Student athletes are about to get a raise and it is about time.
In August 2014, former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon along with 19 others sued the NCAA for the use of his image last year. As such, U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken ruled that the NCAA cannot ban athletes from selling the rights to their name and image.
Last week, Wilken approved $60 million to be paid to student-athletes who file a claim by July 31.
Sports Illustrated reported that more than 20,000 claims have already been filed and some players will receive a cap of $7,200.
Wilken’s ruling ordered the NCAA to begin paying football and men’s basketball players as much as $5,000 per year starting Aug. 1. Thus, athletes will receive this stipend as early as September of this year.
Is this fair? Absolutely.
In today’s society, a bachelor’s degree is not enough. Having a perfect 4.0 GPA in one’s respective field of study is not a one-way ticket to employment.
Internships, job experience, extracurricular activities, on-campus clubs and entrepreneurship are the things future employers look for when hiring recent college graduates.
Between classes, practice, lifting weights and watching film, most student athletes do not have time to add student activities and internship opportunities to their rigorous athletic schedule. Meaning, after college, they lack important skills for job employment within different companies.
By paying athletes, the NCAA is recognizing the body of work athletes put in to be the best at their craft. University of Portland senior basketball player Kevin Bailey said that paying him would make the work that he does in the gym recognizable by future employers.
“As athletes we are coddled in a sense. I could’ve potentially gone my entire college career without paying for a meal,” Bailey said. “So to outsiders it looks like I’ve done nothing but play ball. What isn’t taken into account is the time and energy restraints of being a student athlete. So if I could be paid it would make things a little easier in terms of being able to list basketball as an actual job on my resume.”
A yearly stipend could serve as cushion for student athletes to rely on when they finish school.
There is potential for payment to affect sports outside of men’s basketball and football.
University of Portland sophomore volleyball player Makayla Lindburg said that while she feels a full ride is sufficient compensation now, a check received at graduation would help her transition to life outside of college.
“I am lucky I get my tuition, housing, surgery and food paid for,” Lindburg said. “But when I graduate, I will have no resume because I spend all the time I could be working at practice. So, unless I go (play) professionally, it will be really hard for me to get a job where I can support myself. The $5,000 check would give me money for wiggle room to find a place to live while I look for a job after graduation.”
The NCAA is in the process of renegotiating and appealing this ruling.