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Addressing the Future of College Sports: NCAA President Charlie Baker Interview

By Kyle Beene | March 20
NCAA President, Charlie Baker (

College athletics have come under fire recently with the ever-changing Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) standards and the growing legality of sports gambling. Athletic Director U's Jason Belzer sat down with NCAA President Charlie Baker to discuss these issues, linked below.


"There’s D1, then there’s the most highly-resourced institutions in D1 and then there’s D2 and D3 and we should think about them differently with respect to rules and structure and expectations," said Baker.

Spending within collegiate athletics varies greatly from school to school, even within the same level. Take Ohio State and Indiana State, for example. OSU spent a whopping $225 million collectively on their athletics programs in 2024 according to USAToday. The Sycamores, on the other hand, about $13 million. The two aren't on the same field. Making rules and regulations to fit both programs is next to impossible when you see the differences, D1 or not.

One way to solve this could be to put control in the institutions themselves.

"I also want these heavily resourced institutions to have the ability – this is another part of our proposal – to make some of the decisions about how those schools and those sports should be governed and operated because they’re different," said Baker.

By giving more control to athletic departments we can get closer to the source. The schools know what works well for them, and balanced with the voices of student-athletes, could provide a framework that fits better instead of the current "one size fits all."

Including the athletes is the key. Under the current model, the students don't receive many of the protections we see in other markets throughout the country, so bolstering their support is vital to keeping the market healthy.

"You can’t compare [NIL] to the stock market because the stock market actually has a set of legal frameworks in place...There are uniform standard contracts that people either have to abide by or engage in pretty serious discussions with the people they’re doing business with about doing something differently. There’s nothing like that in the NIL space currently," said Baker.

Baker also mentioned his worries about equality in NIL. While the bigger market sports like football and basketball get a majority of the money, these sports provide a huge backbone of funding for every other collegiate athletics program.

"I do think people underestimate the importance of the success of football, generally, financially, on all those other sports and the revenues and the resources they make available for both women’s sports and Olympic sports and other non-revenue sports, said Baker."

"Football is 75 to 80% of their revenue and 25% to 28% of their spending and that gap in there, that 50%, is what funds everybody else," said Baker.

Where such large gaps exist, Baker expressed worries about Title IX compliance. Currently, schools aren't allowed to participate directly in NIL compensation, it comes from collectives. By placing the burden on colleges, you receive the benefits of public institutional reports, which provide greater accountability when it comes to "comparable support."

"You get reporting, so that I just don’t have to believe you that it’s a billion-dollar market with 80% of it coming from collectives. The second is, you get a really useful way to gauge how, in fact, the Title IX issue is either being addressed or not," said Baker.


On gambling:

"Their schoolmates are talking to them and saying, ‘How do you think these guys are going to do this weekend? How are you going to do next weekend?" said Baker.

Legalized gambling on collegiate sports in many states creates a very unique issue for student-athletes that the pros don't face. Where employees of pro teams are barred from betting on their own teams, leagues, or in general, classmates don't face the same governance.

"They have classmates – because they’ve said this to me – coming up to them and saying, ‘I don’t want you to throw the game. I just need you to not take the first shot. I just need you to miss your first two free throws. I just need you to do whatever because I need the money," said Baker.

These situations can put undue stress on college students, unlike their professional counterparts. It can create uncertainty and lead to difficult situations, which should be something athletes are protected from.

We can't pretend that it doesn't exist either. Sports gambling is all over college campuses. In the NCAA's survey on 18-22 year olds, 60% of them bet on sports, a number that grew when filtering for those on college campuses. Even in states where it wasn't legal, the percentage was the same.

Several states have outlawed college player props including Maryland and Ohio, who removed them earlier this year, something that Baker has encouraged regulators to take a strong look at.

Me Ronnie

Born into a family of Hokies, I can remember watching Frank Beamer and Tyrod Taylor on Saturdays with the family, so attending VT was always the dream. 


In 2020, I began my time at Virginia Tech in the Sports Media Analytics program and eventually joined the Sons in January of 2023 as the softball beat writer. Now, I’ve got football, basketball, and baseball coverage, plus you’ll see some of my photographs in articles throughout the website. 


Graduation is on the horizon, but I can’t wait to come back in the fall to begin my Master’s and continue working with the team!


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