Should student athletes be compensated? Panelists weigh in

Posted at 10:34 PM, Dec 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-03 00:34:40-05

TUCSON, Ariz. — In October, the NCAA voted to allow student athletes to be compensated for their names, images, and likenesses.

On Monday the University of Arizona hosted six experts on the matter to discuss the implications of those changing rules, and how they could benefit or hurt student athletes.

The new rules mean college stars like Nico Mannion and Jamarye Joiner could get paid for sponsorships, endorsements, sales of jerseys, and even being featured in a video game.

Don McPherson was the quarterback for Syracuse in the 1980's, and later played in the NFL. He said allowing students to get paid takes the emphasis off their education.

"This whole conversation is rooted in the notion that athletes shelf life to make money is while they're in school. And I reject that wholeheartedly," said McPherson. "Their time in school should be preparing them for life after school."

Andy Schwarz is an economist and a consultant, and he feels differently than McPherson.

"I don't understand at all how them being able to do a commercial in the summer somehow lessens the education," Schwarz said.

One criticism of the new rules is that students could start choosing what school to go to based off of how much money they can make.

"That's what this whole conversation is about; monetize because you're worth something. Not as a human being, but as a commodity," McPherson said.

Schwarz said the new rules would actually do the opposite by balancing out how many star players end up on a single roster.

"The single biggest impediment to competitive balance in sports right now is that Kentucky doesn't have to pay market rate to stock the roster with NBA players," Schwarz said. "If they had to pay market rate they couldn't afford them all and they would be spread out more."

Those who support the new rules say it allows athletes to benefit from hard work they're already doing for free.

"So often, I think we forget about the opportunities student athletes have to pass up. Whether it's a class or a lecture they could attend on campus, or an internship they could do, or going abroad during season," Lawyer and former student athlete Maddie Salamone said. "They're working a full-time job. Every second of their day pretty much is controlled by their coaches."

Most of the panelists agree on at least one thing; this process is complicated and is going to take time to implement properly.