How the NCAA Makes Bank Using Student-Athletes


Marley Dias, Editorials and Politics Editor

The National Collegiate Athletic Association is a “member-led organization dedicated to the well-being and lifelong success of college athletes.” Raking in over 1 billion dollars a year, many would assume that this business would pay their star athletes that provide this entertainment, but they don’t. That is until this year, where the NCAA is finally allowing its athletes to receive money and endorsements based on their name, image, and likeness.

Since the NCAA’s inception in 1906, student-athletes have never been allowed to profit whatsoever, but they do receive athletic scholarships meaning a discounted to free education to the school of their choice. Students were not allowed to receive gifts, from a paid-for lunch to a brand new car, as it is one of the most enforced and highly prohibited practices of the NCAA. Athletes also cannot publicly promote a product or service.

Many have raised flags about the exploitation of these athletes, considering that less than 2 percent of these athletes go professional, and 12% of athletes don’t get degrees. This means that these 4-5 years of an athlete’s life may be their most successful and by losing the opportunity to make money, the NCAA is selling themselves short of the ability to secure a bright future for athletes and their families. 

On top of this, racial identity comes into play when discussing the makeup of the NCAA. Black men make up 22.3 percent of Division I Athletics, while 63% of the total population do not enroll in college. This demonstrates a high concentration of black male college athletes, who more than likely would otherwise not attend college. 

The NCAA provides an opportunity for black families to succeed, as education is one of the most powerful tools to better someone’s life. But, the lack of compensation for these athletes does not improve their livelihoods nearly enough. About 1 in 5 black families are poor, and institutional impoverishment plagues the community. If these generations of successful and dynamic athletes made any profit off of their hard work, they could greatly help their families and friends. 

This year everything could be improved. The NCAA is now working to allow students to profit off of their name, image, and likeness. In California, Senator Nancy Skinner is fighting for student rights, and in the state, students will be able to profit in Jan 2023. On a national level, it is predicted that by August 2021, the NCAA will make changes to rules to promote student welfare.

The NCAA is still not significant enough to help the students. They want to give “schools discretion to prevent athletes from having deals that are deemed to conflict with existing school sponsorship arrangements.” The Senate is continuing to fight slowly in states across the country, but it is unsure as to whether students’ lives will be prioritized over finances. 

Another interesting point to note is the salaries of coaches in college football. There are over 75 coaches that make over 1 million dollars, most of which have losing records. Of course, these coaches help the students be great, but a comparison of millions for coaches and nothing for athletes is disheartening to many.