As national spring signing day approaches for many high school athletes, there is an added element in top prospects’ college decisions. The NCAA’s approval of athletes’ ability to profit off of their name, image and likeness allows college athletes to turn athletic accomplishments into financial gains. College athletes profiting off of their NIL overwhelmingly benefits both college athletes and the schools they play for.
For years, colleges have exploited student athletes’ on-field success by turning it into millions of dollars in profit. Now, athletes have the ability to take that influx of money that would otherwise be going toward the colleges and universities and put it into their own pockets. While NIL takes away much of that profit from jersey sales and advertisements, the universities still can profit off of ticket sales and the money they get from having more primetime games. This will allow both athletes and universities to generate their fair share of money.
NIL also encourages players to stay in college longer, putting an end to the one-and-done college sports era. Athletes will often not stay for more than one collegiate season due to the large sum of money they lose by staying in college longer. Keeping successful athletes within the NCAA for longer periods of time will significantly increase overall viewer entertainment.
Additionally, the new rules allow for small cities with large colleges to profit off famous athletes like they never could before. For example, the University of Kansas is in Lawrence, Kansas, a city with no professional sports teams. Now, the city can profit off the success of their world famous basketball players, among other sports’ athletes. This will benefit both the cities and the players, as the cities gain an identity in the sports world and the athletes receive recognition for their success.
While some may argue that NIL gives an unfair advantage to universities with more publicity, NIL also provides smaller programs benefits. Top recruits may seek out smaller and lesser known colleges and universities in order to become the face of that team or program. This would give them more opportunities for endorsements compared to the stacked recruitment classes of better known schools.
NIL not only helps those who will go on to play professionally; it gives players without scholarships an income. In the days of social media, advertisements and brand endorsements go way beyond big car commercials. Major brands like Gatorade have the income to add dominant athletes onto their payroll. For example, University of Connecticut women’s basketball player Paige Bueckers was the first college athlete to sign an endorsement with the company. After leading the team to the final four in the NCAA tournament, Bueckers was given the opportunity to profit off her talent after a rewarding season.
Athletes who are not on scholarship may struggle to pay for meals, textbooks and college tuition. The income from NIL, even if small, would help players with the everyday challenges of being a collegiate athlete. By giving athletes their fair share of the revenue, not only do the athletes themselves benefit, but spectators and the sports do, too.