NCAA AthletesBy Tom Dougherty
It’s a start: NCAA athletes benefiting from their likenesses
It’s not perfect, but NCAA athletes being allowed to profit off their likeness is a start in the right direction for amateur sports. And I guess “amateur” is no longer the correct adjective.
The NCAA says it supports “rule changes to allow student-athletes to receive compensation for third-party endorsements both related to and separate from athletics.” There are restrictions, of course. Such as the NCAA determining if the athletes are being paid fair market value. And the universities’ branding cannot appear.
There are still issues that time will take care of, but the description of “amateur” has been long outdated. Few are naïve enough to think NCAA athletes aren’t getting some sort of compensation from boosters and the like. Even the recent FBI investigation, which threatened to bring down college basketball, did nothing of the sort.
What’s made the NCAA think twice is, for example, basketball players going directly from high school to the NBA’s G League instead of college. Daishen Nix, a valued recruit for UCLA, is joining the G League after de-committing from the PAC 12 school. He won’t be the last.
“But time will allow changes to be made, and NCAA athletes won’t be as unfairly caught up in today’s hypocritical scheme.”
NCAA athletes under the cloak of hypocrisy no more
So the NCAA had to do something. Universities have been making millions of the likenesses of teenagers and even the courts didn’t like it. The organization settled with former NCAA athletes over using their likenesses in EA video games, a suit brought on by former UCLA standout Ed O’Bannon.
Some worry this will make large universities even more powerful. That is, now the Alabamas of the world can just get their boosters together to make sure recruits are paid for endorsements and the like. The smaller schools will be left behind.
Maybe, but how’s that any different than what goes now? The best players already go to the bigger schools. At least now NCAA athletes aren’t exploited and the cloak of NCAA righteous falls away.
Besides, small school athletes benefit as well. Trey Lance, the quarterback at North Dakota State, will be one of college football’s stars when football is played again. You don’t think endorsements are waiting for him in Fargo? (Yes, I know this doesn’t go into effect until the 2021 season, but the point stands.)
As I said, it’s not perfect. But time will allow changes to be made, and NCAA athletes won’t be as unfairly caught up in today’s hypocritical scheme.
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