Pay them for their image

College sports is a culture unlike any other. The merchandise, tailgating and the actual game experience is unlike anything I have ever experienced. Saturdays in the fall are reserved for football, and the winter is reserved for college basketball.

College athletics is a billion-dollar industry, with coaches making millions of dollars a year and schools benefiting financially as well. But the athletes, who make these various programs great, are left struggling while schools and coaches are able to profit off of their image, likeness and talent. Many people find this unsettling and it has left many people boycotting the NCAA until athletes are paid for the use of their images and likeness.

A little over a month ago, California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, signed a bill that would allow college athletes to profit monetarily for the use of their images and likeness. Other states followed Newsom’s idea and the NCAA finally agreed to let this happen. The NCAA’s governing body voted unanimously to allow student athletes, “The opportunity to benefit from their name, image and likeness.” These rules won’t go into effect until 2023, which gives the state of California a little over three years to make amendments to their legislation. These rules will also allow athletes to accept sponsorships from schools.

In my opinion, it’s about time. I used to think student athletes should not be paid but then I went to college. Simply put, college is hard. Student athletes should be compensated for the hard work they put in, both on and off the field. College coaches, specifically NCAA Division 1 coaches, make millions of dollars and have many endorsement deals that they profit from. I am not taking away from the role that coaches play, but without the hard work of their athletes none of these coaches would be where they are now. Schools benefit from endorsements and sponsorships with Nike and Adidas, totaling millions of dollars annually, while their athletes receive nothing.

I’m sure that all college students can agree that being a college student is hard. Factoring in being a student athlete, I could not imagine the pressure on them between managing school and their respective sport. I have interviewed several student athletes for “The Patriot,” and I have nothing but respect for their dedication to athletics and their dedication as students. Economically, I’m not sure how paying college athletes would work, but I do think it should be considered.

Paying college athletes does not sound beneficial; however, if they are paid, they would have less ‘pressure’ weighing down on them. The ‘pressure’ being how they would carry out their daily lives between school and practices. College athletes can’t have traditional jobs like college students because of their training schedules, practice, traveling to and from games and, of course, their schoolwork. Most student athletes do have scholarships that pay for their tuition, housing and other expenses related to attending school. But there are walk-on athletes who do not have scholarships like the recruited athletes.

The main point from this editorial is that walk-on athletes should get some type of compensation to fund their semesters. Although they do not have a permanent position reserved on the team for them yet, they still matter and should be treated as a regular student athlete.