EP 303 Should College Athletes Be Paid?

  In recent years, the calls for the National Collegiate Athletic Association(NCAA) to relax its rules prohibiting athlete pay have grown louder and louder.  The argument is that student-athletes should share in revenues of college sports because they are a ‘product’ that so many others, like coaches, television networks and advertisers, are benefiting from directly.  In the process, they sacrifice their time, talent and, often, their bodies and while their scholarships, for the most talented, are a good starting point, they represent too little compensation for too much work.  Many colleges are actually able to lessen their marketing costs and increase enrollments because of the added value of the visibility of their athletic programs.  It’s even got a name– ‘The Flutie Effect’.  Nevertheless, opponents of ‘pay to play’ say that a number of problems will emerge if this change is made, including tax liabilities for the players and difficult issues around compensation for athletes in non- revenue generating sports.  Others wonder what impact it will have on Title IX and women’s sports overall.  Regardless, there is legislation in California that would allow student athletes to be compensated for their likeness and image by a third party, like NIKE.  It’s a fascinating topic and one that is being reviewed in courts and state legislatures throughout the country.  Attorney Marc Edelman, specializes in sports law and is a tenured Professor of Law at the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College, City University of New York.  He joins us today to discuss.