Is the NCAA Allowing College Athletes to Get Paid?

The National Collegiate Athletic Association allowing their athletes to be paid, or not, rather, has been a trending topic for everyone who keeps up with college sports. In most recent news, rules have appeared to shift. The NCAA’s top governing board said that they support a rule change allowing players to profit off their name, image, and likeness.

The rule changes will allow student-athletes to receive compensation for third-party endorsements related to, and separate from athletics. The plan also includes players receiving compensation from social media and personal appearances, as well as businesses they may have started.  Though the plans have been set in motion, there are some restrictions.  The NCAA stated that “While student-athletes would be permitted to identify themselves by sport and school, the use of conference and school logos, trademarks or other involvement would not be allowed.”  It also added that a college or university could not pay the athletes directly, for their name, image, or likeness.  Because the board’s recommendations are not final, the next steps include further consideration from Divisions I, II and III, with all three expected to adopt the new rules early next year.  The plan would then be in effect for the 2021-22 academic school year. 

Pressure has come from both the public and from state officials as the NCAA plans to change its position on whether athletes will be paid.  The NCAA had previously signaled their support for allowing collegiate athletes to be paid back in October.  That vote was based on recommendations from the NCAA Board of Directors Federal and State Legislation Working Group.  This only came after California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill in September that would allow student-athletes to sign endorsement deals and hire agents.  Newsom signed the legislation while on a segment of Uninterrupted, a sports programming network founded by Lebron James.  He said it would be “the beginning of a national movement - one that transcends geographic and partisan lines.” 

Though many people feel that this plan should have come sooner, others feel it isn’t needed.  Those who are opposed to athletes being paid in college feel it would bring the professionalization of college sports.  Ekow Yankah wrote an article in 2015 about why NCAA athletes should not be paid.  In his article, he explains a spectrum of issues associated with paying college athletes.  He makes a point of people connecting more with college athletes than they do with their professional counterparts.  He also states that “It fails, first of all, to recognize the value of sports as a part of education.”  There is innocence and hope to watch young athletes work hard to fulfill their dream that wouldn’t be possible by simply compensating them in college. 

The proposal of college athletes getting paid will open many doors for the young hopefuls. It would allow them to monetize their social media channels, host a sports camp among other potential opportunities.  Though there are mixed feelings about the NCAA allowing their athletes to be paid, the decision is going to shift the lives of student-athletes. 

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