For far too long, the NCAA and college athletics organizations the nation over have been profiting off of the likeness of student athletes who themselves could not.
To look at the issue from what they call the 30,000 feet perspective, we have to realize just how much money some of these organizations bring in through tickets revenue, apparel sales, television contracts, sponsorships, and concessions. For many entire states, the most well-paid public employee is a college football coach, with some raking in millions of dollars per year.
Meanwhile, unpaid athletes are being paraded around like gladiators in the ancient arenas in return for a meal plan and an education. The risk that these young people are taking can make for break them for life, and one hard collision or torn ACL could send them up the educational river without a paddle.
Now, in a stunning reversal of position, the NCAA will allow athletes to exploit their own visage for money.
The unanimous vote follows growing pressure on the National Collegiate Athletic Association to lift restrictions on athletes that have kept them from sharing in the financial rewards generated by their performances.
The change will likely benefit athletes in high-profile sports such as football and basketball, which drive billions of dollars in advertising and revenue for media outlets, schools, coaches and the NCAA itself.
“Its a beautiful day for all college athletes going forward from this day on!” Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James wrote on Twitter.
James, who bypassed college basketball and went straight from high school to the National Basketball Association, cautiously applauded the move as “not a victory but a start.”
California has already approved legislation to allow student athletes to earn endorsement money, long forbidden by the NCAA as part of its mission to protect the amateur status of collegiate sports.
This will be a game changer, in more ways than one, and is long overdue according to a great many student athletes.
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