By Ben Goldberger —

Recently, California passed the first law that allows student athletes to be paid for endorsements and hire agents. They also will be paid for the use of their name, image and likeliness, finally rewarding student athletes for the amount of money they make for their universities and the National Collegiate Athletic Association.  

Just last year, U of L made $23 million dollars in profit from the men’s basketball team alone. According to a Forbes report, that is more than the Cleveland Cavaliers, Oklahoma City Thunder and the Charlotte Hornets. 

Yet the players got none of it.

Despite these shocking statistics, lots of people are not sold on allowing student athletes to be paid.

“I think that paying student athletes will be dangerous to college athletics. When looking at football, only a handful of universities actually turn a profit off of their football programs. Besides large programs like Alabama and Michigan, most teams will not have the money to pay their athletes, running the smaller programs out of commission,” freshman Sports Administration major Sam Munson explains. 

While this is a logical concern, athletes will not actually be receiving a salary from the programs. This bill will allow athletes to receive compensation for the use of their image or name in advertising and sales as well as allowing them to sign endorsement deals. All of these opportunities are independent of the program’s revenue. 

Many states have proposed their own pay to play bills, and Kentucky Sen. Morgan McGarvey has expressed the need for this bill.

According to the Courier-Journal article written by Joe Sonka, “The current draft of McGarvey’s Fair Pay to Play bill closely models California’s, prohibiting organizations like the NCAA from penalizing student athletes from receiving outside compensation and prohibiting colleges from revoking a student’s scholarship if he or she receives such compensation.”

This is a great move for Kentucky, as athletes will be more attracted to the states who will allow them to get paid as a result of the immense workload and time commitment that comes with being a Division I athlete. 

In a sport as physical as football, highly rated recruits will be more willing to risk injury for the possibility to be paid for endorsements or jersey sales.

McGarvey is waiting to propose it until he sees how the NCAA will react to other states publishing similar laws. 

Sonka said, “McGarvey is holding off for now on prefiling his bill for next year’s session of the Kentucky General Assembly, as there is still a great deal of uncertainty surrounding how the NCAA will react to states passing similar laws.”

This bill needs to be introduced as soon as possible if the state wants to see any rewards through their athletic departments. If McGarvey waits to propose this until other states have passed these types of laws, U of L will not be able to pull as many star recruits as the states allowing their players to make a profit. 

With California officially passing this bill, it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the states follow suit. Kentucky should jump on this train as soon as possible in order to reap the most rewards. Student athletes will eventually be able to make money all across the country. The universities should push the passing of this bill in order to pull some high recruits and set up their athletic programs for future success.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal