Paying college athletes turns them into pros

The “Fair Pay to Play” bill, signed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Oct. 1, supports the compensation of college athletes by enabling them to receive or generate payment through endorsement deals while participating in NCAA sports. Distracting students from their main priority, detracting from other recreation and detrimental for the careers of professional athletes, the bill should not have been passed. 

Since the early 2000s, the  revenue colleges and universities garnered solely through its sports teams rose every year, with the current annual average at around $1 billion. Catalysed not only by a drastic increase of viewership and fanbase, collegiate sports now dominate over 20 percent of the average university’s yearly income, according to the Wall Street Journal. 

With the influx of such vast amounts of money, many began advocating for the implementation of a system in the NCAA that reflected that of professional league sports, turning a blind eye to the greater expanse of negative consequences such an application would impose on both players and the sports organization itself. 

Fewer than two percent of all NCAA student athletes actually go on to become a professional athlete; with half a million  college athletes only about 10,000 athletes are allocated slots in minor and major professional leagues combined each year. That small percent is a clear indication that the majority of college athletes are education oriented, pursuing their main interest at school while playing sports on the side.  

By allowing athletes to make money through endorsements, the bill would encourage students to prioritize athleticism over academics. Players would be required to maintain their position on the team to benefit from the income, resulting in students expending much more time and effort than needed when upholding of a scholarship. 

The novelty of being paid in a similar fashion to that of professional athletes would also delude athletes to choose programs that maximize their ability to make money, affecting the future of players in the long run. The implementation of payment would not only increase animosity between players due to competition for endorsements contracts, but also impact the team’s overall cohesive performance, as players would begin to adapt a play style best suited for flaunting their own strengths. 

Though this is also exhibited in the professional fields, the difference in cognitive maturity as well as experience create too large of a deficit to compare the levels. 

Not limited to directly impacting student athletes, this bill also serves as a detrimental factor for the universities themselves. Though the revenue college sports typically generate for their schools amass an impressive sum, most schools use the funds from their athletic programs to fund other campus programs and activities. By allowing student athletes to sign sponsorship as well as promotion deals, it might cause the profits universities formerly taken in by the school  to fluctuate.

This means that the allocated funds for other departments to be lowered as a result. It would encourage schools to cut other programs to compensate for the deficit created, creating a less engaging environment and affecting the student body as a whole. 

Furthermore, allowing players from universities permission to sign endorsement deals would erase one of the most prominent distinctions between amateurism and professionalism in sports, causing actual professional players to lose recognition and distinction through the blending of two very different leagues. 

Many of the rules stated by Skinner’s new bill also contradicts NCAA’s existing set of rules. With such overlaps in policies, it not only causes various unnecessary conflicts but also results in unfair player recruiting advantages for Californian schools and the inability to host fair national championships. 

Though many may argue that athletes should receive compensation for the profits they generate for their universities, allowing student athletes to earn money triggers a plethora of consequences the NCAA doesn’t have solutions for yet.