By Christopher Pitts
- U.S. college sports programs took in $14B in 2018
- Black men make up 55% of the football players and 56% of basketball players in the Power Five athletic conferences
California Governor Gavin Newsom changed the game, when he signed a bill that would allow college athletes to earn money from endorsement deals. Starting in 2023, the proposal would require four-year colleges and universities to let athletes in California sell the rights to their names, images or likenesses. It would also prevent intercollegiate sports organizations, like the NCAA to penalize students or the colleges they attend if they struck such deals or hired an agent or lawyer to assist in negotiation.
Why This Matters: Considering the college debt crisis, a college scholarship in this day and age is nothing short of Godsend. In 2018, U.S. college sports programs took in 14 billion, while $986 million is spent annually on student-athlete scholarships, averaging just under $22,000 per student. The vast majority of student athletes are unable to take advantage of this opportunity, considering the 30-40 hour weekly commitment which includes: practices, weight room sessions, and game travel. About 30 Division I schools each bring in at least $100 million in athletic revenue every year.
Black men make up only 2.4% of the total undergraduate population of the schools in the so-called Power Five athletic conferences
It is no surprise the college sports that earn the most revenue are men’s football and basketball. Almost all of these schools are primarily white institutions (PWI) in fact, black men make up only 2.4% of the total undergraduate population of the schools in the so-called Power Five athletic conferences, where the most elite players attend. Black men make up 55% of the football players in those conferences, and 56% of basketball players.
College athletics no matter what the sport has the time constraints of a full-time job with no ability to make money while in school. To clarify, the proposed law doesn’t actually require schools to pay athletes directly, as if they were employees. Instead, it makes it illegal for schools to prevent an athlete from earning money by selling the rights to his or her name, image, or likeness.
Situational Awareness: While this legislation could be the stepping stone for athletes to earn money, the current lack of basic economic rights under the NCAA’s current restriction still looms. If we look at non-student athletes, it’s never an issue to make money while receiving an education, there should be no difference for those playing sports.
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