It seems like if there has been one hot topic in the last couple of decades in sports it has had to do with whether or not student athletes should be paid or not. Basically, It seems everyone has an opinion on the matter. However, today on the date of April 29th, 2020 something was announced to the sports world that might change college athletics forever. The NCAA announced on a conference call that they plan to allow student athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness. This would go into effect at the beginning of 2021, as stated by Gene Smith who is on the NCAA board, “The NCAA’s work to modernize name, image and likeness continues and we plan to make these important changes on the original timeline, no later than January 2021”.
Wow! I know this had been talked about in the past, but this still feels like it’s coming out of left field. None the less, they are making the right decision and has been needed for a long time. I decided to give my opinion on the matter(as so many others have) and break down why I believe this move was so needed.
The Arguments For Why They Shouldn’t be Paid
With this topic, there are obviously a couple of arguments as to why college athletes should not be paid to play. One of the biggest arguments is that there is nothing stopping athletes from going out and getting a job themselves to make money. This has even been recommended by the NCAA themselves in the past. But when you consider all the time that goes into being a student athlete, the question is “where is the time to get a job”? According to Forbes, some athletes spend over 39 hours per week on their sport! That in itself could be considered a part time job, but this doesn’t even include the amount of time spent in classes throughout the day or study time for these classes. Many athletes have a schedule where they wake up early to work out, then go to class, then meetings, then practice, and finally time to work on homework before they go to sleep. Athletes barely have enough time to sleep so why would they have even enough time to get a job on top of what they already have?
Another argument is that most athletes already receive full ride scholarships. While this is true and yes I can honestly say that as a former NAIA athlete I wish I would’ve received a full ride scholarship, for some athletes this still isn’t quite enough. For one thing, many athletes are in circumstances where they need money right now and while a scholarship is nice it doesn’t help with everything. Some grow up in poverty, Some don’t have transportation, and some already have children. Athletes in these circumstances need money any way they can get it and they view sports as a way to get that money. Because they need the money many go pro in their respective sports before they are fully ready just to get the money. This likely is one reason as well as why according to Sports Illustrated 60 percent of NBA players and 78% of former NFL players go broke after retirement, as they don’t have a college degree and they probably weren’t ready for the pros anyways.
Reasons Why The Players Should Be Paid
A couple of reasons why athletes should be paid include how much The NCAA and the schools they play for make off of athletics. According to Tom Gerencer of moneynation.com, the NCAA makes over 1 Billion dollars per year. What about the schools you ask? Some schools make up to over 190 million dollars in revenue just off of sports! This is a lot of money for any organization, but the crazy thing is the people that are the reason why these organizations are making this money aren’t even getting a penny. This doesn’t even account for the money that is being made off of these player’s likeness’, which includes merchandise and billboards among other things(Which is what is now changing, Thankfully).
Another reason athletes should be paid is that some already are. Confusing? Let me explain. Obviously, according to the NCAA, athletes could not be paid or receive benefits, however, sometimes this doesn’t stop coaches or boosters. Coaches know to keep their jobs they must win games, to win games, this often requires recruiting the best players. So how do you get the best players? Oftentimes this means paying them to come to your school or giving them other types of benefits. Many coaches have people who are connected with the schools who might donate money to the program among other things that are willing to pay insane amounts of money to see top players come to the universities that they support so hard. Want proof? I highly recommend watching SB Nation’s YouTube series called, Foul Play, Which tracks the University of Mississippi’s scandal involving their football team. Shoe companies can be involved with this as well, as back in 2018, Adidas was involved in a scandal where they paid players to attend schools affiliated with Adidas(Part of the scandal that got Rick Pitino fired). With many athletes already being paid under the rug, why not just make it legal if you’re the NCAA?
What The Players Think of This Change
NCAA you too late. Should have been letting players getting paid for their likeness. If I’m a top prospect I’m going to the G League. Why not.
— Wilson Chandler (@wilsonchandler) April 29, 2020
Here comes the, “but they get a free education” people https://t.co/XE33Yp21UO
— Ryan Jensen (@sinjen66) April 29, 2020
— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 29, 2020
This move to allow players to profit off themselves is without a doubt a step in the right direction for the NCAA, which has been criticized for a long time. I do find the timing a bit interesting, as this comes just a couple weeks after the top 2020 men’s basketball recruit, Jalen Green, turned down college for the G-League. Could this have had anything to do with it? We may never know, but this is progress none the less. The next question is, could an NCAA video game be coming back soon too?
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