A monumental day for athletes


Brandon Mills, Writer

October 29th, 2019 is a day that will live on in the history of collegiate sports forever. On that day, the NCAA finally voted to allow student-athletes to make money off of their image and likeness. This has been a problem forever and has only been at the forefront of people’s minds for the last twenty-five to thirty years.

The issue from the NCAA’s standpoint has always been that if you allow student-athletes to make money, then they are no longer amateurs and should be considered professionals. The problem with this theory is NCAA Division 1 athletes are not allowed to have jobs while they are student-athletes. The NCAA is concerned about boosters paying them under the table to keep them at their favorite school. The NCAA has barely entertained the thought of allowing players to make money off of their likeness, let alone get it to a point where they have a unanimous vote in favor of allowing student-athletes to make money. 

From Google, a student-athlete is defined as a participant in an organized competitive sport sponsored by the educational institution in which the student is enrolled. Student-athletes are full-time students and athletes at the same time. Colleges offer athletic scholarships in many sports, and these students are supposed to be focused on school as well as athletics. But, at a Division 1 level of football or basketball in “blue blood” programs such as Alabama and Clemson (football) and Duke and North Carolina (basketball), it is almost impossible for the athletes to be focused on both equally. This is why there are so many scandals involved in big-time collegiate athletics.

The time requirement for these student-athletes is to a point where they truly do not have time to focus on anything other than the sport of their choice. Did Nick Saban or Dabo Sweeney care about the graduation rate of their students? My guess is, probably not. They both make millions of dollars a year to win college football games, not help students graduate. It is a harsh reality to accept, but that is the fact of the matter. In these types of programs, winning is the only thing that matters.  

An argument that has been used for years as a rebuttal to student-athletes being paid is they are already paid with the scholarships they are given to attend school based on their athletic ability. Now, this would be a good argument, if it was backed with facts, but generally this is brought up by people who are mad that they were never good enough to have 90,000+ people pay to watch them play a game. Is it fair that typically the academics of the athletes are not considered when gaining admission into the school? No, but that is also why Division 1 schools have athletic scholarships to hand out along with academic ones. According to thebestschools.org, the average athletic scholarship is about $10,400 a year. That means the athletes are not getting a “free education” as so many people like to talk about. That doesn’t even get you a free education at Marian.  

Allowing athletes to make money off themselves is a gigantic step in the right direction and proves the NCAA is finally starting to move on from their old ways. The way the NCAA is going about this also helps eliminate the potential problems with detractors saying it is not fair. Essentially, they are opening up a free-market to allow each individual athlete to set their own price for what they believe they are worth and what businesses will be willing to pay them for appearances, autograph signings, etc. 

Also, just a thought… Imagine how much money Johnny Manziel would have made if this was allowed when he was at his peak at Texas A&M. All I can say is, wow.