Student athletes should be paid for endorsements

Written By Rachael McKriger, Staff Writer

Collegiate athletes have an ally in California Governor Gavin Newsom. 

Newsom signed a bill, expected to begin in 2023, that allows athletes to hire agents and make money from endorsements. Previously, collegiate athletes were not allowed to generate revenue, aside from scholarship money given based on athletic performance.

It’s an age-old debate on whether college athletes should be paid. Some athletes can receive full scholarships, paying for classes, room, board and the whole nine yards. 

“Every single student in the university can market their name, image and likeness; they can go and get a YouTube channel, and they can monetize that,” Newsom said, via the New York Times. “The only group that can’t are athletes. Why is that?”

Meanwhile, the NCAA argued against the bill, calling it unconstitutional. However, the NCAA did say that changes are needed.

“NCAA member schools already are working on changing rules for all student athletes to appropriately use their name, image, and likeness in accordance with our values—but not pay them to play,” the NCAA said.

It all boils down to the simple question: Should student athletes be paid? Yes.

If their image or likeness is used, that is. For the longest time, I was a firm believer of not paying student athletes. Those students were already getting their tuition and so much more paid for, why did they deserve more because they could throw a football or kick a soccer ball? The more that I thought about it and really got to understand the concept of using image and likeness, it made sense to pay players.

These athletes are watching their jersey go flying off the shelves, but they get no part in the monetary compensation. That is just directly unfair.

The bottom line is that players should be compensated if their likeness, image or name is being used for profit. This does not make players greedy, despite what any critics might say. As a photographer, I understand the mindset these athletes have. It all goes back to establishing credit. When athletes post pictures on social media and don’t credit me, it’s frustrating. When these collegiate athletes see their jersey racking up sales, it’s infuriating to not be credited for the sales.

If that student decided to not go to a specific college, that jersey wouldn’t even be up for selection. It’s time that students can make legitimate money off their own image and likeness. Holding that right away from them is cruel and dishonest.