STATE COLLEGE, Pa (WTAJ)– Tuesday afternoon, The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) took the first steps towards what could be a major change in college sports.
This comes from a unanimous vote (via the NCAA’s top governing board) to start the process of allowing all college athletes to be paid for their name, image and likeness.
In their Tuesday release, the NCAA said players can only make money in a way that’s “consistent with the collegiate model.”
But what does this mean?
WTAJ broke down how the NCAA will look to keep integrity in college sports.
With Tuesday’s landmark decision, which could impact student athletes from Division One through Division Three, the NCAA also listed certain principles they want to keep.
- Viewing athletes as students first, not employees of a college/university
- Not paying athletes for performance or participation
- Not letting a player be persuaded towards recruitment and/or transfer based solely on how much money they could make
- Enhancing principles of diversity, inclusion, and gender equality
WTAJ spoke with Penn State Students who weighed-in on Tuesday’s decision.
“I think it’s fair. They should be able to profit off their own likeness… the way any other student should be able to profit off of their own image or their own being.They’re not getting paid by the university per se… but it’s them getting paid for being themselves… something I feel is important for anybody,” said PSU student Joe Deptula.
Another PSU Student, Anthony Tata, agreed: “Penn State Athletics will take in a lot of money, and I think it’s more appropriate to actually fund the people who are making the game happen itself rather than the administrative board… these athletes are working really hard. If they’re giving Penn State a ranking, they should be credited for it.”
But not everyone agrees with the idea letting college athletes be paid.
“It’s not going to be feasible. With this, the athletes are gonna lose focus on their studies which is why they’re here in the first place,” said PSU Student Matthew Cordrey.
He continued: “A lot of the football players [and other athletes] are getting full rides, because they’re playing the sport. So having them get paid on top of getting a free education is contradicting because they’re gonna lose sight of they’re education.”
Others are skeptical on the idea of not paying players for their athletic performance. But, this is a distinction the NCAA wants to make to differentiate college athletes with professional athletes.
“In any other industry if somebody’s the top level performer they should be getting paid a little more than somebody who’s not performing with the same ability,” Deptula argued.
Tata added: “I think performance should definitely have something to do with the pay… maybe there should be a base pay with how much every student would make. But depending on how they’re performing throughout they’re season, they’d make more. I think that would be more appropriate.”
All PSU students agree that if enacted, this policy would have a large impact at the University.
“I think we’re thankfully one of the larger Universities. I think our athletes can make a lot of money off of their image or likeness and therefore they’ll want to come here more,” Deptula said.
But, this highlights exactly what the NCAA is looking to prevent (on the aforementioned bullet list).
“Students would no longer be going to the school to play for the school… it would be that they’re more focused on actually earning money,” Coudrey said.
There is no timeline on when college athletes could begin to earn money. The NCAA says they’ll continue to look for feedback through April on how to best push forward with this initiative.
A key stepping stone will be working with state and federal legislators to see how their proposals can be refined to a point where lawmakers are willing to vote “yes” on this.
WTAJ’s legal analyst said it would be much easier if they were able to pass a federal statute on the subject, as opposed to dealing with individual state laws, which can differ greatly from state-to-state.
WTAJ reached out to Penn State Athletics for a statement on Tuesday’s unanimous decision and has not yet received a response.