By: Brendan Moore
Collegiate athletes are recruited, receiving scholarships for their individual athletic abilities. These scholarships offer students an opportunity to have their skills in sports taken into the professional world. With more big name athletes entering the collegiate system, further discussions about Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) deals have risen. In the summer of 2021, the Supreme Court unanimously voted that The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) could not make NIL illegal for college athletes. This raises the question of whether NIL is good for college athletes. NIL deals are not good due to college athletes having an unequal chance of receiving an NIL deal, along with them throwing away a good college education.
I, for one, believe NIL deals are not good for college athletes as they tend to promote the wrong ideas for young aspiring athletes. One of these false beliefs is the term ‘pay to play.’ This is a huge problem for college sports as more gifted athletes would receive special treatment from certain schools and programs. Schools with popularity for a certain sport could be more likely to be approached about NIL deals regarding certain athletes. For example, point guard Paige Bueckers of the University of Connecticut Women’s Basketball team is signed with Gatorade as part of an NIL deal. University of Connecticut is historically known for having one of the best women’s basketball programs in America; therefore, athletes at schools with greater popularity are more likely to receive NIL deals rather than athletes at less popular schools. This leaves an unequal balance between college athletes at less popular schools, but with the same level of skill.
Another misunderstanding that is promoted by NIL deals is the earning of money. Money is generally beneficial for college tuition as some families are not as fortunate as others, but when it comes between choosing profit over academics and athletics, NIL becomes controversial. If an athlete chooses profit, that is their decision, but by doing so they could be throwing away a good education which is a necessary aspect of life and the purpose of college. The profit of money also hides the fact that these athletes are still students and these are collegiate sports. Add money into the mix and NIL turns collegiate sports into professional sports. This could lead to the encouragement of skipping a college education and heading straight to the pros. NIL promotes a culture of favoritism and does not protect the education of athletes.
The ability for college athletes to earn a profit because of NIL poses the question of whether or not NIL is good for college athletes, and my answer is no. NIL makes athletes at popular schools receive more attention from NIL instead of athletes at less popular schools. NIL takes away from a good education and destroys the main reason behind college sports.
(Sources: ESPN, The Athletic)