With the ruling coming down today that the Northwestern Wildcats football team can unionize and be recognized as ’employees’ of the University, the landscape of college athletics is about to change forever. This decision is for the better for so many different reasons.
First of all, paying players, who devote the same amount of hours as full-time workers is flat out the right thing to do. While these players are getting their education paid for, that isn’t enough for some student-athletes given the allure of professional leagues.
If players were paid to begin with, it would be harder to leave a college education behind. Especially in college basketball, players may go back to school where they will get paid instead of jumping to the NBA to get paid and not risk injury before signing their first professional contract.
Players getting paid should also cut down on NCAA recruiting violations. While offering different players of different talents more money could become a dangerous game, better players should be making more money. After all, Johnny Manziel made his university more money than some third-string lineman playing for a different college.
In essence, better players make their schools more money and deserve to be paid more for that reason. Never have collegiate athletes been compensated for the rights to their likenesses. Several NCAA video games have been released, which earned the NCAA and other entities tons of money without giving a dime to the student athletes who really made it possible. Sure, the games didn’t use the players’ names, but it isn’t like the people playing the games don’t know what number or position their favorite player plays on their respective colleges.
Jersey sales are the same way. Colleges “just happen to” sell jerseys that have the numbers of the most popular players on the back. While there’s no name on the back, star players sell more merchandise for their schools. It’s about time they start getting paid accordingly.
While it may not seem fair, college athletes do deserve to get paid as employees. They make millions of dollars for their schools and they at least deserve a small piece of that pie. This court ruling makes that possibility very real.
By giving college athletes fair pay for their services, the NCAA could actually keep players in school longer, which would raise overall profits for schools anyway. It would also likely cut down on recruiting violations because recruiting bidding wouldn’t have to be so shady. While certain aspects of the new recruiting process would have to be ironed out so that high school athletes aren’t just having money thrown in their faces, paying college athletes is for the better.