My Name, My Money

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Tyler Evans, Chief Sports Editor

The words “name, image, and likeness [NIL]” may not mean a lot to you, but in the world of college athletics, it has been a topic up for debate for many years. Before July 2021, it was illegal for college athletes to make money using their name, image, and likeness; however, the NCAA changed its rule and made it so that athletes can now profit off their name, image, and likeness.
You may be thinking, what does this mean exactly?
Pretty much, for years college athletes have not received any financial compensation for their likeness, and really, only the schools were able to “make money” off of the athletes. For example, this meant these athletes could not even sign autographs for fans at a mall and be paid for it. Not to mention, the colleges were able to sell merchandise of the athletes and market the athletes while the students received absolutely nothing in return. With this, athletes were unable to sign endorsement deals with companies, making them miss out on thousands, if not millions of dollars, which many athletes could have used.
With the NCAA changing this rule, the athletes are now able to make money off their NIL, meaning they are now able to sign endorsement deals, get paid for signing autographs, monetize social media posts, and start their own businesses along with many other opportunities. Even though the rule change has only been in place for a little over a year, many athletes have already made a substantial amount of money.
Alabama star quarterback Bryce Young has reportedly already made more than a million dollars in endorsement deals. While Young is obviously in the top percentile when it comes to earnings and compensation, athletes who aren’t necessarily stars or household names have also benefited from the rule change and have started to see the benefits. Many athletes have partnered and signed contracts with local businesses from around their respective colleges and hometowns. These smaller endorsement deals may not get them millions of dollars but, it is still away for the athletes to make some extra money. With the large and small endorsement deals, more than 450,000 student-athletes have already been able to make money from NIL, with the average student-athlete making around $3,500.
One of the main arguments against the NIL agreement is that athletes are already receiving some compensation, since many are on athletic scholarships. This may be the case for some, but for the vast majority of student athletes, the scholarship is only for a small percentage of their entire tuition. With this, many students still have to pay much in tuition fees, and many students do not necessarily have the funds to do so. The rule change could help the athletes pay their tuition, especially since it’s hard for athletes to get jobs, as the majority of their free time is spent practicing and doing school work.
Overall, while there may be some drawbacks to student athletes being able to make money off of their name, image, and likeness, I think that it will overall help and benefit the students not only in the short term, but in the long run.