College athletes should be paid

Gov. Ron Desantis has proposed a bill similar to California’s “Fair Pay to Play” law, and I am all for it.

Jack Kirk, Sports Editor

Editor’s note: This column earned first place in the sports column category at the District 4 FSPA Workshop on Nov. 1, 2019

College athletes have a very strange financial dilemma. Most get a full ride through college, but not a single athlete is allowed to profit on their likeness, despite the revenue they pull in for their college. But I support Florida Gov. Ron Desantis in his decision to allow them to get paid.

On Sept. 30, California passed a new “Fair Pay to Play” Law which would enable collegiate athletes to profit off of their likeness. This is long overdue, as student-athletes are paid with scholarships and are not allowed to have any type of financial compensation for their efforts. They can’t sell autographs or make money off of anything that has anything to do with their association to their college.

The disparity in money paid to student-athletes in scholarships and the money paid to the coaching staffs is ridiculous. According to a study by the Aspen Institute, in 2015 the five major NCAA conferences paid their 530 coaching staff members a combined $405.5 million, while their 4,979 football players received a combined $179.8 million in scholarships. With close to a tenth of the people, these coaching staffs are receiving double the money their players get for their efforts.

These athletes are pouring their hearts and souls into every play they’re a part of, and yet because they get a free education, they are treated almost like financial burdens instead of business partners, which they very much are. Between TV deals, fan attendance, merchandise, etc., these colleges are bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars. Paying these athletes would not put these schools at any sort of risk financially, so why these schools refrain from doing so is beyond me.

Gov. Desantis is proposing to allow student-athletes to get endorsement deals which would not directly affect the pockets of the colleges while giving athletes money to live off of outside of an education. The idea is that since this money is not coming from the schools themselves, they should not retaliate. This allows these greedy colleges to not open their fat wallets for athletes, but gives athletes who get endorsed to have money to show for their work on the field.

Hopefully this bill is passed not only in Florida, but all over the nation so that collegiate athletes can stop being taken advantage of.