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Should NCAA athletes be able to profit off their image and likeness like Olympic athletes?

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Oyster's picture

If they cannot profit from their image/likeness then they should have the option to not allow an outside entity to use their image/likeness for profit either. 

awarren84's picture

Is this a vote for yes or for no? Just curious. 

"Anything less than flagrant is just playing grab ass!"

FROMTHE18's picture

Sure. But remove scholarships. Speaking strictly about football here. IMO, if you let them make money thats fine but in order for them to get in a position/on a public stage where people will want to pay them for their autographs, and in order for them to get into a position to make it to the NFL, many need the opportunity to attend college. In theory, if there are no scholarships, and that athlete can not afford tuition as a regular student, then they can not play the sport that makes them famous. Also, prior to that, the athlete would likely be unable to get accepted into the university if they lack the academic requirements that regular students have to meet. The current situation provides an opportunity for these athletes to first get into college, second afford it, third have resources that most, if not all other students do not have access to, and fourth play in the national spotlight where they can develop their fame and image (the reason why people want their 'stuff' and why they have a chance to play professionally). If they want to get paid, then remove scholarships and I'd be willing to bet a large portion of these players wouldn't be able to go to college due to reasons related to finances, academics, or a combination of both. One could say, if they can get in academically, then they can take out loans and pay it back with autograph money or NFL money. But thats assuming many of the players would be able to make over 100K on autographs, or have a legit shot at making an NFL roster. IMO, without the scholarships, most wouldn't be football student athletes at schools like Ohio State, Notre Dame, USC, Michigan, etc that have challenging admissions standards and high tuition fees (especially private universities). Need the scholarship before you can even begin to ask to get paid for your autograph.

rickyu22's picture

The first to sentences hit it right on the head! "Sure. But remove scholarships." They get thousands anyway in free education, food, and gear. The other kids who graduate without scholarships have to find a job so they can start paying off thousands in loans/debt. They are getting paid. 

yrro's picture

You add up the hours spent in the weight room and on the field, and they're barely making minimum wage at a state school like OSU, if that. If a non-athlete put those kind of hours into an part time job while going to class they'd be in a pretty similar financial situation (although they do miss out on the social benefits of playing a sport).
And that's not counting the injury risk...
I'm kind of sick of the argument of "why don't they get student loans like everyone else." If you got a job doing serious physical labor (like say, construction) and put in the hours student athletes at an elite school like OSU do, you wouldn't need student loans, either.
They're getting paid like McDonald's workers while making the school hundreds of thousands of dollars each... they should be able to get more of that.

awarren84's picture

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/16/college-sports-spending_n_2489131.html
No offense, but your logic makes no sense.

The SEC spent 12 times more or $164,000 per athlete in 2010.

Which in a 4 year scholarship amounts to: $656,000...Who had a job in college that made that?
 

"Anything less than flagrant is just playing grab ass!"

yrro's picture

How much of that goes to the student? Yeah, about none of it.
Oh, are you saying that they get the benefit of the facilities that they do their jobs in? In that case, can I count the high rise I work in as part of my salary? No? Good, I didn't want to pay taxes on it.

FROMTHE18's picture

they get everything (well mostly everything) for free. If you put a regular student in that type of work schedule without giving them anything in return then your argument is valid IMO. But these players do get something in return: a full-ride scholarship. Meal plan, housing, books, tuition, access to the best facilities for what they do, and they dont pay a dime. If you want them to get a slice of the pie, if it were, then make them pay for all of those benefits of a scholarship with their slice of the pie. There would then be instances where certain players blow their cash on stuff other than books, tuition, facility fees, etc and im sure youd see a subsequent drop in academic performance, possibly leading to them being academically ineligible to play. I believe if they want to get paid then fine, give them the money but dont give them the other stuff free. It would mean they are solely responsible for everything else, like close to all of the other students at the university. I will be used as a tackling dummy for the following: I'd have loved to have everything paid for and arranged for me. I'd also like the access to Coach Mick and that weight room while were at it. Maybe throw in the clothes and free travel to away games and bowl trips and bowl gifts. I'd also love the ability to go around campus and have people love me for playing a sport and get treated as a god in bars. And, playing as myself in a video game would be cool as heck. 
These players sure do struggle without getting paid on the side for becoming gods/legends. I'm not sure how they were able to do it with all of those resources at their disposal. 

3cent's picture

it isnt giving them a slice of the pie. the school or ncaa would not be paying them. they would be getting paid thru endorsements on their own

yrro's picture

Yes, that's my point - what they get in return is a full ride scholarship. That has a value of $20,000 a year. You can make that putting the hours they do into *just* football flipping burgers. That is completely independent of their school load. Don't act like they get paid this giant cash amount for their services. I'm not saying they get nothing. I'm saying that they are dramatically underpaid given the worth they provide to the school.
Other students do work just as hard on their degrees - and flipping burgers for that matter. But their degrees and fast-food jobs are not making the school millions and millions of dollars.
On top of that, those students, if they happen to get famous, are not putting their schools at risk of sanctions if they put their faces on something. If I get internet famous for a school project, the NCAA isn't going to crack down on the CS department because I use my real name and face for it, even if I'm on full academic scholarship (which, from personal experience, requires *way* less work than a football scholarship).
I'm not saying "oh poor football player their life is so hard," but fair is fair, and if athletic departments are making millions off of these kids they should see more than the pittance of a full scholarship in return for it.
If Braxton Miller starred in a blockbuster football movie that made its producers tens of millions of dollars, no one would say he got a fair deal if they paid him $20k for it. At the least they'd say he should fire his agent.

awarren84's picture

I'm not saying "oh poor football player their life is so hard," but fair is fair, and if athletic departments are making millions off of these kids they should see more than the pittance of a full scholarship in return for it.

Fair is not fair. This is how the real world works. The real world works in you are offered a wage and benefits package for your employment. You have the choice to take it or not. But the employers holds all the cards unless it offers so little that it cannot get employees to accept. I will guarantee that in real world free market capitalism if the players were getting shafted so bad and it was so easy to start a new league it would happen. But the fact is that is is the NCAA/Colleges who provide the stadiums, the fan bases, the coaches salaries, the TV deals, and all the other facilities. So as they are able to provide these things they in fact have the ability to make their own rules fair or not. If I sign a contract (letter of intent) with my company (university) that says that I will do any work for money on the side (endorsements) or I will be fired (suspended/kicked of team). 

"Anything less than flagrant is just playing grab ass!"

rickyu22's picture

Students who are studying to become doctors or whatever put in tons of hours in school and outside of school. They have to pay for school, go to school, work a job (part time maybe full time), and do clinical's or as a teachers assistant (which they don't get paid for)  and still come out in debt...just for an education. They get no spotlight, no free gear, food, or housing. 

d1145fresh's picture

I think they should be able to profit off their image and likeness (I also think they should be able to sell trophies or other things that have been given to them for their work on the field), however I think it should be regulated to make sure there isn't any impropriety going on. All money that a player makes off their image or signatures or anything should have to be reported to the NCAA and the school's compliance department in order for it to be accounted for properly. That way you can tell if what someone is being paid is reasonable or if it is fishy. So long as the pay is reasonable there shouldn't be any issue. However, if a big time booster of the school pays an incoming freshman 100k for a signature on a helmet you know that there is something questionable going on in that situation. However, someone like Braxton gets paid a couple thousand for some signatures then it would be reasonable and the player should be able to reap the benefits.

albinomosquito's picture

What about taking the money that they make during college, and put it into some sort of trust that is untouchable for x number of years or until they graduate.  This way, they are still earning money, but they can't use it while in college, and maybe boosters would think twice about large donations that might entice kids to leave early.  Put a cap on the amount of money they can earn (so you don't get absurdities like $100,000 for an autograph) and report everything to the NCAA.  If the kid is a stud anyhow, $10,000 worth of autographs over his college career isn't going to mean much once he gets to the NFL and is finally granted access to that money.
Just a thought....

Unky Buck's picture

I voted yes, but it's a two-fold response. I think they should be able to profit off of jersey sales, the likeness being used in video games, etc. while they are enrolled, but who knows if that will ever change. If the current rules remain intact in regards to not paying kids while they're enrolled, I'd be perfectly content if it there was a stipulation that the money was escrowed and they were able to receive the money upon leaving college. Of course I'd like to see some stipulations on things like not being dismissed from the team (not just to release them or medical hardships) and other things to ensure that they just don't bolt in order to gain access to the escrow account.

...

Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2013/01/16/public-universities-spend-more-...
 
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/16/college-sports-spending_n_24891...
 
Just a couple of articles outlining how much money is spent on college athletes.  They don't need to be paid on top of that.  If players are worried about injury risk, they can always take out insurance policies (i.e. Bridgewater, Peyton Manning). 
If the courts rule that college athletes will have to be paid for their likeness, you will see the price of the game go up or you'll see a generic game where you can't tell who the player is. 

steensn's picture

No, but I state this saying that they should not be forced to wait three years to jump to the NFL. If they want to profit from their stature, then they can join the arena football league or the CFL where there is no waiting. Why wouldn't they? Because the school is what really gives these kids the platform to be famous to begin with.
They should be able to jump after 1 year (seems like a fair waiting period) and have the choice to profit from their fame earned solely on their own merit and not the universities or stay and build a better draft status. No one is stopping the kids from joining the CFL or Arena league for a few years, they choose not to... because it is better for them in the long run. It's their choice...

Hovenaut's picture

It's a different age...there is way too much money being made of these kids.

I was saying no until recently, but the media, the marketing, the money....enough is enough.

I don't know what the right, just and/or best answer is, but changes should be considered.

"Success - it's what you do with what you got" - Woody Hayes

steensn's picture

Funny thing is, I was saying yes until recently. :)
The minimum salary in the CFL is $42k, why not go there and not worry about college? They can sign all the autographs they want!

jbcuky's picture

Why not let the schools and boosters decide how much they want to pay?

steensn's picture

Agreed, that is one way to go. The issue with that is then schools with more money get the better players, creating an issue that all pro sports teams then have to deal with... parity. OSU with all its money would simply pay a player they wanted, like Stefon Diggs who chose Maryland, more than the other schools giving them a huge advantage. The NFL has to then put into place things like a player draft, giving the worst teams a better shot at better talent, salary cap, and other FA rules to make sure all participating teams have a fair advantage.
To make it fair in college, where most schools lose money in their athletic program, your starting point financially is not even a full ride scholarship so they can break even. There are a few rare schools that actually make much money off of athletics. Not that the current system allows a team like Buffalo to recruit like OSU, but it would allow OSU to even bring in the second tier guys as backups because they would get more to sit the bench at OSU than start at UofB. You end up with a hand full of super teams, UM, OSU, Bama, UT, etc... who then become a league of talent unto themselves.
Is that bad? Not really, it could be really cool, but if we want to keep college football close to what it s now you can't allow open payments. Even giving the recruit an extra $10k of spending money would eliminate 50% of D1 colleges from participating. They would have to continue to pull money from the academic side, which they already do.

Nkohl13's picture

No. The reason this rule is necessary is to prevent unfair recruiting advantages. Boosters will be getting in contact with these recruits and tell them if they go to their school they will get X amount of $$$ for their signature. Basically it will start a bidding war over recruits. Whichever schools boosters offer the most is where these kids are more likely to go.

cplunk's picture

Why would that be bad?
Everybody should have the right to seek the best compensation possible in exchange for their skills. Why should players be denied the full market value of what they do?

awarren84's picture

Everybody does have the right and I am all about free market capitalism...a player can take money if he wants..."capitalism" and will not go to jail...but can get suspended/kicked off the team. Just as we could get fired by doing something that our work has made rules about. Now we can quit...but my work provides pay and benefits...so it's not worth quitting. The NCAA provides a free education, a stage to showcase their talents to eventually get into the job market, and in return they ask that you follow their rules. U don't have to...but then again you don't have to play. That's my thoughts.
If it were so bad...free market capitalism would take care of itself and create a new league. But it's the best option to eventually make an income playing football.

"Anything less than flagrant is just playing grab ass!"

steensn's picture

Exactly, which they could do by trying the CFL or Arena league which has no waiting period requirements. If that was the best step forward for them, they are free to take that. It isn't, therefore they choose to go into college. Free market at it's finest.

scarpenter614's picture

Keep schollies, don't pay the players.  But if a player can sell his signature for good $$ then let him do it.  If EA Sports wants Braxton's face but doesn't care about Andrew Norwell's face, that's fine.  Let EA sports pay Braxton and not Norwell.  This is how the universities can avoid paying players and especially paying players in non revenue generating sports.  And this is how coaches can avoid the worry of sports agents at the college level.  Keep everything else the same, but let them sell their name/face/signature/personal property.  

steensn's picture

I think if boosters weren't shady, I would agree with you. But all it takes is a booster buying Braxton's rights for an absurd amount of money and recruits taking note. OSU's boosters can pay more than a Maryland's because there are more and more willing to do that. A recruit is now going to have to take into account how much boosters are willing to pay him for his likeness when making his college decision. When you allow the players to take outside money, you allow the large network of boosters to use their money and create even more of an unfair advantage.
With any of these 'pay player' ideas, there is always a clear advantage to the few schools making money on their football team. Recruits will know that if they go to certain schools, they will be ensured on getting X amount of $ from "sponsorships." What will happen is boosters will pay for just signed letter of intent recruits as spokesman for lots of businesses and paying for their likeness.
Boosters will be able to tell recruits, if you go here, you will be the face of "Bill's Used Cars and Snowglobe Emporium" which comes with a $80k a year salary. Braxton will have his face on a game and get $100k's for it, while 2* Kirby McStinkypee starts for University of Maryland because they didn't have enough money. Alabama can already pull in 2-3 top RB's a year without paying them (publicly), imagine if their boosters promised a $100k check a year for letting them use their likeness on "Uncle Jake's Possum Stew 4* Diner." They'd get the top 3 RB's in each class (if they outbid OSU or UT) instead of 3 of the top 20.
Opening up any ability to cash in on their fame will lead to clear unfair advantages for the OSU's and USC's. Is that bad? IDK, but it is certainly different. There would be no Boise States or Louisville each year, it would become a clear 10-20 team minor league type league played out o university campuses. Bad? IDK... Different? Yes!

buckeye_heart's picture

Mo money mo problems.

CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

Yes, they should be able to make some money for the image being used.  Doesn't mean it has to get out of control, even a smaller amount. 

3cent's picture

 
They should be able to keep the scholarships and be able to make a profit by having endorsements and selling their stuff. For those arguing that they should lose the scholarship why? They are still helping out the school by playing for that school. I like the endorsement idea because the school or NCAA are not the ones paying, it is an outsider. The schools or NCAA would not be able to pay  ALL student athletes and they could not get away with just paying the football or mens basketball players. 

oh_dad55's picture

How about the IRS nailing all the athletes who make money from autographs, memorabilia, etc, and don't claim the income for taxes.  Now that would be a can of worms to open.

Oh_Dad

bgohio22's picture

Surprised the "For" vote is only near 65%.
Who's against QB1 at tOSU having a t-shirt deal or being in a goofy commercial for a car dealer, making his money above board instead of suspiciously driving a luxury car or selling signed gear to a convicted felon?

pcuzz1's picture

How do you divide up the pay though? I was talking to my buddy and he brought up a good pt. Does the back up kicker make as much as the star qb? Or whay about schools that make more than others. Would the ncaa have to make a salary cap. This is a discussion that I think is very intriguing and I still don't know which way I am leaning. But for now, i will say i dont think players should be paid.

pat cozzens

bgohio22's picture

I don't think most people are arguing players should be paid by tOSU. That would be a total mess, you're correct. How does one value Troy Smith vs Mike Nugent. It's a decision no STATE entity should have to make.
My argument is a player should be allowed to profit from his / her likeness (autographs, paid endorsement, etc), which is currently against NCAA bylaws + can get the student / program in trouble.
The current setup is like a school saying a Pre-Med student can't be allowed to publish a memoir about their college experience while they're in college, even though there's a market for the book, because profiting outside of a legit medical school is unethical and dangerous for the student. It's silly.

pcuzz1's picture

I agree. I do think players should be able to profit from sales of their jersey, autographs, etc. However, this may be a stupid question. But couldn't coaches use that as a recruiting tool? A bigger school would then have the advantage. For example you they say you come here you become a star we have a larger fan base then the other schools. So if you come here you will be able to make more of a profit.. just a thought

pat cozzens

CowCat's picture

I'm mostly OK with the current system.   Free ride + Job training + National exposure = fair deal.
However, I have some concern about the player that does the required school work, plays well for the team, doesn't finish their degree, and doesn't make it in the NFL.
They no longer have a scholarship, they did what they were supposed to do.   Like anyone else they tried something and failed -- yet ESPN/EASports/NCAA/B1G/TOSU made a big profit off of their efforts.
I also don't think it's equitable for said organizations to gain all of the profit while the player bears far more risk (in terms of a career-ending injury).
I would propose that the NCAA start some sort of fund that pays players after leaving school, indexed in some way to the overall success of the team.  This would reward players for their effort, but would maintain a relatively even playing field in CFB, i.e. players are given the incentive to play well no matter what the school.

"We get paid to score touchdowns, not kick field goals"
-- Urban Meyer

Olentangy's picture

you guys are missing the point. the idea that 'if there were a better option in the free market then it would appear" is a false flag. the current structure is a cartel that limits the options of the workers. by the nfl requiring the player to be 3yrs removed from HS, the nfl is guaranteed a monetary and risk free minor league system. neither party, the NCAA or the NFL, has ANY incentive to change course. there is no free market- it's impossible to exist w/in the parameters of the current cartel structure. the ncaa gets to use the efforts of its workers w almost no expenses and makes BILLIONS of tax free revenues.
to pay or not to pay the athletes is a different question entirely. HOWEVER, to restrict them from profiting from their OWN IMAGE OR LIKENESS is criminal w/in America. imagine this scenario:
a student is extremely gifted at playing piano [the instrument here is arbitrary]. he/she gets a full scholarship from tOSU. over the course of 4 years they do performances and earn money based upon their hard work and talents. they have access to a well-renowned music program, teachers, instructors, etc. at tOSU. however, when they do their own personal performances, a 3rd party collects all of their revenues and they receive nothing. if they do receive anything, they are completely removed from performing. furthermore, they are unable to go off-campus and perform b/c Major League Piano has a rule that they cannot enter Major League Piano for 3 years after HS. the student is then unable to perform, has no access to instruments or instructors, and is unable to earn a living on their own talents. still agree?
athletes are the ONLY group of a 50,000 student population that is barred from profiting on their own image or likeness. the argument that the platform matters is irrelevant. if people wish to spend more money on different forms of entertainment [football games v. piano performances] then that's a product of... WAIT FOR IT... THE FREE MARKET. the exact economical structure that athletes are restricted from accessing strictly because the NCAA says so and b/c they want every possible dime.
also, the 'benefits' that some have referenced here are a shame. schools are under no obligation to aid in injuries. some do keep athletes on scholarship [and i applaud that] but there are many stories of athletes left behind b/c of a major injury.
i'm not arguing players should be paid. but to say they do not deserve to seek and receive profits for being who they are and what they do is asinine. it's unamerican.
 

How firm thy friendship

awarren84's picture

This makes no sense at all. Free market? or as you say FREE MARKET? Why can't i be a teacher right now? I think i would be a great high school math teacher...Ohhhhh cause i don't have a teaching degree. I can not work as a teacher until i meet the requirements put in place.  Just as the NFL put in place that you need to be 3 years out of HS. If you don't like it sorry, but u can't be a teacher/NFL player. It is absolutely not criminal as you call it.  Every job has rules...why can't the NCAA have rules? what if your job told you that you can't ever drink a beer or you will be fired. And then you did and you got fired...is that wrong? No, that was a rule they put in place. You can always go work somewhere else. Everyone needs to get past the idea that playing football for a living is a right that they were born with, but instead it's a privilege that Universities and then the NFL has provided for you. They provide the stadiums, the fan bases, the uniforms, and overall the platform. Play by their rules or go do something else. 

"Anything less than flagrant is just playing grab ass!"

Olentangy's picture

i dont even know where to begin. you, sir, can't be a teacher b/c you would be a major liability if given direct, daily access to our nation's children. i am now dumber after having read your reply. you clearly do not understand what a free market is or a cartel or any basic economic entities. thanks.

How firm thy friendship