Monetary compensation for college athletes has been a debate that has been addressed for several years. Nancy Skinner, a member of California’s Senate, is trying to make a change in California by passing the Fair Pay to Play act. If this bill becomes law, college athletes’ scholarship eligibility cannot be revoked if they are compensated for the commercial use of their name, image and likeness. If passed, the bill would take effect Jan. 1, 2023 to allow time for all complications that come with this law to be sorted out.
Skinner has support from politicians and celebrities, such as Bernie Sanders and LeBron James, who have tweeted about the issue.
James tweeted, “Everyone [in] California — call your politicians and tell them to support SB 206! This law is a GAME CHANGER. College athletes can responsibly get paid for what they do and the billions they create.”
Bernie Sanders responded to this tweet by saying, “College athletes are workers. Pay them.”
On the other hand, NCAA President Mark Emmert believes this law is going to give the California schools an unfair advantage.
Emmert wrote in a letter, “The bill threatens to alter materially the principles of intercollegiate athletics and create local differences that would make it impossible to host fair national championships.”
This is true, because if certain colleges allow players the opportunity to be compensated for playing, it can affect the recruitment process. Top high school athletes who gain national media attention at a young age will be more attracted to a school where they can be paid for playing.
I do believe that colleges should give their scholarship athletes the essentials they need in order to live. This should include a dorm room where they can sleep, a meal plan so they don’t go to bed hungry and the free education they have earned from their scholarship. This should also pay for any medical bills that the players face: a broken leg, a torn ACL or even medicine to ease a headache.
The compensation athletes currently receive is the ability to attend college for free and get a degree to get a job outside of athletics once they graduate. In addition, colleges give players a platform to be scouted for the professional league — an opportunity to make millions.
Most careers today require a college degree, and that is exactly what college has to offer. In addition to this, colleges keep many players debt free, which is one of the largest struggles college graduates face today.
In the end, college athletes are being given opportunities in their schools, which should count for compensation.