Forever I Love Atlanta Sports

Pay For Play Yay or Nay

The issue of college athletes receiving pay has long been a touchy subject. The state of California recently adopted The Fair to Play Act which if approved, would allow players to profit off their name, image, and likeness. To some, this would ruin college sports and end amateurism. Many others feel the universities and the NCAA licensing department have been unfairly making millions from the athlete’s likeness for decades.

               Locally we all remember the cases against A.J. Green and Todd Gurley. Two standout Bulldog’s punished for similarly the same thing, trying to make a buck. Green was suspended 4 games in the 2010 season for selling a signed game jersey to what was deemed to be an agent. Gurley was popped for 4 games as well in the 2014 season. His offense was accepting money to sign memorabilia for collectors. AJ admitted to accepting $1,000, Gurley $3000. It is against the rules, but who is it hurting? They didn’t cost the school or the NCAA any money. Who was hurt? It surely did not create an unfair advantage on the field.

               The notion that college athletes due receive payment in the form of tuition and board is a misnomer. Players who are not on scholarship still aren’t able to profit from their likenesses either. So even if I pay my way the NCAA still places restrictions, so goes the theory of letting them pay their own if they want to profit. Also, a player’s economic situation has no bearing on his athletic scholarship. Rich kids and poor kids get recruited. There are a small group of athletes with enough star power to be able to pay their tuition and still profit from their own image. The NCAA still says no. Their solution was to introduce the stipend which division 1 athletes are eligible to receive. The stipend which has helped lessen the burden of college athletes not being able to have basic spending money still isn’t nearly enough when we consider that the players generate millions is the product in a billion-dollar industry. There have been wars waged for similar unfair treatment.

I don’t get it. The current proposal made in California will not cost the universities or the NCAA one dime. Players who are not able to profit off their image have no gripe at unfairness. Sure, players will go out of their way to get endorsement deals and such but don’t they already? The coach who recruits the players will be tasked with managing the egos, not the NCAA. I guess the NCAA doesn’t want a free for all where college kids are driving fancy cars, wearing gaudy jewelry and flaunting wads of cash, because we know that would never happen.

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