Chris Rhoades and Leeanna Ellis

Chris Rhoades and Leeanna Ellis

The NCAA Board of Governors on Tuesday voted unanimously to allow student-athletes to be paid for the use of their name, image and likeness.

But is this the right decision?

Association Publisher Chris Rhoades and Managing Editor Leeanna Ellis debate.

Ellis: This will ruin college sports

For years, sports pundits across the country have debated the issue of paying college athletes. Should these student-athletes, whom universities, TV networks and companies are making millions of dollars off of, be paid to play?

My argument has always been that they already are. They are receiving a free education in exchange for playing on the football, basketball, track or even the rowing teams. An education, which by the way, costs thousands of dollars for the average student. They also receive stipends for food and clothing.

On Tuesday, the NCAA Board of Governors voted unanimously to allow student-athletes to be paid for the use of their name, image and likeness.

“We must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes,” said Michael Drake, chair of the board for the NCAA, which governs major college athletics.

The ruling came after California passed a Fair Pay to Play Act, which would go into effect in 2023. Other states were also looking at possible legislation. The California law would allow athletes to sign endorsement deals and licensing contracts.

To me, this is just going to ruin the game. College sports, to me, have always been pure. These are amateurs, proving themselves game after game, with the hope that they could some day make money playing professionally.

What happens to that now?

This will change the game. Whether its for the better is yet to be seen. There are still a lot of questions that need to be answered, but college sports as we know it will never be the same.

Rhoades: It’s time to embrace a necessary evil

When addressing the issue of paying college athletes, I think it’s very important to note that the proposed rules allow for players to benefit financially from the use of their likeness. This is very different, in my opinion, than paying a player to play football or basketball.

It’s almost tough to really grasp the amount of revenue being generated, and profits being accumulated by so many companies from college athletes. A stud quarterback, who leads his team to a major bowl game, can mean millions to a university. Then, local apparel companies can sell a jersey with his number on it with no problem. The TV networks can use that player in their commercials to promote the game, and then sell millions of dollars of advertising around it. But, that player doesn’t see a dime. That’s really kind of crazy when you sit down and think about it.

While I do think it’s time to address the issue mentioned above, the situation is tricky. We absolutely will get to the point where these potential paychecks are used in recruiting.

“Come to Alabama, and you’ll be in the local car dealer’s promotional campaign and see a check worth $50,000.”

If I’m 18, I jump at that opportunity 10 out of 10 times. But, what I do like about paying for someone’s likeness is that it resembles real life and a free market. We’re not going to get to the point where we’re paying every athlete in every sport arbitrarily. The scholarship system is how we currently “pay” players to play a sport. This new proposed rule just allows for those earning millions for others, to share in those benefits.

At the end of the day, I like that this rule is in the hands of the NCAA, instead of individual states. If one state is paying players, and another is not, I think that could ruin college sports. If everyone is playing by the same rules, it’s going to help ensure a more even playing field among schools in every state.

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