EYE 2 EYE : Should College Athletes Be Allowed To Pick Up Endorsements

College athletes work way too hard


Aidan Scott/Talon

Not a viable option

By : Oliver Carter, Senior Staff Writer

Written along the proud sidewalk of any given college, cement will bear bold stars, a callused handprint and helmet engraved with a name. That is, when college athletes become entertainers.

On “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver,” TV host Oliver spoke on this issue: “There is nothing inherently wrong with a sporting tournament making huge amounts of money, but there is something slightly troubling about a billion-dollar sports enterprise where the athletes are not paid a penny.”

That would be a legitimate concern if it were true, but this statement is purely dramatized for the sake of controversy. In reality, funding for college athletes (especially those on a scholarship) exceeds that of a regular student. With athletics playing a large role on many college campuses, athletes receive plenty of extra scholarship stipends, including free housing, tuition, school supplies and books, swag and so on. 

Legislature in Sacramento passed the Fair Pay to Play Act, requiring Californian colleges and universities to allow student-athletes to accept compensation for their names, likenesses, and images. The bill, however, will fund the athletes themselves, through endorsements by brands. 

Imagine the wreckage this would do to the college culture, inevitably creating a wider gap between students and student-athletes. Students go to see their peers play as students, not as celebrities; thus, also narrowing the gap between college athletic amateurism with professional sports. Plus, student-athletes will no longer get to compete in championship games either.

All North American college sports are conducted by amateurs (as required), even the majorly commercialized ones. How many of them actually go on to become major professionals? To put this into perspective, about 6% of high school athletes move to the NCAA. Out of those, only 2% go pro

College-league teams, as well as any other college activity, is a preparation for a future career, not a job in itself.

NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a video published by the NCAA,If you just looked at the revenue from football you might be able to figure out how to pay football players but you would eliminate all the other sports that are out there in order to do that and take away opportunities from men and women.”

NCAA chief legal counsel Donald Remy said in a statement, “The decision [that college sports should be played by student-athletes, not professionals] acknowledges that the popularity of college sports stems in part from the fact that these athletes are indeed students, who must not be paid unlimited cash sums unrelated to education.”

All work and no pay?

By : Lucy Anne Heine-Van Fossen, Senior Staff Writer

Being a dual athlete, I strongly believe that college athletes should be able to collect money from their name, image and their brand alike. I know what it takes to be serious about a sport, especially if you are planning on playing that sport in college. Sports can take over your life as long as you want to compete. Playing a sport is a career for those that make it, so how are college athletes expected to balance academics and their sport — without earning any money at all?

Penn Schoen Berland conducted a study, where they found that on average, college athletes spend 50 hours a week on athletics. For those who are just as bad at math as me, that’s about 7 hours a day on athletics alone. The average American works 34.4 hours a week. Don’t forget that these students are also drowning in an academic cesspool akin to that of their non-athlete classmates. 

These players are expected to put the same or more time practicing over the offseason.  If an athlete is putting in that much time and effort into something that they love, why can’t they profit off of it? Especially considering that the NCAA does not allow student-athletes to have a job during the season.  This is just one example of how restrictive NCAA rules are.

The NCAA has gone as far as not letting an athlete’s parents pay for their meal if it is at a restaurant. If the family insists on paying, they can donate to the department at a later time. If any athlete/relative of the athlete violates this rule and the meal cost $100 or more, the athlete becomes ineligible for competition until the NCAA reinstates them. According to the “NCAA rules: A guide for parents, friends, and boosters of student-athletes,” the process of reinstating athletes “can take time” and could result in athletes “missing competition.” 

However, there is a possible solution to this injustice.

California lawmakers have approved a bill called the Fair Pay to Play Act that would allow California college athletes to profit off their likeness. This elicited a fierce rebuttal from the NCAA President Mark Emmert. Emmert claimed that if California went ahead with this bill, they would be excluded from championship games.

Apparently the NCAA does not think so since they claim student-athletes should focus on education and not the pay-to-play system. 80 percent of Pac-12 students said they had to miss a class for competition over the 2014-2015 school year. With this in mind, how are student-athletes supposed to “focus on education” when their sport demands them to miss so much valuable classroom time? 

With the new California bill, student-athletes would at least be able to earn money while participating in athletics. It will not solve the problem of balancing education and sports, but at least athletes will not have to worry about being robbed of compensation throughout their athletic career. Knowing that they can earn money from their endless travail will provide them some tangible equity. Is just a little stability too much to ask as a college athlete?

Common Ground

  • California Colleges will be taken out of championship games (which sucks)
  • Athletes who may rule ineligible will still be on scholarships, ruining other, eligible, athletes’ chances
  • Will help athletes financially, especially since they are unable to work during the season
  • The gender gap in college athletics should be filled