No compensation for Athlete’s Association

Debate over payment of college athletes gains ground

Sam Hoops, Staff Writer

Since 1993, the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) released sports video games, partnering with Electron Arts, a video game producing company. However, those video games haven’t been made since 2014, due to legal conflicts involving payment for using the players’ likenesses.

Ed O’Bannon filed a lawsuit in 2014 against the NCAA for using his and other players’ likenesses without consent or payment. The lawsuit ended quietly, without the former athletes receiving any monetary settlement.

The debate has been quiet until now, with state governments across the nation deciding that the current laws aren’t fair to the athletes.

California jump-started this debate with a new law that would allow student-athletes to receive endorsements and be paid for the use of their likeness, contrary to anything the NCAA has been able to do so far.

However, the NCAA should not pay college athletes, regardless of the events and media they are presented in. 

This controversy is gaining traction in certain states around the nation, with laws proposed in South Carolina, Colorado, and Washington. The proposals in those three states are very clearly worded to state that athletes will have the option to receive payment.

University athletes have enough to worry about already during their college years, with 61% of students reporting anxiety in a study performed by the American Psychological Association in 2016. They shouldn’t also have to worry about how much they’ll be paid and where they should attend to make the most money. 

Looking into the actual athletes, student-athletes are labeled as such because the student part of their lives come first, and they should base attendance decisions on what can allow them to receive the best education for their future career, not how much money they can make playing college sports. 

In a study done by the NCAA, there are about 500,000 college athletes currently. Only 2% of those athletes will move to professional sports after graduation, leaving 98% of student-athletes jobless after college, where their degrees will matter more than their athletic abilities. 

Harrison Marcus, a Cornell University student studying Industrial and Labor Relations, published a paper online outlining economic focused reasons college athletes should not be paid.

For example, the economy would also be heavily affected, with larger colleges forming monopolies, forcing smaller colleges to decrease athletic programs. With the decrease in demand for athletes, the number of athletes participating in college sports will decrease as well.

While some may say athletes deserve payment for the blood, sweat, and tears they’ve put into sports, they’re already receiving copious sums of monetary support in the form of scholarships and benefits.

NCAA Division I and II schools are already providing over $2.9 billion to athletes across the nation, which cover a large portion of the student’s tuition and fees, room and board, and books. To add more money on top of that would be excessive.

While more college football video games would be stellar, the education the student-athletes receive is more important than the possible outcomes of athletes profiting off usage of their likenesses.