On October 29, the NCAA surprised us by saying that they intended to allow college athletes to earn compensation beginning in 2020. This decision came after California passed a law that bans schools in the state from preventing student-athletes from accepting compensation.
The National Public Radio reported Michael Drake, the NCAA board chair, saying that “we must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes.”
The NCAA is yet to release full details on what and how they will allow athletes to be paid, however it will be accepted across all three divisions and all sports.
The definition of being an amateur is that you do not receive payments for competition, advertisements or anything that takes advantage of your athletic abilities. The enforcement of amateurism in NCAA competition is purely to ensure that athletes are scholars first and athletes second.
However, over the years, college athletics has become almost as serious as professional leagues and is just as large as a moneymaker.
Many people across the nation are in favor of NCAA intentions. Yet, as a Division II female athlete of a sport that is hardly recognized in America, I see flaws with the NCAA’s intentions to allow athletes to be paid.
I may be biased in my thoughts considering I have not experienced the chance to earn big money but my experiences lend a different perspective that I think most people are overlooking.
Female sports are already extremely under-recognized and have large gaps across professional leagues. Often, we hear about the lawsuit the US Women’s Soccer team has in an attempt to even out pay differences that they face purely because of their gender.
College sports are no different and I doubt we will see fair pay when athletes are allowed to be compensated.
The truth is only Division I will benefit from compensation. Television stations and advertising companies don’t care about Division II or III. A lot of lower Division I schools are the same way.
Here at ESU, we produce athletic teams that make the PSACs and NCAAs consistently and are even better than some Division I teams, yet, we can’t even get a live stream of our games, let alone a match televised with interviews afterward.
Most of the athletes who leave to be drafted or sign contracts with sponsors are more than likely on full scholarships at some pretty expensive schools.
Attending Penn State can cost up to $50,000 a year. For four years that’s $200,000, plus all the top facilities you have access to, free clothing, free food, free transport and so on.
The NCAA is yet to finalize and announce all the specific details within the new regulations, however, the idea that one could not only be given a full scholarship but then also profit off million-dollar contracts is insane.
I am sure that if athletes begin to gain compensation then institutions are going to significantly suffer and very possibly cut or lower scholarship funding. Or even worse, take away scholarships or money from other programs that don’t bring in as much revenue.
I think the biggest concern with the NCAA intending to allow athletes to be paid is that student-athletes will lose the most crucial part of their name; students.
College athletics is built off the idea of amateurism and it has always separated itself from professional leagues because of that. The whole point of being a student-athlete is, yes, being a student.
I will be interested to watch the implementation of these new rules and how they affect collegiate athletics.
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