To Pay or Not to Pay? By Eleanor Mancini

Player’s name, image, and likeness. For those involved in college-level sports, or those about to be, specifically high-level, D1 athletes, these buzzwords have triggered divisions for years. The NCAA, the regulating body of college sports, has restricted how athletes advertise, communicate, and compete, all due to prevention of an athlete using their name, image, or likeness in order to promote an individual brand or product. This primarily was in order to prevent amateur athletics (non-paid, for the school) from becoming similar to professional athletes (athlete signing big contracts to promote a shoe, water bottle, or sports drink). By the NCAA’s perspective, they were trying to create a level playing field, not letting one athlete get ahead because of a certain sponsorship. The athlete’s purpose is to represent the school and to get an education, not to profit off of something they are already getting a scholarship for. However, critics of this stance highlight stats, such as the $1 billion annual revenue of the NCAA to show how unfair it is for athletes to make no money, while the regulating body preventing them from making anything is making billions. In many cases, some of the top players are living off food-stamps, while the institutions they play for make money off their skill.

After decades of debacles over regulations and tight restrictions over things big and small (even down to what is legally considered a “snack”), the NCAA has loosened their strings, and allowed players to make profit off of their name, image, and likeness, in the passage of the "Fair Pay to Play Act.” While it has not taken affect in all states, many big institutions in stats like FL, PA, NY, MD, NC, SC, IL, MN, CO, NV, and WA will benefit.

This could be beneficial to college athletes at all levels. Senior Bryn Tucker “Tuck”, who has committed to Clemson to play D1 football is excited, stating that if the opportunity arises, he would take the chance to earn a little money. “I’ll definitely take advantage of it. But, it’s also based on likeness, you know like Trevor Lawrence, the quarterback- everybody loves him. It’s based off likeness, so if I could start like a new business or a mini business to help people out, with [my] likeness, I could get paid for doing that, and help people out,” Tucker said.

Though he says it will not affect his plans to enter the professional field.

“It wouldn’t affect my decision, you know- in college my plan is to hopefully stay three years, you know, junior year is when you can get drafted by the NFL. So, I mean that’s my goal. In the NFL, you get paid, but like the money stuff about the college- getting paid would be really nice- but m y number one goal is to go into the NFL for 6 or 7 years. [Its] stable money. That’s my goal-, any team, I don’t mind. That’s my goal.”

Many ex-collegiate athletes, such as Coach Anderson, who was an All-American linebacker for Carson Newman expressed his frustration stating, “We definitely could’ve used that- though we weren’t mad. We didn’t think about that kind of thing, but when the end of the month came it would’ve been helpful to get a little stipend to carry you over.”

While he supports this ability of schools to give a little bit of money, he also thinks schools shouldn’t pay athletes a ridiculous amounts of money, and students should now be wary about the sources of the sponsorships they may receive. He said his job is to prepare his athletes to be careful and be prepared for all the new challenges they will face.