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caitlin clark for the ncaa
caitlin clark for the ncaa
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College Athletes Could Start Making *A Lot* More Money Soon

For years, sports fans have debated whether college athletes should get paid like their pro counterparts. It was only in 2021 that the NCAA (the National Collegiate Athletics Association, aka the org in charge of student athletics for over 1,000 schools in the U.S.) allowed players to get paid when brands used their names and likenesses. Now, three years later, an even bigger change may be coming. 

According to NBC News, this is all thanks to a 2024 NCAA student-athlete pay settlement, which comes after a series of antitrust lawsuits and promises $2.8 billion will be paid to approximately 14,000 student-athletes (both current and former), who are expected receive the money within the next decade. This settlement also sets the stage for college athletes to soon be able to get paid by the schools they play for going forward. This would mean students would get compensated specifically for playing their sport, as opposed to earning money via scholarships, exposure, and brand deals, which is how they currently earn income.

In a joint statement, NCAA President Charlie Baker said the settlement “is an important step in the continuing reform of college sports that will provide benefits to student-athletes and provide clarity in college athletics across all divisions for years to come.” 

When will the NCAA student-athlete pay settlement take effect?

As of May 29, the settlement still needs to be approved by a federal judge, and it may take months for the settlement to be finalized. However, the new rules could take effect as early as the fall 2025 semester.

Will there be pay equality between men and women college athletes?

Many question if the settlement will be the final boss in regard to addressing the elephant still in the room for athletes: equal pay for women. Many sports fans have long been disappointed in the huge salary gap between men and women athletes in the professional sphere. A prime example is Caitlin Clark — despite being the No. 1 pick in the 2024 WNBA draft, her starting salary was reported to be only $76,535 in her first pro year, whereas the NBA’s No. 1 draft pick will earn a more than $10 million starting salary. Now that college athletes may soon start receiving payment from their schools, is the same pay disparity going to exist?

So far, that question remains unclear. Fortunately, school administrations have to follow Title IX procedures. The law created in 1972 ultimately ensures equity between men and women in education — athletics included. This means Title IX  aids in giving women athletes the right to equal opportunity in sports at educational institutions that receive federal funds. Hopefully, this law will also have a bearing on how these student-athletes get paid under these potential new rules.

Eliana Jacobs is a National Contributing Writer for Her Campus. Born and raised in Southwest Florida, Eliana writes articles about lifestyle, Her 20s, and career-related goals/activities. Before becoming a national writer, Eliana wrote under the UCF Her Campus Chapter,where she wrote about health and wellness. Additionally, she has a passion for social justice, advocacy, and race-related news. Beyond Her Campus, Eliana also writes flash fiction and poetry for the nation’s largest student-run organization, Strike Magazine. Some of her most recent publications include Life In Plastic: It’s “Fantastic”. Eliana also was awarded multiple honorable mentions for her writing during her undergraduate career in her school’s Tutors’ Choice Flash Fiction Contest. Lastly, she recently graduated from the University of Central Florida, earning a dual degree in Sociology and Interdisciplinary Studies on a Pre-Medical Track. Ultimately, Eliana aspires to pursue an MD/MPH to specialize in Pediatric Endocrinology while intersecting her passion for public health through medical research, poetry, and journalism. In her free time, Eliana enjoys shopping, working out, and traveling. Lastly, Eliana loves exploring local cuisines and documenting restaurants she tried (Orlando and beyond) on her food Instagram.