Dynamic Duo: A Sports Column

Pavle Ristic and Zachary Grover, Editors-In-Chief

   In 2018, three men were caught paying student-athletes to attend Adidas-sponsored universities. This is just one of many recent instances of money being used to get young athletes to base their decisions on the will of others. Many of the biggest NCAA football and basketball programs have been caught paying athletes under the table to join their programs, and it is no big secret that many student athletes base their decisions on the amount of compensation they will receive for their services (nypost.com).

   Business Insider stated that one billion dollars is the ballpark annual revenue for the NCAA. The fact that the student-athletes who make that mind boggling revenue possible have not been compensated or even allowed to profit in any way is bewildering (buisnessinsider.com). 

   Recently, collegiate basketball has been losing some of its biggest names due to the fact that the NCAA does not allow for students to have any (public) streams of revenue. The game’s biggest talents are exploring different routes to the pros, such as playing overseas, which can see them pocket a pretty penny for their services. By evading the NCAA, players have been able to legally earn upwards of six figures while continuing their basketball careers (abc.com).

   After the many scandals, the slow growth and loss of talent, the NCAA will allow student-athletes to profit off of their name, image, and likeness (NIL) as of July 1, 2021. What does this mean? Student-athletes will be able to use their own brand to make money off of things such as endorsements and brand deals, things which have been taboo up until this point. Student-athletes now have more incentive to join, or stay, in the NCAA.

    The NCAA is not an organization to make decisions without thoroughly understanding the ramifications of their decisions. Years ago, the NBA made a similar decision and pushed for more individuality among their players. That decision, which may have in the short term cost the NBA some money (they could have sold their players’ licensing rights), has allowed the league to grow incredibly quickly thanks to all of the players who made themselves into celebrities. This new rule could see the NCAA and all of its sports grow as a brand exponentially in a vein similar to that of the NBA.

   Will this decision bring about a conclusion to the never-ending discussion about paying student athletes? No, and it shouldn’t either. As an organization which stands for the progression of student athletes’ careers, the NCAA has an obligation to them, an obligation to try and secure their futures. When the debate is finally pushed back into the foreground of the sports realm, think about all of the youth whose only way out of poverty is through athletics. Think about those kids and what allowing them to be legally paid for their service will do for them and their families.