INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (March 23, 2015)-- Millions of Americans are watching March Madness. Advertisers make millions, and so do schools and the NCAA, but not the players. Just this weekend, President Barack Obama said it's time for the NCAA to rethink the way it protects and punishes athletes.
"The students need to be taken better care of because they are generating a lot of revenue. It doesn't matter whether they get cut, it doesn't matter whether they get hurt. You are now entering into a bargain and responsible for them," said President Obama in an interview with the Huffington Post.
Oliver Luck is the number two at the National Collegiate Athletic Association, headquartered in Indianapolis. And, yes, Luck is also Colts Quarterback Andrew Luck's father.
"Certainly the President is well respected and a great basketball fan and can weigh in," said Luck.
Luck is the new Executive Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and reports directly to NCAA president Mark Emmert.
There is mounting public pressure for colleges to give athletes better benefits.
"I do believe a student-athlete does have a name, image and likeness. It is really who you are. Just because you accept a scholarship doesn`t necessarily mean you wave that right to a name, image and likeliness. The real question is what is that name and image and likeness worth?" said Luck.
Luck says the NCAA is considering guaranteed athletic scholarships, so any player who gets hurt won't suddenly have to pay for college. The Power Five conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC) have already taken the measure suggested by President Barack Obama.
However, Oliver Luck says the NCAA does not like the idea of paying an athlete to play.
"We think having a class of paid professional athletics within the campus environment would be detrimental to the whole concept of intercollegiate athletics and amateurism," said Oliver Luck.
Luck says lawsuits against the NCAA will shape future policy.
"Is it appropriate to provide some sort of licensing payment for the use of that name of that name, image and likeness? The answer is we don’t know at this point. There are several lawsuits out which we hope we will get resolved relatively soon. There is a good bit of discussion taking place around that issue. It is all what is this new definition of intercollegiate model of amateur athletics," said Luck.
Right now, the NCAA is asking an appeals court in California to throw out an earlier ruling granting student athletes a limited share of revenue.
Luck says he hopes to have some direction for the NCAA on athlete benefits by this fall.
"Sooner rather than later. It is not something we can push off for five or six years or seven years. As Presidents come together with this new governance model that we have, I think we will begin to have some direction by this fall or towards the end of the year," said Luck.