Deserving to be Paid?


Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Mar 16, 2018; Charlotte, NC, USA; A view of the NCAA logo and basketball before the game between the Virginia Cavaliers and the UMBC Retrievers in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament at Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

With the atmosphere of the student section, intense rivalries, and explosiveness the younger athletes possess, college athletics to some are by far more entertaining than professional sports,. Colleges and the NCAA (National College Athletics Association) rake in millions or billions of dollars off their student-athletes through ticket sales and TV contracts. It would be reasonable for one to think that the athletes deserve to be paid, but the universities disagree. College athletes don’t get paid a dime and aren’t allowed to make money off of their name/fame. Some athletes have been caught trying to get money by selling autographs or game memorabilia, including AJ Green, Cam Newton, Reggie Bush, and OJ Mayo, and were suspended by their universities and the NCAA. However, this ridiculous rule is beginning to be challenged. 

Senate Bill 206 was recently approved by the California State Assembly and signed by California Governor, Gavin Newsome. For people that may not know, Senate Bill 206 is a law that will allow for college athletes to make money off of their name and popularity beginning January 1, 2023, in the state of California. Before the bill was signed, the NCAA stated that is the bill were to be passed, they would ban any California based universities from participating in any postseason tournaments. However, the NCAA has not yet banned the universities and is doing nothing. The NCAA stated the bill is confusing to them and do not know how to act upon it. The bill is not confusing but many believe the NCAA to be stalling to figure out what to do. 

Some people argue that these athletes don’t need to be paid because their tuition is already paid for and some go along to say that they are already being secretly paid by the colleges in order to persuade their commitment decision. While the bribe thing may be true, that is up for the NCAA to investigate and express to the public. Even though these teenagers are having their education paid for by the college itself, many of their families remain poor until they get to the professional leagues. One specific athlete who this applied to was LeBron James. James did not attend college and went straight to the NBA (which is no longer allowed) due to his family’s poor financial situation. Gov. Newsome went on to James’s show, The Shop, to sign the bill and LeBron further elaborated on his decision,

I was one of those underprivileged kids. Obviously, I was fortunate enough and talented enough to be able to skip college. But for sure I would have been one of those kids if I would have went off to Ohio State or if I would have went off to any one of these big-time colleges, where pretty much that 23 jersey would have got sold all over the place without my name on the back, but everybody would have known the likeness. My body would have been on the NCAA basketball game 2004 and the Schottenstein Center would have been sold out every single night if I was there . . . And coming from just me and my mom, we didn’t have anything and we wouldn’t have been able to benefit at all from it, and the university would have been able to capitalize on everything that I would have been there for that year or two or whatever.

— LeBron James

There is no doubt that LeBron would have made huge amounts of money for the NCAA and Ohio State, but he had to do what was in the best intentions of his family due to their financial state.

Even though college athletes can no longer go to the professional leagues straight out of high school (except in baseball), many of the teens have gone to foreign leagues, such as basketball prospects LaMelo Ball and R.J. Hampton, who are currently playing in Australia. LaMelo Ball is currently projected to be one of the top selections in the 2020 NBA draft and many people in his home country have no chance to watch him. More and more athletes may begin to make this move to foreign leagues before turning pro, as they are making money and still gaining recognition from professional scouts.


People have finally begun to call out the corruption of the NCAA and change is finally being made. New York has also proposed a bill that would allow for college athletes to be paid directly by the school, which may not be a great idea due to different sports arguing over how much they should be paid, but hey, at least it’s a start. Now, all there is left to do is to wait and see if these bills can form into actual change, or if nothing will come and the NCAA can continue to own college athletes and profit off of everything they create.