N.C.A.A. Athletes’ Pay Deal Raises Questions About Future of College Sports

U.S. | N.C.A.A. Athletes’ Pay Deal Raises Questions About Future of College Sports

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N.C.A.A. Athletes’ Pay Deal Raises Questions About Future of College Sports

The landmark settlement made many wonder what the reality — and impact — of revenue-sharing plans with college athletes would look like.

A football game between the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of California, Los Angeles, in 2022. Credit… Stephen Speranza for The New York Times Brent Jacquette knows a thing or two about college sports. A former collegiate soccer player and coach in Pennsylvania who is now an executive at a consulting firm for athletic recruiting, he’s well aware of issues surrounding pay for college athletes.

But even for an industry veteran like Mr. Jacquette, the news of the N.C.A.A.’s staggering settlement in a class-action antitrust lawsuit on Thursday came as a surprise, with more than a little anxiety. The first words that came to mind, he said, were “trepidation” and “confusion.”

And he was not alone in feeling unsettled. Interviews, statements and social media posts mere hours after the settlement was announced showed that many were uncertain and concerned about what the future of collegiate sports holds.

“These are unprecedented times, and these decisions will have a seismic effect on the permanent landscape of collegiate athletics,” Phil DiStefano, chancellor of the University of Colorado Boulder, and Rick George, the school’s athletic director, said in a statement.

If the $2.8 billion settlement is approved by a judge, it would allow for a revenue-sharing plan through which Division I athletes can be paid directly by their schools for playing sports — a first in the nearly 120-year history of the N.C.A.A. Division 1 schools would be allowed to use about $20 million a year to pay their athletes as soon as the 2025 football season.

Mr. Jacquette thought of the word “trepidation” because of the impact that the settlement, shaped by the biggest and wealthiest universities with robust football programs, could have on coaches and athletes at smaller institutions and in low-profile sports.

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