Should college athletes be paid for their autographs and likeness?

JohnnyManziel-heismanIt is Johnny Manziel one week Jadeveon Clowney the next. Autographs are getting signed by college athletes and likenesses are getting sold. Somebody is making a lot of money. Allegedly some of the athletes are making money too. The NCAA got so freaked out about selling jerseys with a player’s likeness they stopped.  Initially I thought, a player is making tons of money for the school and the NCAA why shouldn’t they get paid. It seemed pretty cut and dry…

Then the more I thought about it the more I felt that this route may be dangerous if there is any intention of keeping a sense amateurism in college athletics. What I fear would happen, would be absolute unregulated wild west free for all. The fact is most schools have boosters that are willing to do just about anything to get a high profile athlete. Take your unscrupulous booster offer $5000 for a recruit’s autograph, and it’s done.

No rules, no regulations… If you are willing to pay for autographs and likenesses, you might as well just create paid football and basketball teams that represent a university. Why even bother sending the kids to school?

I’m not arguing against a small stipend. I feel that is acceptable compromise, but to pay for autographs, likenesses etc sets a precedent that would change the face of college athletics. I’ve heard the argument about Olympic athletes being able to profit from their likeness. It’s not remotely the same thing. An Olympic athlete will represent one country. There will be not bidding process to gain a player’s services. That would surely be the case if athletes are allowed to sell their autographs and likenesses?

College football and basketball are getting free educations, free room and board, paid insurances, and a vehicle to display their talents on national TV for future riches when they leave. Yes I understand schools and the NCAA may be profiting from these athletes, but where do you draw the line? If it’s only about money as I said previously do away with any illusion that college athletes specifically the football and basketball are anything more than hired guns.

Some already think that’s the case already, but if you want to maintain any semblance amateurism don’t go down this path don’t do it halfway. It won’t work. Letting college athletes profit from their likeness but trying to control them with some governing body like the NCAA inevitably will be a disaster in my opinion.

Agree/Disagree go ahead and vote, comment away or chat it up on twitter.


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