College cash filling the wrong pockets

By Colin Phan - Staff Reporter

Collegiate athletes aren't getting justly compensated for their services.

Think of a big name athlete such as University of Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson. The money Jackson brings back to Louisville in terms of ticket and jersey sales, far outweighs the subsidized education Louisville pays for.

That's not even the worst part. Due to NCAA rules, Jackson can't receive sponsorships or make any money off of his status as an athlete (NCAA bylaw 12.44).

Picture being the No. 1 ranked recruit in the nation, and getting printed on magazine covers. Your name and brand are out there for the world to see, but only the university you attend may make money off of it — you can't.

The NCAA is taking in copious amounts money, and trying their best to keep it out of athletes' pockets. University of Central Florida kicker Donald De La Haye was ruled ineligible to play football for the school because he was making monetized YouTube videos about being a collegiate athlete.

Fortunately for De La Haye, it seems that the need for money was not of extreme importance. However, athletes who come from nothing, and whose only way out of that lifestyle is making money through athletics, don't have that type of leisure.

Plenty of kids from less fortunate backgrounds grow up thinking their only way out is athletics. I have competed with athletes like this.

Yet, the NCAA refuses to help these kids out in the slightest of ways. I guess it's OK for the NCAA to make money off of the brand of these athletes, but not of the athletes to make money off of their own branding.

This is why — only really in basketball at the moment – more and more kids coming out of high school elect to sign one year contracts overseas rather than play college ball. They're able to make their money, then be eligible for the draft the following year.

It's a lose-lose situation. We don't get to watch them play at a powerhouse basketball program, and colleges will not be able to bring in as much money.

However, in football, athletes don't have that luxury and are forced to go to college before ascending to the pros. With baseball, a player could play in the minor leagues instead of going to college, but the money just isn't worth it.

Preventing these athletes from making money off of their own brands is a mistake that has proven costly for both sides.

With athletes not being able to get money from scholarships, boosters come in and slide some money into the pockets of these athletes — which is a very clear violation of NCAA rules. The University of Michigan cost itself two appearances in the Final Four, while players were erased from school records — all for receiving money from a booster.

Giving players seasonal salary could happen, but it wouldn't be a simple thing to do. However, one thing is abundantly clear — college athletes deserve some compensation that is more than a subsidized education.

Colin Phan is the managing editor of the Thunderword, and thinks he should get paid more.

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