UNITED STATES—The decision made the United States Supreme Court on Monday, June 21 in regards to compensation for student athletes, the NCAA and the collegiate universe is a game changer to say the least. I have been championing some form of compensation for student athletes at the collegiate level for years. It is indeed a dicey situation, where I can understand the argument from both sides of the coin. You have universities who are offering scholarships to students to play sports, so they are indeed getting an education.
However, there is also the argument that because they are already receiving a full scholarship to pay for school, they should not be compensated. In a unanimous vote, the Supreme Court ruled that collegiate athletes can earn an income so does this open the doors for absolute chaos? That is to be determined America, but I will make the argument it is indeed long overdue, but questions will be raised about which sport will receive more compensation, which athletes will be paid a higher rate than others, will scholarships still be doled out, how will athletes determine what university to commit to. Yeah, this decision has its pros and its cons, so it raises a ton of what ifs, a ton of them.
So let’s look at the argument of those who make the claim the student athletes have scholarships that cover their education, books and housing. That is indeed a good thing because the cost of college is continuing to rise year after year after year. However, the problem that so many people don’t understand about those students who receive scholarships is the fact that they are left with literally NOTHING once tuition, housing and books are covered.
The thing people don’t seem to understand about student-athletes is that they seriously have no lives outside of the sport itself. I know insider details that people are not fully aware when it comes to student athletes playing sports at major universities and how the NCAA benefits from these collegiate sports. For starters, football players are literally on the go all day from early morning to late at night. I mean to see their busy schedules you feel for the athletes; they literally get no time off beyond perhaps the 2-3 weeks in the midst of Christmas break (that is dependent on if they are playing in a bowl game).
Then you have the first few weeks in the New Year, before training begins for the upcoming season. I have heard so many stories from players who literally had nothing in terms of income after their scholarship covered everything. If they wanted or needed extra money those funds had to come directly from their parents or family and for many of the athletes it was unfortunate, because many in the family just didn’t have the funds to help their children throughout college.
They cannot accept bribes, they cannot accept rides, the rules that the NCAA implements on these athletes you would honestly think they worked for them. So in essence that would mean you should be paying them a fair or equitable wage at the same time. We are talking about universities making millions if not billions of dollars off of student athletes each year. The more popular the sport, the more money to be made, but maybe that was not the case in 2020 with COVID-19, but you see my point.
Why can’t some sort of stipend or allowance be dished out to the student athletes? I mean the student is to be the main focus first and foremost, but it seemed at times from my perspective the athlete took precedence. School mattered, but the sport itself always came first, especially if the student athlete happened to be someone who some would argue was the star of the team or who had a major impact on rather the team succeeded or failed. The problem with paying student athletes you run into the risk of some players being compensated more than others, and that animosity can create all types of problems for student athletes, universities, the NCAA and team sports.
If people are getting paid for their talent, do you honestly believe athletes are going to give it their all in the classroom, hell they might not care to give it their all on the court or the field because they’re getting paid now? The notion of endorsements and such can turn little known student athletes into overnight celebrities. You really run the risk of changing the dynamics of college sports as we know it with this decision. How so? The first thing that comes to my mind is scholarships. Are students going to receive those anymore? Who will get what? How much will they get and who will determine when and if that scholarship ceases to exist because the student athlete is making so much money suddenly.
Doors are being opened for all sorts of issues to be opened up that have not been considered and that is something I’m not so certain the universities have prepared for, hell we know the NCAA hasn’t prepared for it because all those monies they have been making for years from student athletes is now in jeopardy and wonder just exactly how they plan to navigate what could become a new norm for them. Student athletes should also consider all the funds they might NOW be forced to pay out of pocket.
Meals, housing, travel, clothing, things that were once comped by schools and the NCAA might become the responsibility of the student athletes now that they are being compensated. Hell, they might even have to pay for their college education now, because I don’t see how you can justify a student receiving a full scholarship to play basketball, yet he or she is also making $1-$2 million in endorsements as a direct result of being able to monetize their brand. I mean the state of California passed legislation some time back allowing this, but it really wasn’t going to take effect until the next year or so meaning this latest decision upends that one even more.
Written By Jason Jones