Paying College Athletes

Aaron Pellican

This year in early Sept., a huge breakthrough happened in the world of college sports. The state of California became the first state to pass a law allowing college athletes to hire agents and to get paid for use of their name, image, or likeness.  

For a long time, the NCAA has been under fire with ridicule for their lack of compensation to the student-athletes who makes the organization billions of dollars every single year. Often, student-athletes will receive cost-of-living stipends of up to a few thousand dollars per year, but the NCAA has refused to allow the student-athletes to make a profit off of their name, image, or likeness while attending a college university.  

This all changed when the California Assembly voted in favor of a bill allowing student-athletes to gain profit while attending a university.  

The bill does not allow for student-athletes to make an annual wage or salary as professional athletes do. The colleges and universities will not be paying student-athletes any more than they already are. The bill simply allows for student-athletes in the state of California to earn money in other ways, such as signing endorsement deals with shoe companies or appearing in a commercial for a local business.  

In the past, and as of now, the NCAA only allows for tennis players to collect winnings of up to $10,000 every year, but nothing more than this. The NCAA still enforces the no pay and no agent rule for all universities outside of California, but this could just be the beginning of an avalanche of different states passing the same bill, eventually overpowering the NCAA.  

The state of Florida seems to be close to passing a similar bill as their governor, Ron DeSantis, has been vocal in his support of the bill. According to DeSantis, he hopes to have the bill passed by 2020.  

As for the California bill, that still does not take effect until Jan. 1, 2023.  So, the NCAA, its athletes, and businesses in the state will have three more years to figure out exactly how they are going to approach this matter.  

My intuition tells me that by the time this law takes effect in California in 2023, there will have been multiple other states who will have passed the same bill. In the time of a growing societal consciousness that yearns for complete equality more than ever, it is only a matter of time before this becomes the norm. 

 It brings up many interesting conversations including if this law will affect the integrity of NCAA sports as well as the commitment from the student-athletes to their universities and the schoolwork that comes along with it.  

This is the argument the NCAA is supporting, of course, but only time will tell if this assumptive stance will hold strong