NCAA strikes Out on pay-for-play law

Back in October the NCAA board of governors seemingly took a huge step forward when they unanimously made it legal for athletes to profit off their name, likeness, and image. 

This came just one month after California voted to pass a law that would allow athletes to hire sports agents and sign endorsement deals.

Amidst all the turmoil and excitement, the NCAA made sure there were a few kickers to the law. 

The law won’t take effect until January of 2021, which extends the waiting line for athletes to cash in their well-deserved checks. By doing this, the NCAA is taking away the opportunity for upperclassmen athletes who will be graduating before this takes effect. 

“This is another attempt by the NCAA at stalling on this issue,” said Ramogi Huma, executive director of the National College Players Association, an advocacy group.

In January, a USA Today article written by Nancy Skinner tells states to join the movement. 

“And for those states that haven’t introduced or announced similar legislation, join the fight. After all, if you remain on the sidelines, and the NCAA enacts no real reforms, then student-athletes and colleges and universities in your state will be at a disadvantage when laws like the Fair Pay to Play Act go into effect across the country,” Skinner said. 

Another major issue is that each division gets to make their own guidelines for this new law. Division 1 is the major focus for this law because they are front and center when it comes to profiting off themselves. Of course, that’s the division that will have the most strict guidelines. 

They will be focusing on making recruitment equal for every team, so powerhouse schools like Duke, Alabama, LSU, and Texas don’t have unfair advantages when recruiting top athletes. 

I personally think this is unnecessary. Even without receiving money, athletes were still choosing schools that would put them in the limelight. That’s why you don’t see five-star recruits choose small schools. 

The NCAA is trying to keep the amateur status of collegiate sports even though the professional sports landscape is all about the benjamins. I don’t think divisions should have the power to make their own restrictions on the pay-for-play law. Treat it like the business it is. 

The NCAA is also focusing on keeping academics the priority in where the money is distributed. What this means is that star players will not be able to receive every penny their name, likeness, and images makes. Instead, the money will be distributed across the university.

Here’s what I’ll say to that. Hundreds of thousands of people don’t pay money to go watch me study in the library. They don’t pay for $1,000 tickets to the Final Four to see the players passing that exam in the new science building.

According to money.com, Zion Williamson created over $1 billion in revenue for the NCAA in his short time at Duke. That’s over $34 million per game. He didn’t get a penny. 

What happens if he were to have gotten injured last season and his career was done? Nothing. He would’ve been out of luck with nothing to fall back on.

The NCAA is acting like this isn’t a pressing issue. Athletes need to speak up and show the NCAA how prevalent this is in the status quo.

There needs to be a change in the law that helps athletes have insurance of some sort to fall back on if they have a career ending injury.

Until these athletes speak up, the NCAA will continue to walk on the fine line of making the athletes happy, and making themselves happy. We need to find an alternative that has both, and we need to do it now.

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