For quite some time, there has been an ongoing debate over whether student-athletes participating in collegiate sports should be paid for their efforts. Recent actions by the State of California are taking steps to ensure that student-athletes are finally given some type of compensation for their efforts, a long-awaited sign for upcoming players.


In the United States, student athletics are governed by a body known as the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). High school athletes who are deemed talented enough and who meet specific academic and other requirements might be offered athletic scholarships from various colleges and universities operating under the NCAA’s umbrella.

College athletics is a big, serious business. Certain sports such as football and basketball are widely popular in attendance and television audiences. This popularity generates millions of dollars for both the schools in question and the NCAA itself, but not for the players putting their health and bodies on the line. 

Argument Of Those Who Favor Paying Athletes

Many current and former student-athletes, as well as those favoring the notion of paying such individuals,  opine that it is the athlete’s competition that generates the popularity of college athletics and participants should be able to recoup some of the money that is earned as a result. Many student-athletes come from middle or lower-middle-class backgrounds and do not have disposable cash to purchase necessary items like clothing, books and, in some cases, even food. Adjusting these rules would help to change the lives of many athletes who grew up in hardship and dedicate their lives to their sports.

Argument Against Paying College Athletes

Opponents of the argument believe scholarships to attend the academic institutions in question are payment enough. Others insist that collegiate competitors are truly amateurs that should not be remunerated like professionals, regardless of popularity.

California’s Initiative

Recently, California Governor Gavin Newsom endorsed legislation that will enable student-athletes to hire agents and commercial deals, which will allow them to receive compensation for endorsing a product or having their name or likeness used for advertising purposes.

Not only does current NCAA law prohibit athletes from receiving payment for their efforts but strictly forbids such persons from being represented by agents or profiting commercially in any manner. The law, which should go into effect by 2023 would additionally prevent the NCAA from taking any disciplinary action against athletes who engage in actions included in the provision. California is home to more than 60 colleges and universities.