Why it is time to finally start paying student athletes

Loyola center Cameron Krutwig, right, works with forward Nick DiNardi during NCAA college basketball practice in Chicago, Friday, March 9, 2018. Loyola locks up 1st March Madness appearance in 33 years. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)


Loyola center Cameron Krutwig, right, works with forward Nick DiNardi during NCAA college basketball practice in Chicago, Friday, March 9, 2018. Loyola locks up 1st March Madness appearance in 33 years. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

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Imagine being worth over one million dollars, bringing in millions of dollars for the school you go to, but not making a penny off of what you do. In the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), student athletes have not been able to make a penny off of any of their work for as long as the organization has been around. The NCAA has been keeping the “amateur” term on their athletes, which allows them not to be paid even if they are worth millions. Over the past weeks, ESPN and Yahoo! Sports have reported infractions from coaches paying players and/or parents of athletes to convince their sons and daughters to play for their team. However, even agencies have been reported to have a play in this investigation, which makes it complicated for the NCAA to place blame as these agencies have zero relations with the NCAA.

The investigations started with findings at the University of Louisville as head coach Rick Pitino was found giving improper benefits to players. The allegations continued as Sean Miller, head coach at the University of Arizona, reportedly gave star freshman Deandre Ayton $100,000 in order for his commitment to play for them. Other players reportedly given improper benefits are Miles Bridges of Michigan State University, Collin Sexton of University of Alabama, Wendall Carter of Duke University, Kevin Knox of Kentucky University, and many more. While all these players have only been reported to have been paid to play, the NCAA should start to consider the solution to their most dangerous problem: start paying the athletes!

The universities are making millions off of the names of their athletes, yet the athletes have been making a name for themselves ever since high school and AAU basketball. Networks like CBS and ESPN are allowed to use the names of college athletes, make money off of the names, and yet the athletes are not allowed to collect a cent from a name that they made for themselves. The universities are making millions on their sports programs, mainly football and basketball, and the NCAA is a multibillion dollar company that has not paid the main people that keep them alive, the athletes.

Now more than ever, high school athletes are looking to make money off of their talent as soon as possible. High school players are now willing to go international to get paid and play right away. Even in college, athletes are only staying one or two years in order to enter their names in the sport’s draft. While the players do risk getting less exposure than the NCAA would give to them, these athletes need to get paid quick, as some come from low income families and have struggled for most of their lives financially.

The most complicated obstacle in this resolution is how these athletes are going to get paid. There are a variety of solutions that would allow athletes to collect money while also keeping the amateur brand on them. One solution is to allow the athlete make money off of branding. Allowing the athlete to make a revenue from signatures, clothing, and other resources would allow the athlete to make money off of his or her name without having much of a problem with the NCAA. This is what most athletes would want as they would be able to profit off of their name without having a fixed income provided by the NCAA. Fans would be able to buy jerseys and clothing off of these athletes while the school, the NCAA, and the player would receive the money. Another option would be to allow the student athlete to sign with endorsements. Allowing a student to sign with Nike, ADIDAS, and other major sport companies would allow the players to sell shoes and other apparel. This would also allow the university, NCAA, and the player to make money. The only complicated aspect about this option is the lack of companies willing to sign the thousands of student athletes that there are. Also, signing with major companies can get complicated with agents and other high end endorsers. The last resort would to simply give the athletes a salary, but in turn, this would no longer allow the term “amateur” to define athletes, which is the last thing the NCAA would want.

The NCAA has a power like no other, as they brought in 1.1 billion dollars in 2017. As coaches and officials continue to bring in lucrative deals, it is time for the National Collegiate Athletic Association to actually pay their athletes.

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