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Is it Time to Change the Image and Likeness Rules for College Athletes?

Is it Time to Change the Image and Likeness Rules for College Athletes?

Lamar Jackson, Bryce Love and Baker Mayfield with the Heisman Trophy before the 2018 Heisman Trophy Award Presentation. via https://advancelocal-adapter-image-uploads.s3.amazonaws.com/image.nj.com/home/njo-media/width2048/img/rutgers_football/photo/lamar-jackson-eda3e9ed052304f4.jpg

By: Eric Gray, Ben Line-Neumann, and Satchel Perlowski

Tim Tebow, Johnny Manziel, Robert Griffin III and Marcus Mariota all share one thing in common: all four are Heisman-winning quarterbacks who did not legally make any money off of their wildly successful college football campaigns. This has sparked an ongoing debate for years on whether college athletes should be able to profit off of their image and likeness. There are two sides to the argument: one side who says it is time to start giving the players the money they have earned, and the other side which emphasizes that they are student-athletes who should just be playing for the love of the game.

Collegiate athletics have been incredibly popular amongst sports fans for the better part of 30 years. What makes NCAA sports so exciting are answered year after year simply by the traditions, fans, and rivalries that are put on display every week. Although, one thing is not right. If the NCAA can charge up to $5,000 on sideline tickets to the College Football Playoff Championship game, how come the players don’t get in on the action? It’s a question that has been asked for a while and has recently become relevant again. Although collegiate athletics aren’t classified as professional sports, about 85% of all players in the NBA and NFL played at a Division 1 NCAA school. The majority of NCAA athletes are offered scholarships from their respective universities but in the end, they are attending these universities as athletes and the time these athletes spend at practice, in film sessions and in the weight room, really makes it tough to do anything else. Additionally, the nationally televised games that these athletes participate in, are making TV corporations big amounts of money while the players that create the whole experience aren’t getting a penny. 

Now, when analyzing the opposite side, it is important to look at just how much scholarship money is being awarded to these student athletes. In popular sports like basketball and football, it is common for big-name universities to offer athletes full-ride scholarships to players that are considered 5-star recruits out of high school. There is an argument to be made that those scholarships are considered a sufficient award that gives the student-athletes the ability to learn a higher education while pursuing a career in the sport they love.

Both sides have a reasonable argument, and the debate is likely to carry on into the foreseeable future. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter and Instagram at @HSPNSports.

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