NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) -Tuesday was full of excitement and anxiousness after the NCAA Board fo Directors approved the first step in allowing student-athletes to be compensated for the use of the image, likeness.
This opens the door for athletes to receive money for the university or a company profiting off of the athlete. That is just the ip of the iceberg because while many people see the big name stars like Zion Williamson there are 460,000 student-athletes across three divisions of schools.
Many opponents will argue that the athletes get a free tuition but the reality according to the NCAA is that only 150,000 of those athletes are given scholarships that total out to $2.9 Billion and if you talk to some athletes you will discover they are not full scholarships. Only about 2 percent of high school athletes are given college scholarships.
“I think we have brought this one ourselves association wide,” SFA Athletic Director Ryan Ivey said. “We have to do a better job of having those conversations and making sure people understand what our student athletes actually receive.”
Ivey added that changes a few years back now allow for schools to give additional money to student-athletes under scholarship to help cover the cost of attendance which is additional funding that covers things not under tuition, room and board. Those things would include transportation cost and personnel expenses.
“The healthcare benefits, the full room and board from a full scholarship standpoint, nutrition benefits, strength and conditioning and all these things that come into play. There is a value to all these things and we as an association have done a poor job explaining this to the public for the current student athlete.”
The game of college football has changed since it’s first season 150 years ago. Now the sport is a top money-maker for the NCAA and for multiple television companies.
“When you look at what has happened and the amount of money being generated I do think there is a need for this conversation and what does it look like,” Ivey said. " We have a lot of student athletes here at SFA and across the country that do not have the opportunity at entrepreneurship and to sink their teeth into something and create opportunities to help themselves moving forward. That is one of the things we are going to focus on moving forward. We want to help athletes start their own business and use what they have to move forward. "
Opponents of the move have stod by the idea that athletes move on to professional contracts and make millions of dollars in professional sports but Ivey points out that the majority of athletes will not play in any professional league.
“In reality [people] are looking at it from the Zion Williamson’s of the world and the Jalen Hurts’ of the world and that is such a finite and small amount of the student athlete population that we have and those people are going to be able to generate a lot more money from a name/image /likeness from an endorsement standpoint. What can we do know to help our student athletes with that entrepreneurship once they graduate. How about that tennis student out there that has an idea for this app. Now that individual can use their name/image/likeness to help promote that product that that person creates. Under the current legislation they cannot do that.”
The NCAA wants to have all this in place by 2021. Ivey said he will be in talks with other Southland athletic directors and the conference will work with the NCAA council and then the board of directors at the national level to come up with the final plan.
After the plan was announced U.S. Senator Richard Burr tweeted out that he will be trying to get legislation passed that would allow the government to tax athletic scholarships.