By Garrett Trost
Special to Niagara Frontier Publications
Since the inception of the NCAA, the student-athlete agenda has been pushed upon the world and grossly underestimates how much a college athlete is actually worth. This has always been prevalent as the NCAA profits big time, When the little guy (college athlete) continues to get pushed aside without pay because that is how it has “always been.”
The issue won’t get solved because, in a recent study taken by the Morning Consult, the survey asked “Favorability of college athletes profiting off of their name. Only 60% of the survey applicants stated that it was alright for players to profit off of their name. 40% of the general population still doesn’t think college athletes should profit off themselves. This means all the money will go to the coaches and the high-rollers at the head of the NCAA.
Many think that college athletes shouldn’t get paid because they chose to play for free when they signed up to play for the school, So why should they expect a hefty check in the future. This argument can be flawed because there are so many reasons why young college students choose certain schools without thinking about the money side of the decision. These certain factors can be attributed to feeling forced into a decision by a family member to grow up in a poor neighborhood and feeling that this is the only way to make a name for themselves, Many reasons young college-athletes get taken advantage of, but the problem isn’t seen as a problem in many people's eyes.
“College-athletes are already getting scholarships and financial aid packages that are basically like payment.” Scholarships do certainly have a lot of value in their own right but, when college athletes who were very sought after are struggling to buy basic items for their car or items essential for even survival. Not having the time to get a job and certainly not getting paid for the time that they are putting in to train to be the best they can be is a very hard choice for college-athletes – especially the ones not able to turn pro. It leaves many in a worse position than even before they left for college.
A scholarly article from a journal states “De La Haye was a kicker for the University of Central Florida’s (“UCF”) football team. At the time, his YouTube channel had over 90,000 subscribers and almost 5,000,000 views. The NCAA found De La Haye ineligible because he was compensated for videos that included aspects of his life as an NCAA athlete – a violation of the NCAA bylaws.” This statement not only proves how flawed the NCAA policies are, but also what a tight stranglehold they have on their college athletes.
The truly awful side of this story is that the average salary for a FBS college football coach is around $130,000-$140,000, to the players getting paid out absolutely $0 of that money. A pay gap like this in any other facet of the work place would be considered illegal, but because these kids are labeled as “student-athletes,” they don’t get any of the potential profits of their hard work and training.
These facts still don’t change public opinion, on this topic they simply told me “I don’t think college athletes should get paid for the simple fact that there aren’t any rules or guarantees that you will get paid in the first place.” This is true. There is no guarantee that these athletes will get paid, but just because there are no rules against it doesn’t mean that it is right. The NCAA not paying their athletes also means a lot of talent starts to move abroad and these kids play in Europe or Asia so they can at least make a little bit of money before making the decision to turn pro. This step could be expedited though by simply paying the athletes even if it is a small portion just so they can have enough money to get their basic needs taken care of.
With the current status of NIL deals, it will be interesting to see what comes of the new NCAA football video game coming to stores in mid-July. This game will be the predecessor of a game that came out back in 2013 called NCAA College Football 14. This will be the first time that NCAA athletes will be legally used to sell merchandise for companies like EA Sports (Game company producing the game in question).
Following the issue of unpaid college-athletes in 2014 former UCLA power forward Ed O’Bannon filed a lawsuit against the NCAA. The case is called O’Bannon v. NCAA in which O’Bannon wins the lawsuit of over $40 million as the courts ruled that it was unlawful for the NCAA to give out players names and likenesses while the players getting paid absolutely no money. EA sports will create a game that has certain teams and stadiums, but no player likeness in respect to players not being paid to be in the game.
Overall, I think that there is still much to do about the college-athletes and the limited amount they are getting paid and how the NCAA and the colleges under the NCAA umbrella should really consider paying the players for the sake of the future of the game and the well-being of the players. This goes for the colleges, too. I believe that the NCAA should do more to foster the growth of the game to the smaller DI colleges that struggle to pay for simple things like maintenance and things like that. All in all, the NCAA should do more in general. The pay gap is too much and with fair pay for all the system that is the NCAA will flourish. Given the fact that players are not being paid and the coaches are, there may be labor disputes in the future that may have major impacts on not only NCAA football but also basketball and baseball etc.
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