Especially at major powers in the collegiate sports world, purely amateur athletics has been a myth for many years. Under-the-table gifts by well-to-do boosters have ensured that.

Now, however, even the pretense may be about to end.

Last week, the NCAA Board of Governors voted to allow college and university athletes to “benefit from the use of their name, image and likeness.”

In other words, the NCAA may be primed to allow athletes to be paid for endorsements and similar promotions.

NCAA officials insist the move is not the same as what is happening in California. There, a new state law makes it illegal for NCAA schools to ban athletes from being paid for endorsements, appearances and social media advertising.

It may be that the primary difference is that California has acted, while the NCAA is only at the stage of considering rules changes. At some point, however, the collegiate sports governing body seems likely to allow overt payments to athletes.

Once that Pandora’s box is opened, it can never be closed. Let us hope the NCAA devises reasonable, enforceable rules for payments to athletes.

One example of such a need is in one of the NCAA’s goals.

According to The Associated Press, the association is intent on “protecting the recruiting environment and prohibiting inducements to select, remain at, or transfer to a specific institution.”

Lots of luck with that.

The die may be cast. NCAA officials are unlikely to be talked out of an earth-shattering change in “amateur athletics.”

Let us hope they have a good game plan.

Altoona Mirror

Limit kids’ video time

If it seems as though the kids are watching a lot more videos online than they were just a few years ago, appearances are reality. New research shows the typical American youth is spending an hour every day viewing online videos.

The news is unlikely to surprise any parent who has tried to pry a child away from YouTube or other sites with video content.

One of the many problems with this, according to Common Sense Media, the group that produced the study, is that much of the video content kids stumble across online is not appropriate for children and teens.

The study is yet another warning to adults to closely monitor children’s digital viewing habits. And it should also be a wake-up call to regulators and YouTube executives about the need to develop better filters and technology to help control children’s access to inappropriate material.

Common Sense Media compiled its report after surveying more than 1,600 participants between the ages of 8 and 18, asking them about their video-viewing habits. Fifty-six percent of 8-year-olds to 12-year-olds and 69% of 13-year-olds to 18-year-olds reported watching online videos every day. Those figures are up from 24% and 34%, respectively, in 2015.

One bit of good news in the report is that while more children have a daily video habit, their overall screen time remains roughly the same as it was in 2015 with kids ages 8 to 12 spending an average four hours and 44 minutes on digital devices a day and teens ages 13 to 18 spending seven hours and 22 minutes on them. These statistics do not count time children spent using devices to do their homework, read books or listen to music.

The Common Sense Media study ought to be another reminder for families to prioritize real-world, non-digital activities together and to limit screen time overall.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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