Photo courtesy of NCAA athletics

College athletes bring the NCAA more than $1 billion annually. The players however, see none of it.

College athletes around the country are being used for their abilities without bring properly compensated. The athletes should be paid because of their financial contributions. With compensation, more athletes would finish college. The athletes aren’t allowed to profit on anything. In many ways, NCAA regulations hamper future success.

In preposition, the main argument against further compensation of collegiate athletes is that would no longer make them considered amateurs legally. This has gone back and forth in court and has gone all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

There is Title IX implented by the U.S. Department of Education. The Supreme Court howver, ruled in Ed O’Bannon vs. NCAA that college athletes can be compensated and still be amateurs. Payment was sent to former players after that class action suit.

“Tuition is compensation enough”

Athletes should be compensated past just their basic scholarships, considering the amount of money they bring in, especially in contact sports; there is no reason that they shouldn’t. For a “nonprofit” organization, the NCAA makes millions off sports.

In 2014 for example, the NCAA had an intake of $989 million with expenses of $908.6 million. That leaves $80.5 million in surplus. College athletics, especially football and basketball, have only gotten bigger in the past three years with the addition of playoffs, more bowl games, more TV games, etc. The players who play in these games are seeing none of the profit, but take all the risk.

You could take that profit and split it between those who make you that money. On just football alone, all the starting players would earn approximately $1,544.93 but you could also scrape the $544.93 per starter and divide that among the players who do not play but are on the roster. The athletes use their talents and put their well-being on the line to make the NCAA this money. The least the NCAA can do is be an actual nonprofit organization and give back to them.

Stay in school

If the athletes were compensated further, there is no questioning that more of them would stay in college and graduate. That in-turn benefits the schools because they receive more government funding. Funding based on their graduation rates and retention rates which would increase because of this. Also, this could lead to higher GPAs. Not only are the players wanting to go pro, more would be determined to finish school and earn a degree.

For athletes, yes, they do get scholarships, but others get free school from grants and financial aid. Not only that, but the players, unlike their counterparts, cannot get part-time jobs to support themselves. For those who come from financially challenged homes, that scholarship may not be enough to cover a lot of things that they still need. On top of that, their families may not be able to assist them at all. Athletes receiving financial compensation could have a workaround.

The NCAA and its damaging practice

Say the NCAA is determined to not pay the players a salary. they could allow boosters to give them gifts. That could also make it easier for figuring out how much certain schools and players should get. Most of the schools that are better at sports have a wealthier alumni base such as UCLA, Oregon, Clemson, Alabama, Florida State, and plenty others.

The regulations of the National College Athletic Association (NCAA) can hamper the players financial and athletic success. College athletes, while in college, are losing out on potential earnings that they cannot take advantage of while in college.

Real-life examples

LaMelo Ball, who was committed to UCLA basketball and still in high school, was no longer eligible because he was selling his own shoe with his name on it. If he were to avoid selling shoes to go the college route, he would have lost out on $295 per pair before expenses. That could add up quickly. Ball went on to make a good bit in endorsements while playing in Australia.

While in school, the players don’t even own the rights to their names or likeness. Before you ask, yes, I saw the rule change that was passed. I’ll get to why even with the new rule, they can’t completely use something that is 100 percent their own to make their own money. The NCAA however, has no issue profiting off of the same thing, but I digress. Players can’t sell anything period whether it has their name on it or not. They can’t do anything that becomes financial gain in any way.

Also, players could get hurt while playing for these schools and miss out on a lot of earning potential. One example is Ifo-Ekpre Olumu who stayed to play at Oregon. Olumu ended up tearing his ACL and went from being a projected first-round NFL Draft pick to a sixth-round pick which cost him millions annually for a three-year span.

Thankfully for him, the university paid for a $3 million insurance plan, which he cashed in on when his stock fell. That’s something from which he will never recover. Olumu would suffer injuries to the same knee multiple times and it effectively ended his football playing career.

There is no alternative

College athletes, especially those who are highly touted and very likely to make their way into the professional ranks of sports, who are forced to stay in college are missing out on millions of dollars not to mention very lucrative careers in the industry. Consider that at one time, the NBA did not force players to go to college. The college sports programs would survive if some kids got to skip college to go pro.

Yet, there is a way to prevent both by giving kids incentives to stay at their respective institution with financial and developmental incentives. It’s the same thing playing overseas or going into the NBA’s G-League provides for these young players. Players, who are risking their well being to make these institutions money, should receive some sort of financial compensation whether it be from boosters, the school, or the NCAA itself. There are many ways to go about solving this issue without much backlash.

It’s becoming inevitable

Even the NCAA is slowly giving up on this. Three of the top high school basketball players for 2020 have decided to bypass the NCAA. They plan to play in the aforementioned G-League. Everywhere but the NCAA has been looking for ways to compensate these young men and women. The only reason the NCAA is slowly loosening the reigns is because it is realizing it has no other choice.

Alternative solutions

An alternative to actually paying the players would be providing them with insurance policies such as the one previously mentioned with Olumu. That would ensure their financial security in the event of injury or fall of their personal stock and potential earnings due to faulty draft projections.

Subsequently, collegiate athletes supposedly will begin to be allowed to profit off of their name and likeness. Not to get it confused, it would only pertain to when the NCAA deems they can. If you look into that new rule change, there’s so much that stops the players from using their own personal property to make their own money independent of the NCAA.

Overall, college players do so much for the schools and get almost no thanks for it. They put their bodies and future earnings on the line and some can barely get by during school. These players make the NCAA a large profit. Wouldn’t you think they deserve to get some of that profit?

After all, the nonprofit NCAA is about giving back, right?