Should Athletes Profit off their Image and Likeness?

By: Caleb Angus & Ekene Ezeh

Sports Editors

Viewing college sports is one of the most popular pastimes in America, and different people have different reasons for watching. Some people are simply entertained by the game, and others may watch to support their alma maters. However, while millions of people tune in every week to these games, the athletes don’t make any money off of their performances. According to the rules of the NCAA, athletes are not allowed to profit off their names and likeness. If there is an endorsement deal a company wants to give them, they can’t accept it. If there is an autograph event where they can make money and profit, they can’t go. Take Ohio State defensive end Chase Young, for example. Young received a loan from a family friend so that he would be able to fly his girlfriend out to one of his games. He was promptly suspended from playing for two games. These rules were put in place by the NCAA, rules created to hold down an athletes earning power. College athletes put in countless hours of hard work and dedication towards the sport they love, so should be allowed to profit for the hard work they put in.

ncaa

Photo credit: Los Angeles Times

These college athletes may only be students, but they dedicate a lot of long hours to their craft to make themselves better. “When I think about it, college athletes put in the same amount of work as a professional athlete would,” said senior Loick Amouzou. “Athletes on the highest level do that. So I think for them not to be able to profit off the effort, time, and hard work that they’re putting in… I think it is a little crazy.” 

Athletes will spend about forty hours at practice with their team. This, however, does not include the hours of private training that the athletes put in to improve their skills. Due to the hard work and dedication that college athletes put into their craft, they are able to put a great product out on the court and field, a product that people are willing to pay a pretty penny to watch firsthand. As a result, the NCAA is able to profit off these athletes, making 8 billion dollars per year as reported in 2017, while the athletes get nothing in return. But there is an argument to be made for student athletes to not profit off their likeness. 

Many believe that these student athletes do not require payment since the college scholarships that they receive for their talents are payment enough. They argue that since the players are students and they are there to learn, they should not demand compensation in return. Many will argue that these athletes are at the school to get their education, so focusing on making a profit off of their likeness will only distract them from their studies. However, this is simply unfair.

Although these athletes are students first, they are still athletes at heart and put their blood, sweat, and tears into the many sports they play. In many cases they’ve dedicated their whole lives to the particular sport they play, and deserve some sort of reward if they have a big enough presence on and off the field. Junior Ameer Abdulah agrees that players deserve to profit off themselves, stating, “I feel like college athletes should be able to make money because they’re devoting their time to play the sport that I’m assuming their good at, because they play at the college level, and since they represent the school and the school earns some sort of salary from the games, then they should get a portion of that because they’re devoting most of their time in college to play the sport for that season.” These schools cannot deny that they make thousands, if not millions of dollars off these athletes, so it is only right that the athletes should be able to do the same.

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