According to ESPN, the NCAA raked in $1 billion dollars during the 2018 school year. Advertised on their website are their acts of service towards athletes, including assistance in travel, providing nutrition, tuition costs and other benefits student athletes may need. But for student athletes, especially those bringing in the most money for the institutions in sports such as basketball or football, this doesn’t seem fair and can feel like a huge manipulation of their talents.
Football and basketball bring in over 90% of the NCAA’s yearly revenue from ticket sales, sponsorship and merchandise. Merchandise like jerseys cannot have the athlete’s name associated with the product, but the available numbers usually belong to the program’s best players. For example, in 2015, Ohio State University’s best-selling jersey number was #97. This was because #97 Nick Bosa was a soon-to-be-NFL draft pick and was lighting up BIG TEN quarterbacks week in and week out. Bosa undoubtedly made the university a lot of money but received none of that profit in return for his performances. Players like Bosa deserve to be paid in order to break even with their respective universities and the NCAA.
When someone who is not an athlete provides any sort of service to a university such as MSU or OSU, they gain something from the exchange. For example, I am getting paid by MSU to write this article. Yet athletes, especially those participating in football or basketball, can contribute so much yet receive nothing in excess of a scholarship and other minuscule sanctioned benefits.
California has taken the lead when it comes to this hot button issue. They recently passed State Bill 206, which allows college athletes to fiscally benefit from their name and performance. While SB 206 isn’t a perfect fix, allowing student athletes to sign endorsement deals and profit off of their own content only brings them up to a level playing surface with their student only peers. While I can sign a deal with any corporation without wondering if it will affect my academic standing, athletes must not react to such deals until they have either graduated or reach the professional ranks. This is completely unfair to those athletes who put in hours of dedication over each semester for the benefit of the university they represent.
So instead of accepting the fact that the NCAA has a completely unfair and poorly regulated system of supporting its athletes, let’s bring the discussion up in front of more state and federal representatives and change how college athletes are treated. Student athletes bring many positive attributes to our universities, and they should be rewarded for doing so. Stand with me against the NCAA, and let’s make college athletics a respectable enterprise.