College athletes need to be paid for their likeness

With California recently passing a law legalizing paying college athletes, other states should follow suit


By Ben Wieland (photo edited)

The NCAA has long refused to pay its players by claiming that the free education they receive is enough compensation. California is looking to change that.

Zach Shrader, JagWire reporter/photographer

On Sept. 30, the California legislature passed a law that allows student-athletes to get paid for play. Finally, some steps toward improvement. This has been something that has needed to happen for years. While it has been a controversial topic, with arguments for each side, this law is an overall win for the NCAA, colleges, and the athletes. Also, it is justice for the players who have been fighting for this rule to be changed for a while.

First of all, the players are benefitting from it in a major way. The players will be able to sign endorsements, market themselves, sign an agent and more. Also, the players will get a taste of the money that they will make if and when they become professional athletes. It alleviates the pressure of having a 10 figure salary as a 20-year-old. Instead, they will be given a baby step of sorts, as they will have a 4-6 figure salary as a 19-year-old.

I think [the NCAA is] corrupt and it’s a bunch of people taking advantage of kids, and doing it under a mask of ‘fair play.’

— former Stanford football player Richard Sherman

Second, players will be more likely to stay in college. In the past, if a player was undecided about joining the draft, they would probably take the gamble and leave their college for a professional league they may not succeed in. However, if other states follow suit and adopt this law, then athletes would be less likely to take the gamble of leaving college and going pro if they were being paid to play in college. This also gives the athlete more time to mature mentally and physically.

If the athlete is paid to play as a college player given another year in college, they are likely going to become a better player; this benefits everyone in the sport. The athlete will more than likely earn more money if they perform better in their sport. The school will perform better, which will result in the school receiving more endorsements, greater game attendance and increased TV viewership. If both the school and the players are getting more attention from the media and public, then the NCAA benefits as well. There will be more people are going to NCAA sponsored events and watching NCAA sports on TV.

Another bonus of NCAA athletes getting paid is that competition will rise. If a person becomes an elite talent at a smaller school and are more likely to stay, then the school is more likely to be better for a longer period of time. If a school has an extended period of success, they will make more money for recruiting and are a more attractive destination for elite players. So, not only would schools like North Carolina, UCLA and Kansas compete for championships, but smaller schools like Buffalo, Loyola-Chicago and Murray State would as well.

If the players and teams are having success, then the NCAA will as well. By allowing NCAA athletes to be paid, the NCAA gets rid of the struggle it has had with players receiving money illegally. If a student athlete is already paid, then agents and players would be less likely to break the rules in order to contact, sign and pay players.

Lastly, it’s only fair to the players that they get paid. The argument that athletes are rightfully compensated with an education is somewhat false. The athletes are put into easier classes and miss a great deal of class time, so they’re actually getting cheated out of an education. By getting paid, this somewhat alleviates the blow of not being able to go to class. Additionally, athletes work very hard and spend a lot of time devoted to perfecting their craft in their sport. They have less time to work and earn money than most college students, so it’s only right that they can make money off of their likeness.

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