Creative Response Blog
$100 million? For an 18 year-old kid who hasn’t even played an NCAA game yet? Pretty ridiculous, right? Wrong. The debate as to whether or not NCAA athletes should receive compensation for their services is ever growing, and can even be mentioned in the same breath as concussions in the NFL or name changes in pro sports as popular sports stories of the decade. The question is quite simple, although it may seem complex because of the variations that follow. This article goes in depth into the recruiting by shoe companies for the services of the supposed next big thing in the sports world, Canadian Andrew Wiggins. Even though companies cannot even speak with him for another 8 months, this article looks at all possible angles, from who is agent could be, to what company outfitted is AAU team, to give the reader an idea what brand he will be wearing on his feet. Although this article does not look into whether or not athletes should receive compensation above scholarships, it does raise the question.
Enter Johnny Manziel, star quarterback for the Texas A&M Aggies, and the first freshman to win the Heisman trophy. But what’s not on his resume is most appealing to me. Manziel is (or was) the poster-boy for NCAA athletics because of this outgoing personality, and obvious skill on the gridiron. And what comes with being the poster-boy for the NCAA is millions of dollars in revenue. None of which, he will see. Manziel has been in the news recently, as it was reported he took money from a broker to sign memorabilia, a big no-no in the NCAA’s books. Manziel served a one half of a game suspension, as the NCAA lacked the evidence to pursue this case further.
Manziel is not alone in this case, as many other athletes and programs have been derailed by the NCAA for what they call ‘impermissible benefits.” What constitutes an impermissible benefit is something that not every other student has access to. For example, the school cannot buy Johnny Manziel a car, because it didn’t buy every other student a car. Easy enough? But the issue is, not every other student at the school is making millions of dollars in revenue for the school and the NCAA. Arguments can go either way. Sure there is the fact that these student-athletes are receiving up to $50,000 worth of free education and exposure every year. But for Manziel, $50,000 times his 4 years there does not come close to the money he has generated. Obviously, this isn’t the case for every athlete in the NCAA, but is for many of the high profile ones.
A solution is on the table, but will not get implemented any time soon. NCAA Board of Governors and members passed a by-law that would allow all student athletes to receive $2000 per year in cash. A small amount sure, but for many of these athletes who train year round and aren’t able to have a part time job, this money would go a long way. And yes my point that Manziel still wouldn’t be making the money he is generating does not work here, I still do believe that there should be equity amongst all sports.
So should NCAA athletes be paid? And if so, what is a good way to do so?