It is Valentine’s Day, but don’t expect the group that is the governing body of college sports in the United States to send bouquets with notes saying you should be able to make money by selling your faces to marketing partners, the student-athletes. The National Collegiate Athletic Association is going to try and make it as difficult as possible for student-athletes to cash in on their likenesses. Why is that? Some antiquated and romantic notion that these young adults are playing for the love of the game and should be satisfied with a scholarship that might enable them to get a college degree if they put the time and effort into getting one. But student-athletes need to remember that they are athletes first and students second.
The NCAA met with the Department of Justice in November, a kind of getting to know you meeting, where the NCAA brass tried to explain that they run an amateur show. The NCAA claims it is not professional sports. But there is a problem with that. More than a billion dollars flows into the industry annually. Coaches in many states are the state’s highest paid employee and one coach’s salary clocks in at $9 million annually. College sports is big business particularly March Madness which in reality just television programming with Turner Sports and CBS paying the NCAA an enormous amount of money. No one would watch these games without the so-called student-athletes who are forced to keep up the pretense of amateurism. Everyone gets paid except the student-athletes. The NCAA is plotting to change its rules and is annoyed that California beginning in 2023 is allowing student-athletes to sell their images and their faces to advertisers. But the NCAA plans to announce a new scholarship guideline by April in an attempt to make sure college sports remains an amateur endeavor.