For years the NCAA has had its hands full with sports fans, coaches, agents, executives and players enticing them to finally allow student-athletes to be able to hire an agent and profit off their own name, image and likeness.
The NCAA states that although some of these athletes are on a full scholarship to play their respective sport, they are students first and should be attending college with the intent of receiving a degree.
They don’t want the number one focus of their students to be winning a national championship despite their programs’ recruiters bringing in top athletes from all around the world who are sometimes already good enough to take the leap to the pros out of high school.
The NCAA doesn’t want to be known as “the step before the pros”. Under their strict set of rules, student-athletes are required to be at least one year removed from high school (or attend one year of college) to enter the NBA draft and at least three years removed from high school (or attend three years of college) to enter the NFL draft.
Another discussion that has been brought up quite a bit is whether athletes should be able to forgo playing their sport at the collegiate level and go straight to the pros out of high school.
On Sept. 30, California Governor Gavin Newsome signed the Fair Pay to Play Act, making California the first state to allow student-athletes to get paid off their name, image and likeness.
Newsome stated in an episode of HBO’s “Uninterrupted,” co-founded by basketball player LeBron James, that, “Collegiate student-athletes put everything on the line — their physical health, future career prospects and years of their lives to compete. Colleges reap billions from these student-athletes’ sacrifices and success but, in the same breath, block them from earning a single dollar.”
He added, “That’s a bankrupt model — one that puts institutions ahead of the students they are supposed to serve. It needs to be disrupted.”
That was the spark. On Oct. 29, the NCAA’s Board of Governors made the unanimous decision to allow student-athletes to hire an agent and profit off their own name, image and likeness. ‘NCAA Football 14’ was the last college football video game made before the NCAA announced in July 2014 that it would not renew its license with Electronic Arts.
Fans of the video game series erupted in anger. Since the passing of the Fair Pay to Play Act, EA says they “would jump for the opportunity” to revive the NCAA Football series. However, the bill is not set to take place until January 1, 2023.
“My initial thoughts were, okay the day is here but how are we going to manage it?” said Kirkwood Athletic Director Doug Wagemester. “I could kind of see that this was coming with all the discussion and all the money the NCAA makes.”
He added, “I don’t feel like I’m educated enough but the NCAA may have to look at their structure and how they do things and the imbalance in money they make. From what I can see, there’s issues on so many levels, it may be a step closer to blowing it up and starting over… Personally, it turns me off to all the high major athletics, it feels like they’re getting away from playing because you love it.”