Name image and likeness has been a trending topic in the current sports world, but the discussion on whether players should be compensated has been around for a while.

The NCAA has monopolized the colligate basketball scene for years and has prioritized education before athletics. The known mantra is the “Student-Athlete”.

The NCAA has pushed the narrative of their being a prototypical model of a student-athlete. When do you think of a student-athlete what comes to mind? Personally, I invison a person with exceptional athletic ability, and talents who have earned themselves a scholarship to play a certain sport.

In exchange for the student-athlete label, kids subsequently trade over their name image, and likeness and a select few receive a full-ride scholarship to a notable university. To maintain the title of student-athlete you must remain an amateur, and not receive any compensation for play.

Time for a Change

The NCAA has been around since the early 1900s and they created a system that was meant to regulate the rules of colligate sports and protect athletes. To much credit, to this member-formed organization, they created a system that works but is very much outdated.

Since the rise of social media and other basketball outlets such as AAU, today’s kids have much more exposure than in previous years. With this, their talents can be on display for the world to see.

For example, players like LaMelo Ball and Zion Williamson were high school sensations and racked up millions of views on YouTube and other platforms.

Thus creating Financial and brand marketing opportunities. It is a difficult task to convince a kid to turn down millions of dollars to maintain a title that has been profiting greatly off the name of kids for years.

History in the making

Since the passing of the NIL opportunities for players has risen like never before. We’re watching in real-time as history is being made. Players are being compensated for their brand affiliations and their Image. Some deals range from $500,000 to more than $1 million.

This was a necessary step for the NCAA as for years rumors of players being paid under the table spread, and pressure built to allow players to be compensated. Many people believe that the NCAA should pay players directly as they profit billions of dollars each year off them, but if this was to happen these college students become paid workers and many liabilities arise.

For now, I am content that players can make money off their name image in the likeness and I believe this is a positive step forward. For some players bound to the professionals after college sports, they can use this opportunity as a head start to build their brand and catapult them into entrepreneurship early. Clarity on how to handle yourself in the business world is an important skill to learn.

These athletes have trained hard and deserve the opportunities that they have worked for and I am interested to see what the future holds for not only the players but the NCAA.