College Athlete Compensation

College athletes should have the same freedoms to earn compensation as other students and Americans. It's a matter of civil liberties and civil rights. Click to learn what the NCAA doesn't want you to know about this issue.

July 31, 2019
Athlete Pay: Civil Liberties, Civil RIghts

The US Supreme Court has established that “separate is not equal” in education.  College athletes should have the same economic freedoms granted to other Americans.   It’s a matter of civil rights and current rules harm large numbers of athletes from protected classes.  In addition, NCAA sports assaults players’ civil liberties and the principle of free enterprise by imposing a national player compensation price-fixing scheme.

NCAA sports is on the wrong side of history. Polling shows that 52% of Americans now believe college athletes should be paid, and 64% say they should receive royalties when the college sells merchandise with a player’s name, image, or likeness.  In addition, state and federal legislation to allow college athlete compensation is generating unprecedented bipartisan support.


1. Allow college athletes the ability to earn compensation related to their name, image, likeness, and athletics reputation.

2. Eliminate restrictions on college athletes’ ability to secure legal representation a.k.a. a sports agent.  This will help ensure they have appropriate legal and economic protection when entering into business agreements.

3. Ensure college athletes receive an equitable share of the revenue that they generate.

False Arguments Against College Athlete Compensation

It Would Ruin Competitive Balance and Harm Smaller Colleges - False

  • The 9th Circuit upheld ruling (O’Bannon v NCAA): NCAA’s limit on compensation does NOT create competitive balance and stated that virtually all economists agree.  The recent Alston v. NCAA case discarded this claim finding the NCAA had no evidence whatsoever.
  • Economic study (by Andy Schwarz):
  • 99.3% of top 100 football recruits between 2002-2011 chose teams in the power conferences
  • Historically, over 90% of football teams that finish in the top 25 rankings and over 90% of the basketball teams that make it to the Final Four are from the power conferences.
  • 2.6% of NCAA schools have won 60% of all men’s basketball championships.
  • Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby” says competitive equity is largely an “illusion”
  • There is already a tremendous disparity in Division I athlete compensation that allows a player on a 5-year scholarship at a private school to receive over $300,000 while Division I Ivy League athletes receive $0 in athletic scholarships.

Compensation Limits Are Necessary to Preserve “Nonrevenue” sports – False

  • If this were true, the 736 athletic programs with 263,000 athletes that operate in NCAA Divisions II & III would not exist
  • These teams are all “nonrevenue”
  • Subsidies from high-revenue football and basketball teams aren’t present
  • Latest FBI investigation revealed “nonrevenue” sports have tremendous value as they generate substantial donation revenue.
  • Athletic directors would still have full control of spending, compensation would be optional.

Changing Compensation Rules Would Violate Title IX - False

  • Female athletes would benefit because Title IX would require it.
  • Female athletes have received matching funds for optional player stipends since 2015.

College Athletes Already Get Enough…

  • Having less than equal civil rights and civil liberties is never enough.
  • Athletes receiving a partial or no athletic scholarship are subject to identical pay prohibitions.

College Sports Are Amateur - False

  • NCAA sports revenue increase from $4 billion in 2003 to $12.6 billion in 2017
  • NCAA is making over $1 billion on its basketball post-season tournament alone
  • UCLA struck $280 million Under Armour deal that requires players to advertise logos on bodies & paid $12 million to buy out coach it fired for poor performance
  • College football coach salaries reached $8 million in 2018
  • Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott has a salary of $4.8 million