For years the NCAA and others who are against paying college athletes have given what would seem reasonable arguments: They are already on full scholarship, if you pay athletes in one sport you have to pay them in all sports, etc.
For the most part, I was okay with the rules. I also feared that if the NCAA opened pandora’s box by allowing schools to pay athletes, or even the association paying athletes, it would lead down a road where eventually schools could pay unlimited money, and college football, my favorite sport, would become like Major League Baseball and Alabama would become the Yankees (although in some cases they already are).
But this ongoing lawsuit by former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon, along with the previous lawsuits against the NCAA and the recent $20 million settlement involving video games using players without specifically naming them, highlights the fatal flaw behind those arguments. The Ed O’Bannon lawsuit is not the first case against the NCAA, but it does expose some of the league’s hypocrisy.
If you don’t want players on a stipend fine. But why shouldn’t they be able to profit off of themselves?
Not only is the NCAA not paying athletes despite making billions, but athletes can’t get paid through ventures off the field.
This is nothing new of course. We knew this with the Johnny Manziel autograph issue last year; any avid EA Sports NCAA Football fan knew it; pretty much anybody affiliated with the sport knew it. But does that make it less wrong?
One of the biggest arguments against paying student athletes is the argument that other students on scholarship, even full rides, may not get paid by the University. But nothing keeps them from individual endorsements as the NCAA does with students.
The issue with Johnny Manziel’s autograph signing last summer should not have been whether or not he did it. It should have been why is there a rule against this in the first place? It wouldn’t have given him or Texas A&M a competitive advantage on the field.
The unwillingness for the NCAA to pay student athletes is one thing.
However, something seems incredibly wrong with the fact that if somebody wants to sell a college player’s jersey, he (or she) cannot profit off of it, but the NCAA allows that jersey to be sold without a name on the back so it can profit off the jersey. What a system.