap down the line, but the future of college sports is still very much up in the air.