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The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

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Pay for play: College athletes deserve compensation

Maiya Blumenthal
While NIL offers compensation for well known athletes, less recognized players deserve it too.

From the enthusiastic fans to the incredible talent on display, watching college sports is one of my favorite things to do. Although not technically professional sports, many argue that the product college sports put out is better than professional sports. Not only are college sports fun, but athletes also generate a lot of revenue for their schools, and it is only fair that they receive a percentage of that revenue to compensate for all they do for the schools.

According to an article by USA Today, in 2022-23, The Ohio State University athletics department generated over $250 million in revenue with University of Texas at Austin as a close second with just under $240 million. Most of this revenue comes from football and basketball, where athletes put in hours upon hours of effort every day.

These numbers might seem a lot to the average person, but to these athletic departments and other big colleges in America, these numbers are typical. College sports in the U.S. are very popular and because of this, colleges generate a lot of money from TV deals, ticket purchases, sponsorships, endorsements and much more. 

Previously, student athletes couldn’t receive any pay for their work, but on July 1, 2021, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) allowed college athletes to have a “name, image and likeness (NIL)” for themselves. This allowed college athletes to collect revenue from sponsorships and branding, but not directly from their schools. This was a big improvement, but there is still work to be done. 

If you are a popular college athlete, and you generate revenue for your school and the NCAA, you will get paid appropriately for your effect on the game. Although not every college athlete makes money from these sponsorships or brand deals, big-name players do, and they profit a lot from it. While this is good for some players, it is still unfair for the lesser-known players not to receive anything. I think there should certainly be some form of payment to athletes who don’t make money from brands; this compensation should come from their school or the NCAA. 

While the NIL system still has a disparity in who benefits from it, I believe that it is currently the best way for the NCAA to estimate a student-athlete’s value, and this will help them decide how to pay college athletes in the future. If you are elite at your sport, and you generate a lot of revenue for your college and the NCAA, it is reflected in your NIL value.

With all the money that big athletic departments generate, they can certainly afford to allocate more money to players. In an article written by Sports Illustrated explaining the buyout of Texas A&M football coach Jimbo Fisher, they show how much money colleges are willing to pay for sports. 

Fisher received a $75 million buyout, meaning that the Texas A&M athletic department was willing to spend that much money on a single person. How come they can’t spend even a little of that money on compensating their players?

In the future, the NCAA must pay college athletes, as college sports are only gaining popularity yearly. NIL was a great start to paying college athletes, but in the future, the NCAA will have to adapt and figure out a way to pay athletes in a way that is fair and equitable.

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About the Contributor
Maiya Blumenthal
Maiya Blumenthal, Opinion Editor
Maiya is so excited to continue her work on the Lion’s Tale this year as an opinion editor. She can’t wait to help people share their ideas with the community in this role. Outside of Lion’s Tale, Maiya plays basketball, tennis and piano, and participates in Friendship Circle and the CESJDS Debate Team. Maiya can’t wait to work with the rest of the Lion’s Tale staff to produce interesting and unique content this year.  

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