Sports: NCAA Athletes Seeing Dollar Signs

by Matthew Ruiz

As Fall rolls into Winter, the NCAA has turned the wheels on allowing athletes to get paid for their likeness, name and image, which marks a major shift in the rules. 

Even though these athletes are still amateurs and still student-athletes, the NCAA wants to move in a different direction in January of 2021. A decision was announced on Tuesday, October 29, 2019 by the NCAA Governing Board.

According to NCAA Board of Directors Member Michael V. Drake, “Action directs each of the NCAA’s three divisions to immediately consider updates to relevant bylaws and policies for the 21st century.”

Some guidelines the NCAA has released:

  • Assuring student-athletes are treated similarly to non-athlete students unless a compelling reason exists to differentiate.
  • Maintaining the priorities of education and the collegiate experience to provide opportunities for student-athlete success.
  • Ensuring rules are transparent, focused and enforceable and facilitate fair and balanced competition.
  • Making clear the distinction between collegiate and professional opportunities.
  • Making clear that compensation for athletics performance or participation is impermissible.
  • Reaffirming that student-athletes are students first and not employees of the university.
  • Enhancing principles of diversity, inclusion and gender equity.
  • Protecting the recruiting environment and prohibit inducements to select, remain at, or transfer to a specific institution.

A lot of the board’s actions were based on recommendations from the NCAA Board of Governors Federal and State Legislation Working Group. This group include presidents, commissioners, athletics directors, administrators and student-athletes. This group will continue to make changes going all the way through April and work side by side with the state and federal legislation.

“As a national governing body, the NCAA is uniquely positioned to modify its rules to ensure fairness and a level playing field for student-athletes,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said.

Many people have seen the news and consider this info as a positive for all student-athletes. Some big influencers are NBA legend LeBron James and player Maverick Carter who helped fund the empowerment brand UNINTERRUPTED, which began in 2015 and has a website that provides student-athletes the platform to share their stories.

On Monday, October 1st, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed the Fair Pay to Play Act into law. This bill permits college athletes in California to hire agents and also be paid from endorsements.

The California law is to go into effect in 2023, which will allow them to reap the financial rewards for their athletic abilities. This law will have the NCAA on the ropes with the organization realizing over $1 billion in revenue and profits of about $27 million in 2018. The NCAA, as well as other colleges, were trying to fight this law saying, “It would bring chaos to college sports” and “make unattainable the goal of providing a fair and level playing field,” according to reporting by Forbes.

If this law was to go into effect it would cause a disaster for the NCAA. Some may fear if they go this route they will turn into the NFL with players thinking of who is earning more money and complaints from players on why they aren’t getting paid. However, we are ignoring the fact that Universities are earning so much money off of ticket sales, merchandise sales and food sales.

Top universities are flourishing off the blood, sweat, tears, and essential risking their own lives for the love of the game. All of these athletes are putting their all into these colleges to keep the reputation of their school alive. While the entire school profits of their success, these athletes are left in the dust without any compensation for their hard work.

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