College Sports Players Deserve Compensation

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California Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed a bill which allows college athletes to receive monetary compensation for commercial use of their likeness; it also allows them to sign endorsement deals and hire their own agents. This is a controversial move, and has received backlash from opponents, primarily the NCAA. But the fact is that college athletes make millions in profit for big name schools, and they deserve to be compensated. 

It is true that most of the college athletes in question attend university through athletic scholarships, and critics of the bill argue that a free education is compensation enough. However, the facts and complexities of the situation would disagree. 

First, the NCAA argues that the money made by college sports is funneled right back into the program through scholarships. However, a September 2019 article from npr has found this logic to be lacking. Reporter Michael Sokolove writes, “If you look at a program like Louisville, they generate about $45 million a year in revenue. They give out 13 scholarships. That adds up to about $400,000 a year. The rest of it gets spread out to the coach, who makes $8 million a year, to the assistant coaches, who make as much as a half-million dollars a year.” Clearly, these schools can afford to give players at least a fraction of the profit they produce. 

But there are deeper issues with the NCAA’s scholarship argument. Because while college athletes do receive subsidised education, it is clear that this education is not meant to be on their list of priorities. NFL quarterback Richard Sherman, who was a student athlete at Stanford University, explained, “You’re not on scholarship for school and it sounds crazy when a student-athlete says that, but those are the things coaches tell them every day: ‘You’re not on scholarship for school.’” If not for school, what are these athletes around for? The fact is that they spend most of their time and energy making big bucks for the universities. So clearly, scholarship money is not the pot of gold that the NCAA makes it out to be.

  And this is especially harmful now, since professional-grade basketball players no longer have the option to shoot straight for the NBA, due to a minimum age requirement. So, essentially, their only viable option is to play college sports. Which they do not get paid for. NBA star Lebron James weighed in on the issue, saying, “Part of the reason I went to the NBA was to get my mom out of the situation that she was in. I couldn’t have done that if I would have stepped on a college campus.”

Clearly, college sports stars generate millions of dollars in revenue for the schools that they play for. They train constantly, with no time devoted to getting a degree. They have very few options regarding their professional careers. And they deserve to be paid.