California passes law to allow college athletes compensation for endorsements and more (opinion)

The California law will have no direct effect on varsity athletics at Augusta University, but both South Carolina and Florida are considering similar legislation. (photo by Brian Mitchell)

By Jeremiah Griffin |
Sports writer

Should college athletes be able to hire agents and be paid for their likeness and endorsements?

This is what many of the states are considering. California recently approved legislation that will allow just that, and its law will take effect in 2023.

Ohio has begun drafting legislation, and Florida and South Carolina are beginning to consider doing the same. A movement is starting, and the NCAA will have a mess on its hands very soon.

The governor of California, Gavin Newsom, told the New York Times: “Every single student in the university can market their name, image and likeness; they can go and get a YouTube channel, and they can monetize that. The only group that can’t are athletes. Why is that?”

The NCAA is not taking this quietly since it believes the new piece of legislation to be unconstitutional and looks to quash the bill until something can be implemented for all of its members around the country.

Should college athletes be able to receive compensation for endorsements and use of likeness? I think it’s a very subjective decision.

College athletes work themselves to the bone, injuring themselves, sacrificing their bodies and free time to earn a one in 100,000 chance to reach the pros and actually make money. College is simply a bump in the road to success. The argument made by Gov. Newsom was that it would be unfair to disallow athletes to receive compensation, and he’s right. It is unfair.

It would also be unfair, however, to let the athlete’s education become second fiddle to their new job, receiving endorsements, modeling and working to give likeness. The colleges have a hard enough job educating athletes when they’re rarely in class due to the commitment to sports.

Overall, I think I agree that the athletes should be compensated, but there should be a cap to how much they get paid.  If gone unchecked, salaries for jobs like these could balloon to ridiculous heights like professional athletes get paid today.  This would cause a whole other level of unfairness that the NCAA would have to tackle down the line.

Sooner or later, this will happen. The NCAA should stop asking if it “should” happen and start asking “how” it will happen.

 

Contact Jeremiah Griffin at JEGRIFFIN@augusta.edu.